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Society of the Holy Child Jesus / American Province

• New York Cornelia’s Vision: One Community Moving Forward In Hope

• California

S p r i n g / s u m m e r 2 0 11

Pennsylvania •

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Dear Friends, This June, my six-year term as Province Leader will end. When I began as Province Leader, I had no idea what a gift I was being given.

Portrait by Ellen Cooper © 2007

Cornelia Connelly, SHCJ, Foundress Society of the Holy Child Jesus

Actions is published by the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Comments or questions should be directed to: Office of Communications

1341 Montgomery Avenue Rosemont, PA 19010 610.626.1400, x320 phone 610.525.2910 fax e-mail Editor

Kim Cavallero Associate Editors

Tese Currie, SHCJ (M. M. Aloysius) Sandy Lovascio Michael Paolucci Design

Karp Graphic Design Printing

Conner Printing, Inc.

The Holy Child community is stretched around the globe. Just in this issue of Actions, we share more about some of this year’s Jubilarians and the impact their service—from the United States to Ireland to Chile, among other places—has in the world. We see how similar Holy Child education is in the U.S. and Africa, even though you would think they are worlds apart. We see the impact our mission site in the Dominican Republic is having on some of God’s neediest.

In This Issue Features 02 A Trinity of Appreciation Held Coast-to-Coast 05 Our Common Thread 06 Continuing the Holy Child Mission: 2011 Holy Child Honorees Named 07 Jubilee 2011 10 Holy Child At Heart: The Essence of Holy Child Education 14 Camp Cornelia in the City

Members of the Holy Child community—both Sisters and laity— are serving in very different places and in very different ways. With all this diversity, how can we be one community? Simple. All that we are and all that we do is united by our single purpose: to help others to believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world, and to rejoice in God’s presence. This is the big picture I’ve been privileged to experience over these last few years.

A l um s 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 18 18

St. James Parochial School St. Ignatius Holy Child High School, Waukegan Holy Child Academy, Portland Our Lady of Lourdes Holy Child Academy, Sharon Hill St. Mary’s, Melrose St. Edward’s School of the Holy Child, Suffern

When you look at the big picture, you can’t help but be awed! From coast to coast and from continent to continent, we are building God’s kingdom. We are one community moving forward in a spirit of hope and faith. Being witness to our mission in action over the last six years has been life changing.

Mi ssion & Mini s t ry 19 20

Holy Child Educators Travel to Africa Continuing in the Dominican Republic

SHC J Ne w s 20 21

Bravo! We Remember

On Our Cover

Attendees of the Trinity of Appreciation Event received this framed saying of Cornelia Connelly that was done by France White, SHCJ (Sr. Leo Mary). The pieces were framed by hand by the Sisters of the Holy Child living at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pa. Dolores McCormack wrapped each frame with a beautiful bow. Last December, after working with the SHCJ for more than 20 years, Dolores retired. Her daily presence in the office is greatly missed. Photo by Michael Leslie

Photo by Michael Branscom

Thank you for opening your hearts to me and for extending your friendship. Your prayers and generosity make a world of difference. The Holy Child Sisters on the next Province Leadership Team have a tremendous gift waiting for them in all of you. How blessed they are! (Check our website at for the announcement of the next Leadership Team later this month!) With my love and prayers,

Helen T. McDonald, SHCJ Province Leaders

610.626.1400 Phone 610.525.2910 Fax shcj american province Website Holy Child Network of Schools Website

A Trinit y of Appreciation Held Coast-to-Coast Photo by Santiago Valencia

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• California

(l to r) Susan Hubert, Mayfield Junior School religion teacher, Marie Rizzi, Mayfield Junior School kindergarten teacher, and Becky Sarni, parent of a Mayfield Junior School student.

Photo by Santiago Valencia

Photo by Michael Leslie


herever the Sisters of the Holy Child minister—from California to New York—and all points in between and abroad, they are honored to partner with many individuals who generously share their time, talent, and treasure. Last October, the Society thanked and recognized many of these individuals at a Trinity of Appreciation Event. This was a Mass and reception held in three locations—California, New York, and Pennsylvania—on the same day. More than 150 people attended. During the reception, the Sisters of the Holy Child also had a pinning ceremony to recognize members of the Cornelian Society, which includes those who have left a legacy gift (bequest, trust, or will) to the SHCJ. These gifts ensure that the love these individuals have for the Society will continue beyond their life span, while empowering the Society to continue Cornelia’s charge: “to meet the wants of the age.”

Photo by Santiago Valencia

Vale Photo by Santiago


In California, attendees gathered for the Mass and reception at Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena, CA.

Members of the Cornelian Society were presented with this special pin.

Charlie and Harry Foy, students at Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus and sons of Brett and Erika Foy of Pasadena, CA, hold up the gift that was given to event attendees. The gift is a framed saying of Cornelia Connelly that was created by France White, SHCJ (Sr. Leo Mary). Each piece of artwork was framed by hand by the Sisters of the Holy Child living at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, PA.

(l to r) Mel Loomis, SHCJ (M. Christopher Mary) with France White, SHCJ (Sr. Leo Mary).

.04 .05 Photo by Michelle Del Guercio

• Pennsylvania Cornelian Society Members (l to r): Judy Talvacchia, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Robb, who accepted the pin on behalf of his mother, Miriam Ellinger, Carol Ann Knight, SHCJ (Sr. Maria Sponsa), and Donald Dunn and Karen Burke Dunn.

Visit Our New Website! Photo by Michael Leslie

Last fall, we launched a new website! Be sure to check it out at You’ll find monthly prayers, lots of videos, photos from recent events, a listing of reunions and other events, and all kinds of ways to connect with the Sisters of the Holy Child! It is not to be missed!

Photo by Michael Leslie

At New Sharon in Rosemont, PA, SHCJ Associate Barbara DeConcini led the procession with Pat Tirrell, SHCJ (M. M. Vincentia), Nell Carbin, SHCJ (M. M. Kentigern), and SHCJ Associate John F. Connolly, Jr.

Jeanne Ronzani, SHCJ (M. Dominic Mary), a member of the Society’s American Province Leadership Team, presents Sue Ryer with a Cornelian Society Member pin.

