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We Are Grateful

by Mary MacNeil FoleyCategory: Updates1 Comment

Notes of Gratitude to the RSHM

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Sisters:

five women standing in front of floor to ceiling book shelves filled with books

I had the good fortune to attend St. Thomas Aquinas Grammar School (1950-1958). Throughout those years I felt loved, encouraged to do my best and remember every teacher I had. Madame Matthew set the foundation of my learning in a calm, happy and loving environment. It is because of her that I pursued teaching as my life’s career. Mother De Rosaire opened my eyes to art and music allowing me to open my own creative self. Mother Augustine taught me the value of being a self-taskmaster and exposed me to sarcasm, something I needed to be aware of. Mother Berkman tempered every day with kindness and we prayed at the sound of every siren heard. She read Ann of Green Gables which triggered my love of books after having struggled to enjoy reading myself.  Mother Catherine brought the years to a close and gave us the encouragement to move ahead with determination and grace.  She helped us produce a fabulous SING (my favorite yearly stage production) “Silver Bells.”  

From there I attended Mother Butler Memorial (1958-1962). Those years were years of observation of different intelligences and gifts among teachers and students and making good friends. I was encouraged by Mother Johanna to acknowledge and use my leadership skills she told me I had. That projected me into lifelong service led by Faith. Sr. Francesca left a lasting realization of social integrity when on our trip to Washington D.C. the driver got lost and brought us south. Stopping at a restaurant for food, she came to each table and told us that they would not serve Jackie and when she clapped, we were to stand and leave!  Needless to say, we lost our appetite and were forever changed.

I entered the Novitiate and later left the House of Studies. (1962-1967). Those intense years of prayer, study and communal living were building blocks for the rest of my life.  Mother Perpetua introduced me to the Old Testament and singing in the choir instilled in me a love of the Psalms. Everyone’s focus on learning, be it spiritual or academic, matched and strengthened my belief in the value of education.  

I am eternally grateful for the benefits that I received.  My life is richer and I pray that all those I have encountered benefit in some way from the love, guidance and spirit of all the nuns who crossed my path.  I have continued the legacy of the RSHM community in all aspects of my life. My family, friends, students and coworkers were all touched by the RSHM charism.

I worked in daycare for 11 years, taught in the public school system for 38 years and I taught and coordinated the Religious Ed. Program at Church of the Holy Spirit in Cortlandt Manor for 27 years. I was a Chaplain at Hudson Valley Hospital for 5 years. I continue to help provide dinner for the homeless shelter in Peekskill and work with a church group selling our handmade items to provide emergency funds for the local needy.

I hopefully instilled the spirit of the RSHM and love of Jesus in my two children and three grandchildren especially by example. I am forever grateful and pray that your gifts of Faith Hope & Charity continue to grace our world. All for Jesus through Mary. 

1 thought on “We Are Grateful”

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    While browsing online this morning I came across this website serendipitously. What a surprise I found. WOW. Beautiful memories that I also share as a 1961 graduate of STA, Bronx NY. The RSHM religious made a lasting impact on my life. I loved each of them and still share stories with my younger sisters who also attended for a time. The teachers I remember well are Madame Perpetua, Madame de la Salette, Mother De Rosaire, Mother Augustine, Madame De Porres and Mother Evangelist. Loved them all for many reasons, especially for instilling in us a love and understanding of our Catholic faith, the superior education I received and the fun stories I so fondly remember.

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