Catching up with our Jubilarians
Below we’re pleased to provide you with an update on our ten Jubilarians for 2019. You may remember them from the good old days but you may be surprised to hear how they have been living out their charism of being at the heart of the world revealing God’s love. Each has used their unique set of gifts and talents to serve God by serving others. Take some time and scroll through the list below and learn about their most recent ministries, their travels, and their growth. We hope you find this look back uplifting and enjoyable. Know that you all remain in their prayers, and that they continue to wish the best for you and your families.
Religious Name: Sr. Adrienne Elise
Sacred Heart School Fall River, MA 1942 – 1944
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1944 – 1946
Sacred Heart School Fall River, MA 1946 – 1958
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1958 – 1961
St. William of York School Baltimore, MD 1961 – 1962
St. Francis DeSales School New York, NY 1962 – 1969
Sacred Heart School Taunton, MA 1969 – 1971
Taunton Catholic Middle School Taunton, MA 1971 – 1972
Sacred Heart of Jesus School Lewistown, PA 1972 – 1974
Today: Sr. Adrienne DeChamplain
In more recent years…
These are some of the activities I have been involved in since my arrival at the Landmark on June 23rd, 2008.
The best part of being retired and living at the Landmark is to have use of the Chapel where the Divine Presence dwells. The sacraments are available and part of our lives. We are fortunate to have Daily Mass celebrated six days a week. Our Holy Union Community gathers evenings to pray together our office prayer in the Chapel. For several years I served as a lector and Eucharistic Minister, I am no longer able to do this ministry.
I am continuing to write in my journal over 50 books entitled Theology Made Easy for the Laity. I am not trying to compete with fine theologians but my hope is to reach a wider audience. Since I studied Hebrew and did archeology at Merom in Upper Galilee, I have given many lectures on the Bible and have also recorded the Bible on tape, a total of 88 tapes.
I continue to be involved with the Third Order of St. Francis, O.F.S. Being the Spiritual Assistant includes my giving a teaching lesson on Franciscan Spirituality. Our meetings are the second Sunday of the month in Taunton, Massachusetts.
There are many activities to choose from at the Landmark each day. I organized the first Yahtzee game about 41/2 years ago and we have continued to play once a week since then.
It was a pleasure organizing a Sing-Along with Germaine Dube, who played the harmonica. We all enjoyed being together at the rehearsals. The concert performance was on August 28, 2009. The “Singing Residents” were at their best. We sang to a packed audience. Our program included a variety of Patriotic Songs, Religious Songs, Timeless Favorites and International Songs. Countries represented were: Early America, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland and Portugal. Quite an accomplishment for Seniors!!
It is my strong desire that we will all meet again at a heavenly Sing-Along singing How Great Thou Art!
Religious Name: Sr. Paule Anthony
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1957 – 1960
St. Anthony School Portsmouth, RI 1960 – 1961
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1961 – 1964
St. Peter School Point Pleasant, NJ 1964 – 1966
St. Francis DeSales School New York, NY 1966 – 1967
John XXIII Center Baltimore, MD 1967 – 1972
St. Mary Elementary School Taunton, MA 1972 – 1977
St. Louis School Clarksville, MD 1977 – 1996
Today: Sister Mary Catherine Duerr
In more recent years…
After 40 years in Elementary Education as a Teacher, Vice Principal, and Principal, I felt the call to minister to Senior Citizens. I was invited to work at St. Leo’s Parish in “Little Italy”, Baltimore, MD to coordinate a Senior Program and to be a Pastoral Care visitor. The Senior Program meets once a week and I visit the home-bound parishioners and those in nursing homes on a regular basis.
For four years I served as member of our Province Leadership Team and had the privilege of visiting our Sisters who were in Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, and New York. I had the honor of attending meetings in Cameroon, Africa and meeting the young sisters of our Congregation. It was a blessing and gift indeed to visit many of our Sisters so dedicated to serving God’s people.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls in Canada, a cruise to Alaska, a trip to Italy visiting my favorite cities of Assisi and Rome as well as others. I had the privilege of visiting the area where our Congregation was founded in France, which I found to be a very touching and meaningful experience.
