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.


Through Dorothy’s generosity The Holy Union Sisters are pleased to be able to offer grants based on financial need to students attending a Catholic Elementary or High School and women who attend College or a Job Training program.  The application process is closed for the 2019-20 program.  We will be accepting applications for 2020-21 school year beginning in mid-November.  Guidelines and applications will be available on this page in November 2019.  All applications are due, and must be postmarked, by February 15th.  If you are interested in applying for a Dorothy Vaill Grant, please visit us again here in November.