Our Common Thread

Photo by Michelle Del Guercio

A Family Affair By Nancy J. Brisette

(l to r) Tom Cassels, Joan Greany, SHCJ (M. Edmond Mary), Charlotte Cassels, and Mary Hamilton, SHCJ. Tom and Charlotte’s two daughters graduated from the School of the Holy Child in Rye, NY.

(l to r) Maureen Welsh, SHCJ (M. M. Theophane), Jeanne Ronzani, SHCJ (M. Dominic Mary), and Dorothy Harris, Director of Campus Ministry and Diversity Coordinator at the School of the Holy Child in Rye, NY. Photo by Michelle Del Guercio

New York •

In our last issue of Actions, several people shared reflections on how Cornelia and her story have touched their own lives. It was clear that the many gifts and graces that God gave to Cornelia continue to blossom today. We will continue to share reflections from members of the Holy Child community. If you would like to submit one, please contact us at or 610.626.1400, x320.


n 1959, our first daughter was enrolled in the first grade in St. Mary of the Annunciation School in Melrose, Mass. In 1978, our seventh child and last daughter graduated from eighth grade in that same school. For almost 20 years, our family was gratefully immersed in the educational philosophy of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and Cornelia Connelly. During those years, I read Cornelia’s biography. I was truly overwhelmed by the joys and sorrows, accomplishments and obstacles that attended her life in a time and culture that often did not support women. I could humbly relate the patterns of her life to my own. Her roles as a wife, mother, and woman of faith, with all of the manifested joys and sorrows, resonated with me in an inspiring and comforting way. For the past six years, I have had a Sister of the Holy Child as a spiritual advisor. She gifted me with the perpetual calendar of the sayings of Cornelia. I meditate daily on each saying as part of my prayer for holiness. Almost every one of these sayings has spoken to my heart and I have recorded them. Thus Cornelia Connelly is a daily part of my life. For this, I thank God and ask that Cornelia’s cause for canonization be advanced, as she is so deserving. She speaks for all of us who are called to be faithful Catholics struggling in a difficult culture. Nancy J. Brissette is a Collaborative SHCJ Associate.

Mary Samson, SHCJ (M. Charles Mary) with Nancy J. Brissette. Sr. Mary is Nancy’s Spiritual Advisor.

Continuing the Holy Child Mission: 2011 Holy Child Honorees Named Photo by Michael Leslie

Photo by Michael Leslie

By Kim Cavallero


Jubilee By Tese Currie, SHCJ (M. M. Aloysius)


n 2011, 19 Sisters of the Holy Child are celebrating their Jubliees. We are featuring the Jubilarians who are celebrating 75, 70, or 60 years of service in this issue of Actions. In our next issue, we will feature the Holy Child Sisters who are marking their 50th Jubilees this year. Congratulations to all of our Jubilarians!

75 Years Ita Guthrie, SHCJ

Anne Healy Ayella


n the United States, nearly one in four children lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. That’s 16.7 million children.* “Food is so powerful—it is much more than nourishment,” says Anne Healy Ayella, who has been on a mission to feed the hungry for most of her life. For more than 30 years, Anne has worked for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the Office of Nutritional Development Services (NDS), which provides meals and support to the hungry. As the Assistant Director of NDS, Anne does community relations and outreach. She travels throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia advocating for the needy in parishes and schools. “When we break bread with the hungry, we share in the work of Jesus. When we share food with the hungry, we give hope,” says Anne, who is a 1972 graduate of the former Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, Pa. Anne is also an SHCJ Associate and serves on the Mission Advancement Advisory Board of the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Anne’s work with the hungry is just one of the many reasons why the Sisters of the Holy Child are honoring her with the 2011 Holy Child Spirit Award.

Actions Not Words Also at the 2011 Holy Child Awards Dinner, Robert A. Pollock will be honored with the Faith in Action Award. When

Robert A. Pollock many people retire, they spend time traveling and doing whatever it is that makes them happy. Not Robert Pollock. After a successful 20-year career on Wall Street, Robert retired at the age of 45, but making himself happy has not been his focus. For the past two decades, he has spent his time helping others by volunteering with organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. “I have been so blessed all of my life and in every aspect. I have always had the desire to help those less fortunate and that is a very large population,” shares Robert. Robert came to know the Sisters of the Holy Child while his daughters were enrolled at the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. He served on the School’s Board of Directors and chaired the Board for four years. He then went on to raise two million dollars for the school to build a new gymnasium. Soon after, in 1994, the Sisters of the Holy Child asked Robert to serve on their Investment Advisory Committee. In 2007, he became the first layperson to chair the Committee. His leadership and guidance have been invaluable and the SHCJ have been specially blessed by his presence. Robert lives his life within the hidden and humble spirit of the Holy Child, while helping all to see God’s presence everyday. Anne and Robert will receive their awards at the Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, Pa. For more information, visit *Bread for the World

When Sr. Ita was asked how she managed to complete 75 years in the Society, she had a clear response: the faith which she inherited from her parents and her Irish heart. Both these gifts have been shared generously over seven decades. As novices in Mayfield, England, Sr. Ita and her sister, Sr. Brendan, volunteered to go to the United States, and there they made their vows in the Society in 1936 (and they were not to see Ireland again until a visit in 1959). Much of Sr. Ita’s ministry was with the sick, both at New Sharon in Rosemont, Pa. and at the Holy Child Convent in Rye, N.Y., as she had a natural instinct for nursing. However, she also willingly served as cook and food econome in Portland, Ore. and Pasadena, Calif. An avid reader and gardener, a skilled crocheter and pray-er, Sr. Ita maintains her keen mind and love of the Society.