Religious Name: Sr. Gertrude Marie
Sacred Heart School Lawrence, MA 1957 – 1961, 1986 – 1998
Our Lady of Pity Cambridge, MA 1961 – 1962
St. Cecilia Pawtucket, RI 1961 – 1964, 1967 – 1979
St. Anne Waterford, NY 1964 – 1965
St. Lawrence Centerdale, RI 1965 – 1966
Sacred Heart N. Attleboro, MA 1966 – 1967
Country Day Groton, MA 1979 – 1982, 2009 – 1917
Our Lady of Assumption Chelsea, MA 1983 – 1986
Saints’ Medical Ctr. Lowell, MA 1998 – 1909
Today: Sr. Gertrude Pare
In more recent years…
In 1957 I was sent to Sacred Heart School in Lawrence, MA where I began my teaching career as a Primary Grade Teacher. I remained a Primary Grade Teacher till 1998 which included two assignments as Principal, first in Chelsea, MA and then in Lawrence, MA. Once that journey came to a close, I joined Saints Memorial Medical Center in Lowell, MA where I worked as secretary in the Pastoral Care Department for ten years. From there I moved to Groton, MA where I opened a House of Hospitality for our Sisters.
In an effort to stay busy full time I also volunteered at the Groton Country Day School in their after school program. I did this for nine years till the school closed and the property was sold.
Deciding it was time for me to “retire”, I moved to Tewksbury, MA and before too long found myself looking for new challenges. Hearing about a need in the Mission Advancement Office in our Province Leadership Team offices in Milton, MA, I took on that responsibility which is where I am currently serving and enjoying helping to maintain relationships with our generous supporters and donors.
Religious Name: Sr. Bridget Thomas
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1963 – 1968
St. William of York School Baltimore, MD 1968 – 1969
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1969 – 1970
St. William of York School Baltimore, MD 1970 – 1972
Today: Sr. Una Davey
In more recent years…
I loved the people and my ministry teaching primary grade children in Immaculate Conception school in Astoria and St. William of York school in Baltimore, my first assignments as a Holy Union Sister, but I felt called to work among those who have been made poor, those on the margins of society. This desire led me to a position as a patient advocate at Bellevue Hospital Outpatient Medical Clinic which served the most vulnerable people in New York City. This was a very enriching and rewarding experience where I got to work with staff and patients from all over the world representing many different religious and cultural backgrounds. My role in the clinic was to facilitate access to needed services for patients who were having difficulty negotiating the system. I always think of Bellevue as a privileged place, like a microcosm of the whole human family; it offered me many different opportunities to learn from staff and patients alike.
After more than twenty years in this work, an opportunity arose to minister with my Holy Union Sisters among the rural poor in Kentucky and I have been here now for over twenty years. Life in Monticello, Kentucky was quite a change from my life in New York City. There were more people on staff at Bellevue than in the whole city of Monticello! Since there is no public transportation here, I had to learn to drive and negotiate the rural roads (and well into middle age, I took my first driving lessons in Manhattan, an unusual preparation for the traffic in Kentucky, to say the least!). I missed the cultural opportunities of the city but the beauty of nature which surrounds us here more than compensates. I have been working as a Victim Advocate at a women’s shelter. It is a great privilege to be able to welcome women who are victims of abuse into a safe place and along with my dedicated coworkers try to bring some measure of hope and healing to them.
Recently I have been working part-time at the shelter in order to devote more time to welcoming the growing number of Hispanic immigrants arriving in our area. Being an immigrant myself gives me a certain sympathy for other immigrants and refugees. Along with Sister Ann Kernan, my Holy Union companion, I am able to help them with very concrete needs for housing, employment, education, health care and transportation by advocating for them with different agencies. I am inspired by their deep faith, their willingness to work hard to provide for their families, and their ability to be joyful and celebrate life in the face of uncertainty and the constant threat of deportation.
As I celebrate this milestone, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God for the many blessings in my life, especially my family, my Holy Union Sisters, my friends and all who have been a part of this journey.
