Dorothy Vaill Fund

Dorothy Vaill and the Holy Union Sisters

Dorothy Louise Vaill was born October 2, 1917 to Matthew J. Vaill and Bridget Burke Vaill. When her family experienced difficult financial times, the Holy Union Sisters allowed her to continue at the Academy tuition free. This assistance enabled her to complete her foundational education at the historic Academy in Fall River, MA. She continued her education, graduating from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in Smithfield RI, and was awarded a Diploma from the Executive Secretarial Course in 1938.

Records indicate that after graduation she held a secretarial position with the Federal Government in Brockton, MA. During World War II, she joined the W.A.V.E.S. (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and served as Chief Petty Officer from 1943 to 1951. While serving her country, she spent time in Miami, FL, Washington, DC, Quonset Point, RI and Boston, MA.

Following her military service, she pursued a successful career as a speech pathologist. She received a Master’s Degree from George Washington University, Washington, DC in 1959 and became Director of Speech and Hearing Services for the Washington, DC public schools. From the mid-1950’s until 1980, she also taught English as a second language to immigrants in the Washington, DC area. She retired in the early 1970’s. She was a member of the parish of the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Arlington, VA.

Dorothy died on March 2, 2011 at 93 years of age at Arden Courts, an assisted-living facility in Annandale, VA. She is buried in Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Fall River, MA. Upon her death, Miss Vaill left a generous bequest to the Holy Union Sisters. This fund was established in 2013 in her memory.


Applying for a Dorothy Vaill Grant


Effective January 1, 2024, The Holy Union Sisters are no longer awarding individual grants from the Dorothy Vaill Memorial Fund. 


We are enormously grateful for the generosity of Dorothy Vaill, whose posthumous gift to the Sisters in 2013 funded ten years of financial aid to hundreds of families in the Northeast.




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