70 Years Nell Carbin, SHCJ (M. M. Kentigern) Sr. Nell has truly been a “globe-trotter.” Born in Watertown, Mass., she spent three years in Ireland before her family settled in Melrose, Mass. As the eldest of nine brothers and one sister, she developed practical and interpersonal skills. Sr. Nell was a member of the first graduating class from St. Mary’s. She early felt called to religious life and entered the Society in

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1938. She taught for 10 years in Philadelphia (Assumption and St. Edward’s). Then her cherished dream came true when she was assigned to West Africa where she remained for close to 30 years, serving in both Nigeria and Ghana. From there, her missionary heart led her to rural Mississippi and Georgia, and later to Los Angeles where she worked on projects for needy women and youth. Hearing of a project for religious in Slovakia, Sr. Nell volunteered to teach English there for a year. From Marian Woods in New York to St. Eugene’s in Primos, Pa. and now to Bryn Mawr, Pa., Sr. Nell has continued to seek the needy and do all she can to bring them compassionate care—independently using public transportation. For 70 years, she has certainly lived to the full her favorite gospel passage: Trade Till I Come.

Gemma Gargano, SHCJ Sr. Gemma came to know the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus at St. Mary’s in Melrose, Mass. She entered the Society willing to take on the humblest tasks, and she has done so unstintingly for 70 years. Serving as cook in several communities, she saw this ministry as one that supported the Sisters who were teaching. Many of those Sisters tell of Sr. Gemma’s hidden acts of kindness, extending far beyond her kitchen duties. Renewal of religious life did not come easily at first, but eventually Sr. Gemma was pleased with the changes and came to enjoy shopping and an occasional movie. For a number of years, she has been in charge of guests at the Convent of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y., providing a warm welcome to all visitors and continuing to support the Society’s ministries by her faithful prayer.

Elizabeth Gorvin, SHCJ (M. M. Berchmans) Sr. Elizabeth is one of the few Holy Child Sisters to have earned a master’s degree in Divinity, reflecting her great love for the Church and her desire for the priesthood. Educated at St. Mary’s in Melrose, Mass., Sr. Elizabeth entered the Society two years after her sister, Sr. Marie (M. M. Arthur). A series of challenging assignments called forth Sr. Elizabeth’s many talents: classroom teacher, principal of Holy Spirit School in Sharon Hill, Pa. (where Cardinal John Foley, was a student and became her lifelong friend), Assistant Novice Mistress, Postulant Mistress, Local Superior, and Provincial


Mary George O’Reilly, SHCJ (Agnes O’Reilly) Born in Canada and educated in Scotland and New York, Sr. Mary George brought an international background to Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pa. when she came as a freshman in 1934. Little did she know then that she would eventually be associated with the college for more than 60 years! After graduating with a degree in chemistry, she entered the Society in 1941, and taught at Sharon for eight years. In 1947, she was assigned to the chemistry department at Rosemont College and went on to become Dean, President, Director of a Capital Campaign, and Executive Assistant to two lay presidents. Over the years, the college has honored her on a number of occasions. She is dearly loved by alumnae whose names she never seems to forget. Sr. Mary George has also served the Society in a number of leadership positions and the larger community through her planning expertise. This has led her to the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.; the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate in Washington, D.C.; and several orders of women religious. Now residing at Midhill on the grounds of New Sharon in Rosemont, Pa., she continues her outreach in Thresholds, a program sponsored by St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, designed to help prisoners in their decision-making as they prepare to leave prison. She lives close enough to receive regular visits from Rosemont alumnae and to attend functions at her beloved college.

Photo by Jen O’S ull

Councilor. In 1980, Sr. Elizabeth moved south to Florida where she was engaged in parish ministry for more than 20 years—first at Punta Gorda and then Venice. These were years of generous service which she found very fulfilling. She continued to exercise her zeal at Haverford Estates, a retirement and assisted living community in Haverford, Pa., in arranging Masses several times a week and attending to needier residents. Sr. Elizabeth continues to share her joyful spirit and love of the Society and our Blessed Mother today in her latest ministry at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pa. “Wherever I was, I was always happy,” she states.



60 Years

Inez Berger, SHCJ (M. John Vianney) Born in California, Sr. Inez is a graduate of Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena and has ministered in California for most of her religious life, both at Assumption and Mayfield Junior Schools. Other teaching experiences were in Drexel Hill, Pa.; Rye, N.Y.; and Portland, Ore. Having been trained in calligraphy by M. M. Febronia, Sr. Inez has been called upon, since her noviceship days, to use her artistic skills in a number of projects. She has shared her talents as art coordinator in several schools and currently is on call to letter wedding invitations and diplomas. “The rewards [of art ministry] are never ending,” she has said. “I feel God’s presence and help in every situation.”

Mary Bryan, SHCJ (M. M. Cleophas) Sr. Mary has the heart of a gardener and has brought a nurturing spirit to her many and varied ministries: classroom teacher and school administrator, New York provincial, and member of the Society’s General Council. Although she was content in each of these responsibilities, her 11 years in Nigeria bring a special smile to her face. At the novitiate in Jos, she shared her love of the Society with the young women entering and for seven years, she served as Assistant Novice Director. Now the genial coordinator at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pa., Sr. Mary continues to give retreats and spiritual direction as she has done on three continents. “No matter what continent,” says Sr. Mary, “I find that listening to others and speaking to others about how God is working in their lives puts me in touch with something very sacred.”

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Joan Clark, SHCJ (M. St. Edward)

Sr. Joan admits to being a Bronx Irish Catholic, loyal to her heritage on all three counts. Educated in the Bronx and employed at Seventeen magazine, she felt called to religious life and was guided to the Society by Fr. Paul Amy, S.J. She found her first 15 years of teaching rewarding as she has seen a number of her former students go on to succeed in various fields. Even after two years of personnel work in a non-profit organization, Sr. Joan chose to return to the classroom for 20 more years. Now a member of the community at the Holy Child Convent in Rye, N.Y., she brings a spirit of joy through her lively narratives, many of them memories of her teaching days.

Margaret Farrell, SHCJ (M. M. Felicitas) Reflecting her religious name, Sr. Margaret (Peggy) always seems to radiate joy. Educated at St. Walburga’s in New York City, she entered the Society immediately after graduation and soon became a dedicated educator with math as her special field. For more than 40 years, she taught at all levels on the East Coast, as well as the West. Sr. Peggy was Assistant Principal at our Holy Child schools in Anaheim, Calif. and Potomac, Md. She then carried her skills to the SHCJ Health Office where she served for seven years. A faithful friend and a cheerful SHCJ, Sr. Peggy now gives community service at St. Eugene’s in Primos, Pa.