Religious Name: Sr. Bartholomew
St. Joseph School Swedesboro, NJ 1962 – 1965
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1965 – 1966
Sacred Heart School Lewiston, PA 1966 – 1967
St. Francis DeSales School New York, NY 1967 – 1969
Today: Sr. Eleanor McNally
In more recent years…
I was educated by Holy Union Sisters from elementary school to high school, so I knew that we were primarily a teaching order. However, I believed I was called to serve in the African missions and in 1959 the only place we were in was Francophone Cameroon. Sisters who served there all were fluent in French. So my first few years were spent teaching junior high students in Holy Union parish schools.
When we opened missions in the Anglophone section of Cameroon, I thought that my dream of working in Africa could now be fulfilled. After attending missiology programs in Canada, I went to Ndop, Cameroon to work as education officer to instruct the people on how to work with credit unions, a new concept in that area. I returned to the United States and worked for a time at the New York City Board of Education. Still holding on to my dream, I applied to Catholic Relief Services to return under their auspices to Africa. But instead in 1974 I was assigned to Vietnam to work with CRS’s Orphanage Improvement Program. As you know, these were the final days before the US withdrew from Vietnam and I along with Vietnamese co-workers was evacuated from the country. Because of this experience, the New York Archdiocese asked me to establish a resettlement program for the large number of Vietnamese refugees who were flooding in to our country.
The following year, I was asked to serve as personnel for the US Province. At this time, many schools that had formerly been staffed by sisters were closing. Over three years I was able to work with sisters who were seeking other ways to minister. My African call persisted, and in 1979 I returned to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to establish a diocesan Caritas Office. Collaborating with Tanzanian colleagues, we assisted individuals and groups to improve their lives. I remained in this work until 1993 when I was asked to be the first US Province Development Director. When I knew the program was well established, I wanted to return to direct service of the poor. Because of my previous experience working in Tanzania and with refugees, Catholic Relief Services contacted me in 1994 to work on its Rwandan Refugee Resettlement Program in northern Tanzania. I was able to re-connect with the Caritas Office and in 1995 returned as the director. By 2003 when the Caritas Office was in the capable hands of Tanzanian colleagues, I knew my time in Africa had ended.
I returned to Fall River and volunteered at a Domestic Violence Center. I also became aware of the issue of Human Trafficking and took on the work of informing our sisters about it. In 2013 the US Province took a Corporate Stance against Human Trafficking and our sisters continue to educate themselves and demonstrate against this present-day human slavery. So over the past 60 years my ministry has been both service to the province and the larger world.
Religious Name: Sr. Eleanor Francis
Saint Michael School Fall River, MA 1962 – 1963
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1963 – 1968
Academy of the Sacred Hearts Fall River, MA, 1968 – 1973
Today: Sr. Carol Regan
In more recent years….
I left classroom teaching when my passions for social science and politics “met” the declaration of the 1971 Synod of Bishops that “action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appears to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel … .” Those words captured my imagination and I saw my call to religious life in a new light.
As preparation for direct service to and advocacy for marginalized people, I began studies in community organization at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. But after a year, a need in our province community led me to take a leave of absence from studies. And I never went back! Instead, I went to my first General Chapter of the Congregation, was elected to our General Council, and soon found myself living in Rome.
And so began what has been the primary ministry of my religious life: service to vowed religious, to men and women of many congregations as well as my own Holy Union Sisters. This has led me to both province and congregational leadership as well as ministry to vowed religious in other congregations as a pastoral counselor, a director of sabbatical programs which offered participants opportunities for professional development and personal growth at graduate schools of theology, and as an administrator in a national organization dedicated to fostering the initial and lifelong formation of vowed religious.
My many years in Rome included traveling to all the sites where Holy Union Sisters live and minister, from the rain forest in Cameroon, to the border of Argentina and Brazil, to a beach of the Indian Ocean in Tanzania where a herd of camels passed by, to national capitals and tiny villages in Europe, even to Poland and India! You know the adage, “Join the convent and see the world!” It came true for me! What has this life taught me? I’ve surely learned that religious life is an adventure and I know that the good women and men religious I’ve met along the way bring blessing to our church and world. While I still believe that the ministry I “chose” for myself, advocating for the people on society’s peripheries, is fundamental to vowed religious life, through my sisters and others, I learned my call was to serve religious life itself and for that blessing, I am still surprised, still grateful.
