Three college classmates came to my presentation on Good Daughter Good Mother, sponsored by the Alumnae Association during my week in New Jersey at the College of St. Elizabeth. Our lives have taken very different paths, which made the show of support all the more meaningful.
From left: Sister Mary Geraldine O’Brien. Gerry taught history at the Academy of St. Elizabeth, and then moved into the library/media center in a Sisters of Charity elementary school. In retirement Gerry volunteers at the College library. Sisters of Charity basically never fully retire. As long as they can be up and about, they are somewhere contributing something.
Pam. Retired financial entrepreneur, author, mother, grandmother, one foot in the village in Panama and sister of the heart to Minga, urban dweller, lover of happy hour in Seattle.
Wynn Johanson. Wynn has had a distinguished corporate career with Exxon Mobil. In retirement she and husband Ken travel; they were in Panama on a birding trip one year and we were able to connect there. Wynn also serves on the Board of Trustees of the College.
Sister Rosemary Moynihan. Rory is General Superior of the Sisters of Charity and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the College. She has a hard job, I think. At one point there were around two thousand Sisters of Charity working in ministries in New Jersey, and in Haiti, the Virgin Islands, and El Salvador; now there are about 275, half of whom live in the Villa, the Sisters’ long term care facility. There are few active Sisters younger than 65. There is a lay group, the Seton Associates, committed to continuing the ministries of the Sisters. But it’s a different world, with so few young women considering vowed religious life. I think the Sisters both trust that God has a plan for them, and feel sad that their way of honoring God’s call will probably fade out of existence over the next 20 years or so. Rory is managing that transition.