Anaheim, Calif. In 1976, she enjoyed a summer visit to Spain. Her quiet efficiency was called upon to serve as local superior at Midhill on the grounds of New Sharon in Rosemont, Pa. and at the Holy Child Convent in Rye, N.Y. She also served in the parish office of St. Elizabeth’s in New York. For 14 years, she ministered at St. Malachy’s Parish in New York, first as Assistant Director at the Senior Citizens’ Center and then, as the work grew from its solid foundation, she became the financial officer of Encore Community Outreach. Now from her room at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pa., Sr. Bernadette looks back on these years as both successful and satisfying.

Virginia Skrdlant, SHCJ (M. M. Lydia) Sr. Virginia (Ginny) is a religious of many gifts and interests—a lifelong learner and teacher, a published poet, a bird-watcher, and lover of cats. She has traveled far from her Midwestern roots where she graduated from Holy Child High School in Waukegan, Ill. She brought her keen mind to classroom teaching for almost 30 years. Then she moved into religious education in Massachusetts, later working with emotionally disturbed children and giving pastoral care for 11 years at Norristown State Hospital in Norristown, Pa. Meanwhile, through SHCJ and parish programs, Sr. Ginny has visited Peru, Haiti, and Nigeria. Active in Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Bryn Mawr, Pa. (choir and volunteer service), she continues to broaden her horizons and share her deepest thoughts in her poetry.

Bernadette Gaynor, SHCJ (M. Bernadette Mary) Sr. Bernadette came to know and love the Society at J.W. Hallahan High School in Philadelphia, and at the same time fell in love with the Spanish language taught by the SHCJ there. After profession, she taught primary grades in Philadelphia and New York. With her degree in Spanish, she taught the language for 15 years at Hallahan and at the Cornelia Connelly School in

Connect with the Sisters of the Holy Child Have you ever wondered what happened to that Holy Child Sister who taught you in the first grade? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to thank an SHCJ who made a positive impact in your life. Well, now you can! Log on to: 3yulk5f to connect!

Holy Child At Heart: The Essence of Holy Child Education By Kim Cavallero


or almost 150 years, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus have been opening and administering schools in the United States. There are thousands of Holy Child graduates worldwide. Those who graduate from Holy Child schools have a strong desire to help others and a sense of global responsibility. Many Holy Child alums work to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, serve in HIV/AIDS clinics, and just recently, have responded to the cholera crisis in Haiti.

Catherine Glatts, a 1973 alumna of St. Leonard’s Academy (which the Sisters of the Holy Child opened and ran from 1867 to 1982), is a teacher and the Vice-Principal at Mercy Vocational High School (MVHS) in Philadelphia, Pa. today. Saalim Abdul Carter, who graduated from MVHS in 2003, says, “After a turbulent freshman year at my neighborhood public high school, with prison-like metal detectors, armed guards, and gang violence, my transfer to Mercy Vocational High School was little short of a miracle.…During my final two years [at Mercy Vocational High School], I had a significant turnaround….Ms. Catherine Glatts’ Business Shop prepared me for a professional environment and she herself acted as my moral compass.” Today, Saalim is working on his doctoral dissertation. What makes a Holy Child graduate so exceptional? (See sidebar below for more examples of how Holy Child graduates are changing the world.) The answer lies within the life and legacy of Cornelia Connelly, the Society’s Foundress, and the unique perspective she had on education.

Holy Child Roots

Evangelina Savala ’00 lights a candle during the recommitment prayer service held at the Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim, CA at the end of the visiting committee’s visit. At the time, Evangelina was the Director of Student Activities at the school.

When Cornelia began opening and administering schools in the 1800s, she developed a wide curriculum that included art, music, drama, and logic. Being a mother herself, Cornelia actively engaged children in their learning and created classrooms overflowing with love and joy, where students were encouraged to develop their God-given gifts and talents to their full potential. Cornelia’s philosophy of education was ahead of its time and it was not welcomed or appreciated by all. For example, when the Bishop

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Goals for the Holy Child Network of Schools The following Goals have been developed collaboratively by Holy Child educators. They are principles by which we teach children and, in doing so, perpetuate our tradition. Goal 1 Holy Child schools foster a faith commitment that engenders a joyous personal relationship with God in addressing the challenges of the world.

Holy Child Education Today

heard what the schools Cornelia was running were like, he quickly wrote to her: “Inquire prudently, as it is said that the pupils have been taught to waltz and dance the polka as well as to play whist. If you discover this to be true, stop it quietly.” In spite of the criticisms she faced, Cornelia persisted and today, her educational approach is widely accepted. Eileen McDevitt, SHCJ, Director of the Holy Child Network of Schools, says, “So much of what was particular to Cornelia’s philosophy of education was different from her time, but it is known today as good pedagogy. What school would not say they value the whole child? What school would not say they want to be a happy place for their students? What school doesn’t expect academic excellence? I think the difference in a Holy Child school is that we never say any one of those things is more important than the other. We try to keep it all in some balance and tension.”

In the United States today, there are 10 schools that form the Holy Child Network of Schools. In addition, Holy Child schools are flourishing in England, Ireland, France, Nigeria, and Ghana. In spite of the physical distance between these schools, step into any one of them and you will know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that you are in a Holy Child school. Holy Child education is a tradition rooted in Christian values where students are empowered to embrace life with joy, zeal, and compassion. Today, Holy Child Sisters partner with many members of the Holy Child Network of Schools community in ensuring the Holy Child mission remains intact. Each school in the Holy Child Network strives for seven goals, which were developed collaboratively by Holy Child Sisters and lay educators in 1983. The goals and criteria range from fostering a faith commitment to offering a program of study that is both intellectually challenging and develops a love of learning to working toward Christian principals of justice, peace, and compassion. The goals were revised and the fourth edition published last spring. (See sidebar for complete listing of goals.) In 1995, Sr. Eileen McDevitt established a mission effectiveness process that empowers the Network Schools to sustain and develop their Holy Child mission and spirit. “The mission effectiveness process institutionalizes the [Holy Child] mission and safeguards it so that it will go forward in the coming years in a coherent, thoughtful way. It’s thoughtfully taught, so that we can ensure the quality going forward,” says mission effectiveness committee member at large Marie Ursino, SHCJ. The mission effectiveness process is overseen by the mission effectiveness committee, which is composed of 12 individuals who are Holy Child teachers, administrators, and/or Holy Child Sisters. “As a school community, we have articulated our goals. So the role of the mission effectiveness committee is to bring that to a level of intentionality. That’s not to say that the schools are not always living the mission— they are—but mission effectiveness brings an awareness to everything we do. At all levels, from board decisions to administrative decisions to what kind of activities the children do, we always want to be very clearly working out of the mission,” explains Sr. Eileen.