Religious Name: Sr. Mary Francis
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1962 – 1963
St. Joseph School Taunton, MA 1963 – 1965
St. Anthony School Portsmouth, RI 1965 – 1967
St. William of York School Baltimore, MD 1967 – 1972
St. Francis DeSales School Patchogue, NY 1972 – 1973
Today: Sr. Patricia Health
In more recent years…
As I have been praying the stories of the disciples during this Easter Season I have been more aware of the call of the disciples to travel in order to spread the news of the Risen One. I have also been reminded of my own journey to travel in order to bring the Good News in building relationship, being challenged in ministries to which I never dreamed I would be called.
In 1973 I left the ministry of classroom teaching from Patchogue, New York. I returned to St. William’s Parish in Baltimore as Director of Religious Education, member of the pastoral staff and pastoral minister. Together with the two priests and Sister Tess Horvath we worked collaboratively in the parish, with local organizations and in the local community.
In 1979 Sister Tess and I were invited to interview for pastoral ministry as Co-Directors of Religious Education at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in north Baltimore. We became part of a large pastoral staff with creative, challenging, affirming members, who together with a creative pastor, experimented, collaborated, prayed, worked hard and had fun together as we ministered to this large faith community. In 1986 I did a daring thing by resigning my ministry there in January so that the parish could find and hire a competent successor. (Tess left to be our coordinator for human resources in the province.) In June of 1986 I applied and interviewed for the ministry of serving as Assistant to the Eastern Vicar, Bishop William Newman. I will never forget the day Bill contacted me and welcomed me as his assistant. We visited all parishes yearly in the vicariate, wrote letters of affirmation or challenge as the case dictated, attended archdiocesan functions, collaborated with the archbishop and two other bishops, were involved in experiences we would not have dreamed possible. Bishop Newman was a great mentor and faithful friend.
In 1991, our province called me to leadership in the Province from 1991-1996. Again, I never thought I would be called to this ministry nor to relationships, experiences and decisions that were part of the ministry. In 1997 I was called to a ministry I would never have believed possible. I was hired by Bon Secours Heath System in Maryland as Director of Mission at Liberty Medical Center (an institution that served a diverse ethnic community in Baltimore) for 2.5 years. Next I was asked to consider moving to Bon Secours in Grosse Pointe, Michigan as Vice President of Mission. What a journey of faith, relationships, planning, being mission to people of all economic levels in an affluent part of Michigan. During 2007 Bon Secours sold their local system to a for profit system that valued our faith presence there. At that time I was promoted to Senior Vice President for Sponsorship in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Another very different challenge awaited me in terms of responsibilities, travel and relationships.
Once again in 2013 my Holy Union Sisters called me to leadership as one of a team of three, so back to Massachusetts I traveled. Our Sisters had aged; I had also aged, so the reality was different from the experiences of 1991-96. Love conquers all as we worked collaboratively to live our mission. The Associates were supportive, caring, prayerful and loving as we shared living our Holy Union charism. My journey continues with gratitude, with faith and with hope at this time of being called to global awareness, experiencing the fears, hope and dreams of our sisters and brothers in the world community . Yes God, I will continue to follow your call, however my life unfolds.
Religious Name: Sr. Mary Augustine
Holy Name School, 1962-1963
Sacred Heart School, Taunton 1963-1965
Immaculate Conception School, Astoria 1965-1970
Bishop Cassidy High School, Taunton 1970-1973
Academy of the Sacred Hearts, Fall River 1973- 1975
Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River 1976-1982
St. Anne School, Southampton 1982-1983
Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River 1983-1986
Jangwani Secondary School For Girls, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 1987-1991
Today: Sr. Mary Lou Simcoe
In more recent years…
My last “formal” teaching experience was at Jangwani Secondary School for Girls in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After many years of teaching and administration in the United States, I felt called to teach in a developing country. We already had a sister teaching Physics at Jangwani and I joined her at this government school of one thousand students. As I had in the US, I continued to teach English. I began with the first-year students and for the following three years moved up with my classes. While the school lacked many of the teaching materials, I formerly considered essential, the eagerness to learn of these young women more than made up for anything I lacked.
