Catching up with our 2021 Jubilarians
This year we’re delighted to celebrate thirteen Jubilarians! If you received our Summer issue of Response, “A Tapestry of Blessings”, you know we asked them to identify one “thread” which has been woven through their vocation and ministries.
Each response is unique, as you would expect, and many provide remarkable insights into each Sister’s gifts, and the opportunities that were presented to them.
Sr. Rita Beaudoin – Sr. Ruth Elizabeth
The ability to make connections and develop relationships
I think the thread that has run throughout my 75 years as a Holy Union Sister is my ability to make connections, to develop relationships with the Sisters (both at the provincial and international levels), with my colleagues in ministry, with parents and especially with my students. Many high school students I have taught since 1954 are still in touch with me. I have been sincerely interested in their lives and connect with them in sorrow and in joy. Today my focus is on other elderly men and women at Mary Immaculate where I now reside. As I read in an article Sr. Joan Guertin gave me: we must remember that “we are relational, emotional beings with our humanness rooted in connection and service.”
Sr. Marie Pauline Collette – Sr. Marie Pauline
Willingness to be available to others in need
My part of the tapestry woven into these ministries was colored by threads that have always been a part of me. My sense of responsibility caused me to place high expectations on myself as well as on others. At times, some threads got tangled or knotted. But the thread which has been with me throughout was my ability and willingness to be available to others in need. I served as a Eucharistic Minister and Bingo volunteer for many years at Immaculate Conception Parish in Astoria. Now in my retirement this thread is one of quiet presence to my religious community and all the residents and staff at Prosper Life Center at Fall River.
75 Years (RIP)
Sr. Beatrice Gerard – Sr. Beatrice
If we look at Sister Beatrice Gerard’s life and liken it to a tapestry the thread that was woven throughout was that of dedication. As one of the founding sisters of the Groton Province, as a teacher, as treasurer of the Province, in her service to the Lighthouse School, and in her faithful presence at the Holy Union gatherings and meetings one has to say she was always actively present and engaged. On November 28, 2020 God said to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Come!
Sr. Louise Gabrielle Bourget – Sr. Louise Gabrielle
Helping to unburden those who were struggling
With seven siblings, I learned early how to give and take. I also learned how to listen, and discovered that people often seemed comfortable confiding in me. In fact, over the years many have come to me to unburden themselves of difficulties or struggles. I don’t judge or condemn, or even attempt to solve problems, but simply listen. It is an honor to be allowed access to someone’s inner thoughts and personal life, and one I take seriously. This is a gift that I’m blessed to have been given, and it has been a thread which has been woven through my many years of service in Holy Union.
Sr. Hannah Collins – Sr. Nora William
In my 70 years as a Holy Union Sister the “thread” of attentive listening seems to be woven throughout. I am a quiet person by nature, but I enjoy conversations with family, friends, sisters in community and those to whom I have ministered as a teacher, in the ministry of formation for religious life, as a receptionist in the Archdiocese of New York, first for Cardinal O’Connor and then for the Vicar for Religious there. I’m more a listener than a talker, and find others’ ideas and experiences genuinely interesting. We are truly all unique.
Sr. Mary Ellen Donohue – Sr. Catherine Michael
Well developed “mothering” skills
Our original Holy Union cross had a saying engraved on it: “Monstra Te Esse Matrem”- Show yourself to be a mother. This certainly has been a vibrant, life giving thread that I have carried through my ministry. Having been the eldest girl in a large family I developed “mothering” skills to help care for my younger siblings as they grew. My years as teacher and then as principal were characterized by a deep concern and support for my students, especially those adolescents who were faced with many challenges in home, school and community. I believe this gift helped the children build the confidence and Christian values to help navigate difficult times and circumstances to move into a future of hope. Many remain in touch with me to this day.
Sr. Patricia Mulryan – Sr. Bernadette Patrick
Humor and Creativity
God has blessed me with two special threads. The golden thread I inherited from my father, and that was his wit and humor. The silver thread is my creativity. I used this thread in my ministry involving the students in art classes, plays, dances and of course in teaching. Community life had various threads, and sometimes I would get tangled within. At these times, my sense of humor stood by me. However, all of these were woven into a beautiful design made possible by my Holy Union Sisters. They have shared their lives with me and because of them I continue to be at the Heart of the World revealing God’s love.
Sr. Therese Theroux – Sr. Beatrice Therese
The desire to do what God wanted of me
The thread which has been woven through my vocation as a Holy Union Sister has been the desire to do what God wanted of me. This desire was awakened by the gifts of courage and strength which helped me to continue on my way, in spite of the fact that I was not always understood due to a lack of dialog on my part. Most recently, in 2019, I have transitioned into assisted living. I’m sure God wants this for me today, and I am resolved to respond by striving to reveal God’s love to those with whom I live.
Sr. Barbara Walsh – Sr. Barbara Thomas
An outgoing personality
My outgoing personality is the thread that began when I was a small child and has continued throughout my adult life. I love meeting people and I love nature, and animals. Walking my dogs has been a real channel for meeting so many other dog lovers in the areas where I’ve lived. These meetings often led to discussing religion, politics, and currently the COVID virus. As my mom used to say, “Barbie never knows a stranger.”
Sr. Gretchen Marlatt – Sr. John Miriam
The wonderful people who’ve surrounded me
The ever-present thread in my vocation is the people sprinkled throughout the years: my parents, siblings, extended family members, friends from high school days at Holy Union Juniorate, and all the children I’ve taught. The more I reflect on my Holy Union years the more I realize the richness in my life come from the faces of everyone who shared a time and place in my life. So, this tapestry so rich and plentiful in color, design and memories will forever hold a place in my heart for every person who has touched my life. As the song from “Les Miserables” sings “To love another person is to see the face of God.” And with gratitude I can say I have seen so many faces of God.
Sr. Eileen Davey – Sr. Helen Patrick
To my ministries I believe I brought the gift of inner peace, relating to people in a respectful manner. This gift of inner peace has given me a solid ground upon which to stand whether I was in the classroom, caring for children in a day care center, helping the poor citizens of Haiti, or helping run the hospitality house at Nanoquaket. This peace has given me a calm vision with which to see and understand others, and from that comes great respect for each as God’s children.
Sr. Christine Lacroix – Sr. Christine Marie
Welcome availability for service
The thread which is woven through my ministry is the Thread of Welcome Availability for Service: to children and their families, refugees and immigrants, prison inmates, the province, and now to elders with whom I share the aging phenomenon in earnest! I am “one among” continuing to receive and to give as God’s grace provides moment by moment. . . as has always been the case throughout my life. All have “brought me to this moment”!
Sr. Kathee Corrigan – Sr. Kathee
A thread which is woven through my entire ministry as a Sister has been Humor. It is a part of me that rises easily to the surface to help me connect with people, or deal with difficult situations, or bring people around me together. It keeps me from taking myself too seriously, and opens people up to more easily receive the love of God.