development volunteer. Her 27-month stint includes three months of in-country language and cultural training and two years of service.

and her troops have distributed them to a women’s clinic that the troops opened in their province and to an Afghan orphanage.

Elizabeth Lazzari, a 2005 Cornelia Connelly School graduate, graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point in May 2009. She recently deployed from Fort Campbell, Ky. to Afghanistan with 440 troops from the 101st Airborne Division. In yet another example of how Connelly alumnae mirror Cornelia Connelly’s motto of “Actions Not Words,” Liz requested the Connelly family’s assistance in helping others. The Cornelia Connelly School gathered 38 volleyballs, a net, and two pumps and sent them to Liz in Afghanistan, where she

Anthony Mirenda, Jr., a 1976 graduate of Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill), is an attorney practicing corporate litigation at Foley Hoag, LLP in Boston. In addition to his law practice, Anthony is the senior attorney supervising Foley Hoag’s pro bono Domestic Violence Prevention Project. He has spent time helping victims of domestic violence enforce restraining orders and navigate associated criminal proceedings. He has written briefs on behalf of several

Goal 2 Holy Child schools live, learn, and worship as a dynamic Christian community. Goal 3 Holy Child schools offer an intellectually challenging and creative program of study that develops a love of learning and academic excellence. Goal 4 Holy Child schools work for Christian principles of justice, peace, and compassion in every facet of life. Goal 5 Holy Child schools create a learning climate based on trust and reverence for the dignity and uniqueness of each person. Goal 6 Holy Child schools promote the personal growth and development of all who participate in the life of the school. Goal 7 Holy Child schools ensure the continuation and growth of Holy Child mission and philosophy in the school.

Holy Child Graduates Who Are Changing the World Patter Sheeran Birsic, a 1973 graduate of the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, started The National Pancreas Foundation in 1997 after her sister-in-law died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 40. She has helped to build the foundation into the leading non-profit organization that supports the research of diseases affecting the pancreas (i.e., pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis) and to provide information and humanitarian services to those who are facing such illnesses.

from The Pennsylvania State University. In 2010, Patrick returned to Holy Child Academy and shared his volunteering experience with Holy Child Academy students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.

Patrick Daley, a 2000 graduate of Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill), spent one year of service in a Honduran orphanage after graduating

Katie Lawler, a 2003 Cornelia Connelly School graduate, joined the Peace Corps last September and headed to Macedonia as a youth

Gaby Espejo, who will graduate from the Cornelia Connelly School this spring, traveled to India to work on a restoration program for Dalit girls who have been victims of human trafficking. Last December, Gaby sold t-shirts at the Cornelia Connelly School to raise money for the program.

• Continue d on pa ge 1 2

.12 .13 Pam Gartland, a member of the mission effectiveness committee who is also the Division Head of grades three, four, and five, Campus Minister, and Religion Teacher at Holy Child Academy in Old Westbury, N.Y., says, “The mission effectiveness process is just an extension of everything that we believe in and that we do everyday in the Holy Child schools. We have always applauded the Sisters for having the foresight to know that this mission cannot stop and for allowing us to be part of the future by what we’re doing today.”

Mission Effectiveness Process For each school in the Holy Child Network, the mission effectiveness process takes place over six years. In the first year of the process, the school’s steering committee attends a training workshop led by the members of the mission effectiveness committee and begins a community-wide reflection on the Holy Child goals and criteria that involves all those connected with the school. In the second year, the school completes a self-study evaluation, which is reviewed by the visiting committee. The visiting committee includes teachers, faculty, and staff from

The Holy Child Network of Schools is an association of 10 elementary and secondary schools educating children nationwide. These schools are Catholic, independent schools sponsored by the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Connelly School of the Holy Child (Potomac, MD) Cornelia Connelly Center (New York, NY) Cornelia Connelly School of the Holy Child (Anaheim, CA) Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill, PA) Holy Child Academy (Old Westbury, NY) Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus (Pasadena, CA) Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus (Pasadena, CA) Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child (Summit, NJ) Rosemont School of the Holy Child (Rosemont, PA)

the nine other Holy Child schools. Later that year, the visiting committee spends three to four days at the school meeting with board members, faculty, staff, administrators, students, alums, and parents. Their visit ends with a recommitment prayer service that celebrates the entire school community. During the prayer service, the visiting committee’s reflections are shared. Next, the visiting committee sends a report to the Society’s American Province Leadership Team (PLT), who reviews the report and the school’s self-study and then sends the final directives to the school. The school uses these directives to develop an action plan that is approved by the school’s Board, faculty, staff, and the PLT. The school spends the next three years implementing the action plan.