After four years when my class graduated, I returned to the US and served as the Fall River Diocese’s campus minister at Bristol Community College. This was my first experience with older students and I found I enjoyed it very much. In the summer at the end of my 2nd year at BCC I was asked to go to our General Chapter in Southampton England to make a video of the event. While there, I was elected to serve for six years on our General Council. My companions on the Council were sisters from England, Ireland and France, a group which reflected Holy Union’s internationality. While we made our home in Rome, much of our time was spent visiting and getting to know sisters in Europe, Africa, the US and Latin America. These were years of challenge and enrichment.
When I returned to the US in 2000, I spent some sabbatical time at Washington Theological Union and reconnected with an old friend from graduate school who lived in Baltimore. At the end of my sabbatical we met for lunch and she told me that her congregation, the School Sisters of Notre Dame had an opening for a communications director. We discussed what the position entailed, and I applied and moved to Baltimore to take on this ministry. Many of the skills from my high school English teaching days came in handy.
After six years in Baltimore, my own province was looking for a communications director so again, I applied and returned to ministry within Holy Union. Over the years, this work greatly expanded. I learned how to maintain a website and do much of the province communications electronically. A few years ago, the sister who worked in Justice and Peace for the province retired and I also took on this work which I continue today. Last year I was asked to serve on a committee to further communications throughout our congregation. My previous experience on the General Council and knowledge of our sisters helped me to say “yes”. So, I am now working with an international group of sisters from Rome, England and Cameroon to explore ways to help us communicate more effectively among ourselves and with the wider world. In reflecting on these varied ministries I am grateful to God and Holy Union for all that I have experienced over the past sixty years.
Religious Name: Sr. Bernard Catherine
Sacred Heart School Lewistown, PA 1962-1964
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1964-1965
St. Anthony School Taunton, MA 1965-1969
Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1969-1970
Sacred Heart Parish School Fall River, MA 1970-1977
Principal Immaculate Conception School Astoria, NY 1977-1979
St. Michael School Fall River, MA 1979-2003 Principal
Today: Sr. Bernadette Sullivan
In more recent years…
I have spent most of my religious life as an elementary school teacher and principal. This changed in 2003 when I was elected to the Leadership Team of the US Province of Holy Union. During a five-year term, working with two other sisters, my focus turned to my own sisters. I found myself traveling to visit and spend time with the sisters and worked with our province staff as well as our General Council in Rome. A support in this ministry were the annual meetings of leaders of other religious communities. These meetings were held in different parts of the country and for someone who spent most of my religious life in Massachusetts, gave me an opportunity to travel to Michigan, Texas, California and Colorado. I found these gatherings challenging as well as enriching. Also, throughout my five-year term I was provided with resources that enabled me to meet the challenges I encountered.
When my term ended, I had some sabbatical time to rest and renew before beginning a new ministry. Rather than return to teaching and administration, my new ministry consisted of visiting our sisters in nursing home and assisted living facilities and seeing to their personal needs. For a time, I temporarily replaced the sister who was coordinator for the Holy Union Community at The Landmark Senior Living Facility in Fall River. In the fall of 2015, I was appointed full-time coordinator for the sisters at The Landmark.
Today there are ten Holy Union Sisters who reside at The Landmark. My responsibilities include seeing to their overall personal needs and working with our province nurses to coordinate their medical appointments and health needs. Through this ministry I am able to offer our sisters comfort and strength as they age and become more fragile. Growing up as the oldest of eleven children helps me to do this. Within Holy Union I see that my life has come full circle, beginning with young children and now attending to my own sisters in their senior years.
Religious Name: Sr. Marilyn Bearne
Sr. Marilyn’s vocation never including classroom instruction.
Today: Sr. Marilyn Bearne
In more recent years…