Mission Effectiveness Committee The mission effectiveness committee is the heart and soul of the mission effectiveness process and each member has a clear sense of Cornelia’s approach to education. For example, one of Cornelia’s directives was “to meet the wants of the age.” Committee Member Robin Beaver, who is the Technology Director at the Rosemont School of the Holy Child in Rosemont, Pa., says, “It always amazes me how timely the Holy Child approach is to education. It is very child-centered. Our desire is always to teach to the particular child we have in front of us in the particular age we’re living in using the best tools we have available in that age. It comes from our Holy Child history and mission, as opposed to what we have to change to keep enrollment up or what we have to change because of external forces.” The mission effectiveness committee meets twice a year. They also lead the training workshop for the steering committee of schools being visited and for one person from every other school who will be a member of a future visiting committee. In addition, they lead the teams of Holy Child administrators and faculty in visiting the schools. The committee has also developed a Wiki, which is a website that essentially acts as an online bulletin board. On the Wiki, the schools share best practices with one another, reflections on how their school is doing, and ideas for ways to celebrate their Holy Child heritage during the self-evaluation process of mission effectiveness. As a result, none of the schools is ever left on their own. They depend on one another in a number of ways. In addition, the Society hosts an annual meeting for the heads and board chairs of all the Holy Child schools. The schools in the Holy Child Network are truly a network of support for one another. And thanks to the mission effectiveness process, their common mission continues to bond them.

School of the Holy Child (Rye, NY)

organizations including the Women’s Bar Association, Jane Doe, Inc., and the Domestic Violence Council, Inc. Over the past 20 years, Anthony has provided education and training for law enforcement, health care professionals, lawyers, and students on the issues of domestic violence. In June 2009, the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) recognized Anthony and Foley Hoag for contributions that improved the lives of sexual assault victims.  Cameron Nutt, a 2003 graduate of Mayfield Junior School, will graduate from Dartmouth College in 2011. He has spent time working

The members of the mission effectiveness committee: (back row l to r) Rebecca Seymour, Barbara Mullen, SHCJ (M. Anthony Mary), Anne Hartfield, (middle row l to r) Robin Beaver, Maureen Cameron, Pam Gartland, (front row l to r) Marie Ursino, SHCJ, Michael Ambrose, and Shauna Kopit. Not pictured: Nonie Murphy, Emily Morgan, and Eileen McDevitt, SHCJ.

in Dares Salaam, Tanzania as a DarDar intern at an urban pediatric HIV clinic and a nearby primary school. This is part of a joint project between Dartmouth and the World Health Organization. This summer, Cameron is going back to Tanzania on a research grant while writing his thesis in medical anthropology. Annie O’Brien, a 1998 graduate of Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill), worked for two and a half years with the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Formerly the Clinton Foundation, the Health Access Initiative enabled Annie to focus on HIV/AIDS initiatives in New Delhi,

Cornelia’s Legacy More than 130 years after her death, Cornelia’s legacy continues. When you get right down to it, the importance of each and every child is at the heart of Holy Child education. Barbara Mullen, SHCJ (M. Anthony Mary), who is an at large member of the mission effectiveness committee, as well as the Director of Women’s Research at Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena, Calif., says, “The incarnational aspect of our philosophy is the value of the human person. It is quite a remarkable, simple reality, but it’s profound—God becoming human. When people ask what the difference is of a Holy Child education, it is often hard to describe because you do have to experience it. You have to get at it at a level beyond words. It’s about the value of the human person and the value of our world, and knowing that even with all of its challenges, God is still there.” In a time when the American educational system is facing a great deal of scrutiny and criticism, it is amazing to realize that the philosophy of one woman, Cornelia Connelly, who lived more than a century ago, is still inspiring educators and students alike, while empowering today’s youth. “We all draw inspiration from the same person, Cornelia Connelly. And we are fortunate in that she wrote a lot and we have those sayings and writings of hers that guide us as we do it,” concludes Sr. Marie.

India. This fall, Annie started a postgraduate program in Medical Anthropology at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Katie O’Connor, a 2000 graduate of the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, works for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and was sent to Haiti in response to the cholera outbreak. Julia Pilson, a 1990 graduate of Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill), is a Senior Meetings and Events Manager for Carey International, a worldwide transportation and logistics company. Julia travels the

During the mission effectiveness process, the entire school community celebrates each of the goals. Here, faculty members at Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena, CA, undertake a student team-building activity called “Pipeline” to celebrate Goal Six.

world managing client programs and has spent many hours working with various corporations such as the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the PGA TOUR, USGA, and many others. Julia shares, “My Holy Child experience has enabled me to understand global clients, service, hard work, and dedication, which is especially challenging in some locations, although worth every effort.” 

The teachers and students from the high schools planned and ran a weeklong summer camp which they named Camp Cornelia in the City for the incoming fifth grade students of the Cornelia Connelly Center (CCC). During the week, each high school ran the academic and enrichment program for one day. For example, the School of the Holy Child (Rye, N.Y.) put a unique spin on math for the young girls with Math Magic, as well as poetry writing, art, dance, singing, and exercise. Courtesy of Holy Child Academy (Old Westbury, N.Y.), the girls were treated to a day of relaxation at their pool—an important part of any summer camp!

Fifth-graders from the Cornelia Connelly Center in New York, NY with their camp counselors: (l to r) Jalien Peralta, Melanie Santana, Valarie Alcaraz of the Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim, CA, Samantha Diaz, Kristen DeJesus, and Julianne Pearson of Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, MD.

Camp Cornelia in the City would not have been complete without some reflection on Cornelia Connelly. The students read, A Generous Love, the children’s book about Cornelia’s life. The girls gained so much from Cornelia’s story. In fact, Dorothy Harris, Director of Campus Ministry and Diversity Coordinator at the School of the Holy Child (Rye, N.Y.), who planned and ran the camp, shared the remarks of incoming fifth-grader, LaNaysia Jones: “I’ve got it! We are Holy Children and Cornelia is our mother!”


Last summer, one teacher and two students from each of the high schools in the Holy Child Network of Schools— School of the Holy Child (Rye, N.Y.), Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus (Pasadena, Calif.), Cornelia Connelly School (Anaheim, Calif.), Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child Jesus (Summit, N.J.), and Connelly School of the Holy Child (Potomac, Md.)—put their summer vacations to good use by helping some of their fellow Holy Child friends at the Cornelia Connelly Center in New York City. Founded in 1993 by the Sisters of the Holy Child, the Cornelia Connelly Center provides an excellent Holy Child education to girls from low-income families on New York’s Lower East side.

Society of the Holy Child Jesus / American Province

Camp Cornelia in the City


Holy Child Education


ince 1862, the Holy Child Sisters have founded and/ or taught at more than 50 parochial, diocesan, and independent schools in the U.S. While many of these schools continue to educate thousands of children every year, some have closed. All those who were taught by the Holy Child Sisters— regardless of the type of school or whether the school is opened or closed—are an integral and important part of our Holy Child family. Here, we joyfully share alumni reunions and news from those who were educated by the Holy Child Sisters.

St. James Parochial School Philadelphia, PA

Class of 1947 Reunion In August 2010, the St. James graduating Class of 1947 held a reunion at the Baywood Country Club in Long Neck, Del. The school, which was located at 38th and Sansom Streets in West Philadelphia, has long been closed, but the alums enjoyed looking back at the fond memories they made. –Bob Rumsey

Chicago, IL

Class of 1948 | 70th Anniversary

reunion news

Did You Have A Class Reunion? “Personally, I felt the greatest impact emanated from the joy and admiration the girls exhibited from being involved in the Holy Child community, and their pure excitement for learning and beginning to grow into young women. My inspiration grew because of the inspiration I witnessed from these young girls who were working so very hard to achieve their goals.” –Katrina Dzyak, Connelly School of the Holy Child

Members of St. James’ Class of 1947: (l to r) Marie Vencle Wilgis, Bob Rumsey, Barbara Martin Tourdot, Hugh O’Brien, and Elizabeth Matsinger Saunders.

St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius’ 70th Anniversary Celebration: (l to r) Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ (M. Ellen Mary), Marie Bornhofen, and Mary Ellen Fulton Murphy.

“What impacted me the most was the fact that no matter where the other counselors and I came from, we all got along so well. The Holy Child Network really is like a community and never before have I seen that so exemplified as at this camp. We all came from different parts of the country, different schools, and different groups but had the same values which made becoming friends quickly that much easier. I love these girls and I will forever be thankful for this experience.” –Lauren Nickel, Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus

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If so, let us know so that we can feature you in Actions! Send the details (who, what, where, when) and a few photos with captions to Michael Paoloucci, Development Coordinator, at or 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010.

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of entering first grade might not be common, but it’s what the Class of 1948 from St. Ignatius decided to do after celebrating the 60th reunion of their high school graduation two years ago. On a Sunday in September, 22 classmates plus spouses and/or grads from classes before and after the Class of 1948 who “had the good sense to join us,” enjoyed visiting and dining at Maggiano’s Restaurant! The group shared memories of the SHCJ who taught them in the 1940s. Their appreciation was evident. While many classmates still get together for lunch on a regular basis, the entire class will now wait for 2013 to celebrate their 65th reunion! –Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ (M. Ellen Mary)

Holy Child Academy, Sharon Hill Sharon Hill, PA

Waukegan, IL

Class of 1960 | 50th Reunion

Class of 1950 | 60th Reunion Seven members of the Class of 1950 gathered last July at the Waukegan Yacht Club for lunch and to reminisce about their days at Holy Child Academy. These extraordinary women hope to get together at least once a year, if possible, until their 65th reunion in 2015. –Mary Ann Tiernan Grazier

Holy Child Academy, Portland Portland, OR

Holy Child High School’s Class of 1950: (seated l to r) Mary Ann Tiernan Grazier, Annette Rafferty Gaunky, (standing l to r) Kathy Adams Hayes, Jean Trangmar McLaughlin, Mary Ryan Van Heirseele, Marianne Drew Jula, and Dorothy Biegler Whiteside.

On a beautiful Sunday in late October, more than 70 of Sharon’s finest gathered at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Pa. to celebrate their heritage. Helen McDonald, SHCJ, ’58 (Sr. Vincent dePaul) opened the reunion with a heartwarming prayer. Cathi Duffy ’72 regaled us with the “best kept secret of the Society,” the SHCJ Associates Program, which she heads.


On a sunny day last July, the graduating Class of 1970 celebrated their 40th reunion poolside at classmate Stephanie Sahlin Scott’s beautiful home in West Portland, Ore. Of the 51 graduates, 32 were in attendance. A table was filled with mementos and other memorabilia, including an old school uniform. Everyone had a good time and many old friendships were rekindled, while some new friendships were established. The group consensus was to try and get together again sometime soon! –Class of 1970 Reunion Committee

New York, NY

All Class Reunion

Holy Child Academy’s (Portland) Class of 1970 attempt to recreate their original class picture!

In October, the 2010 Alumni Reunion of Our Lady of Lourdes School was held. More than 80 alumni attended including former clergy and faculty members. The agenda included a student-guided tour of the school today, a concert performed by students, a liturgy in the historic lower church’s Grotto, and a luncheon. Monsignor John Ruvo, assigned to the parish from 1957 to 1970, was the chief celebrant and co-homilist with the present Pastor, Father Fabian Lopez. The Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School, Cathy Hufnagel, and the Development Chair, Danielle Forsythe, facilitated the school and church-based activities. Current students served as ushers, tour guides, choir members, and altar servers.

Following Friday’s nostalgic event, the 2010 Alumni Reunion Committee hosted a dinner dance on Saturday evening at the Marriott Westchester in Tarrytown, N.Y. A highlight of the evening was the open-mic session, during which Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus reminisced about their days at the school and the parish they served until 1985. With nearly 90 guests, the stories and anecdotes—both comic and touching—abounded. It was a wonderful weekend that all will remember with fondness. –Suzanne Robinson

Last October, Sharon’s Class of 1960 (The Golden Girls) held their 50th Anniversary Reunion at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Pa. Thirty classmates attended, coming from as far away as Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The day was beautiful and the company was unsurpassed. We had a great time catching up with each other’s lives, recalling favorite memories from our Sharon days, and remembering those from our class who have passed away. Several people who could not attend sent information and pictures to share. All agreed that it was a huge success and we are already looking forward to the next gathering of this wonderful group. –Wendy Ricker

Sharon Fall Luncheon | All Class Reunion

Class of 1970 | 40th Reunion

Our Lady of Lourdes


Holy Child High School, Waukegan

Members of Our Lady of Lourdes’ Class of 1956: (l to r) Godfrey Henderson, Winston Lewis, Burton Bell, Suzanne Robinson, Donna Levy-Wray, Linda Febles-Lopez, Robert Rivera, and Algie Hough.

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Sharon’s Class of 1960: (first row l to r) Patricia McDonnell Timothy, Michele Phelan Hunter, Ellen Larkin Albertson, Alice McNulty Romanelli, Diane Haley, (second row l to r) Kathleen Roos, Anne Gillan Elliott, Carole Harbin Parry, Margaret McCormick Keffer, Miriam Murphy Farmer, Angela Venditti Ruggiero, Helen Bodkin Connors, (third row l to r) Nancy Carroll Frank, Patricia Montgomery Boyd, Patricia Hughes Donnelly, Jane Mone Hackett, Margaret Rueger Halfpenny, Rose Corcoran Sorensen, Kathleen Scanlon Conlin, Kathleen Supplee Paskin, Margaret Pescatore Baldini, Joan O’Leary O’Donnell, (fourth row l to r) Martha Buckley Shields, Lynn Waldron Cassady, Vicki Massaro, Kathleen Petrokubi Davis, Suzanne Hogg Barton, Mary Jo Koroly, Elizabeth Collins Schmidheiser, and Wendy Ricker.

Marilyn Buckley ’58, current President of the Alumnae Association, thanked the alumnae for their continuous generosity to the Annual Fund of the Society’s American Province. She thanked the oldest alumnae from the Classes of 1943 and 1944 for attending and for looking so chic! Marilyn informed the attendees that a Sharon alumna, Anne Healy Ayella ’72, will be honored with the 2011 Holy Child Spirit Award at the Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner on Thursday, March 31, 2011 at the Overbrook Country Club. Marilyn urged all to attend to show their pride in having a fellow alumna honored. Chatter and laughter filled the room as the graduates continued to enjoy the day. A wonderful time was had by all! –Marilyn Buckley

St. Mary’s

Members of Sharon’s Class of 1956 at their All Class Reunion: (l to r) Joanne Gordy Brandl, Barbara Dorsey Keough, Judy Brown Smith, Rita Liberace Eckhart, Teresa Greco Watton, Pat Cordano Brown, Barbara Powers Gaffney, and Bonnie Halfpenny Caggiano.

Melrose, MA

Class of 1960 | 50th Reunion Many members of the Class of 1960 from St. Mary’s High School, as well as some members of the Class of 1956 from St. Mary’s Grammar School, gathered last September to celebrate their 50th reunion. The festivities started with Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Melrose, Mass. Afterward, the classmates continued their reunion at the Mount Hood Country Club where they had celebrated their Senior Prom 50 years before! Everyone enjoyed seeing the class memorabilia, as gift bags and favors were given out to everyone in attendance. A delicious luncheon was served with an invocation by Mary Samson, SHCJ (M. Charles Mary). It was particularly heartwarming to have her represent the Holy Child Sisters who nurtured and educated the class and continue to inspire them with their dedication and ministry. –Maureen Shea Dolan

Members of St. Mary’s Class of 1960 with Father John Sullivan, Pastor of St. Mary’s Church.

Philadelphia, PA

Rosewood Caterers in Philadelphia, Pa. was the setting for the All Class Reunion for the graduates of St. Edward’s last October. Many classmates arrived early and stayed late. Rusty Olimpo and his committee really outdid themselves, putting together a wonderful event. At one point, the microphone was passed from person to person, as each gave their name and former address. Most of the alums had not seen their classmates for more than 53 years! It was just like old times, as phone numbers and addresses were exchanged. The funniest incident occurred when five 66-year-old men were told that Catherine Quinn, SHCJ (M. Ignatius Mary) wanted to see them. They immediately turned into 11-year-old boys! I know Sr. Catherine had a grand time, as did everyone who attended. We can’t wait for the next one. -Eileen Glancey Tepper

School of the Holy Child, Suffern Suffern, NY Class Reunion | Classes of 1969, 1970, 1971 It was a busy November weekend in New York City for Holy Child Suffern alumnae from the Classes of 1969, 1970, and 1971 and a few from other classes. Graduates came from all over—including four countries and 12 states—to attend a casual reception on Friday night and a dinner on Saturday evening that was organized by Christine McNamara Finnegan ’70 and Liz Warwick ’70. More than 55 people attended the dinner at Moran’s Restaurant in Chelsea, N.Y. In a private room at the restaurant, the alumnae shared old photographs and memories of their high school days. Marlene Brownett, SHCJ (M. M. Magdalen) led the group in a special grace before dinner. After dinner, the group gathered around the piano, accompanied by Donna Pettinato Hamilton ’70 and led by former Glee Club President Lorita Hannigan Resler ’69, they sang the school song and Ave Maria. Song sheets were passed out, although everyone seemed to remember the words quite well! Other special guests who attended the evening were Tobie Tondi, SHCJ and Carol Ann Smith, SHCJ (Sr. M. Carol) who taught at Suffern. Connie O’Connor Izzo, an SHCJ Associate, former Sister of the Holy Child, and art teacher at Suffern, also attended. The surprise gift at the end of the dinner was a CD for each alumna of the Holy Child Suffern 1968 Christmas Album! –Liz Warwick

St. Edward’s All Class Reunion: (standing l to r) Ed Tepper, Gerry Glancey Bellomo, (seated l to r) Nancy Pomerantz, Catherine Quinn, SHCJ (M. Ignatius Mary), Nancy Padlo, and Ewald Kranebrang.

Go Green! Go Electronic! We are contacting alums, friends, and supporters more and more by e-mail. If you’d like to join our e-mail list, please send your name and e-mail address to

Members from Suffern’s Classes of 1969, 1970, and 1971 sing their school song!

Society of the Holy Child Jesus / American Province

All Class Reunion


St. Edward’s

Mission & Ministry

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Holy Child Educators Travel to Africa


ast summer, teachers from several schools in the Holy Child Network of Schools traveled to Africa, spending five days in Ghana and five days in Nigeria, where they visited three Holy Child schools. The five teachers, Liz Cohen, Christine Cote, David Hemak, Kate Marlow, and Jenna Sutton, were impacted in an amazing way. They are preparing to return to Africa this summer, but this time, they hope to bring students from their respective schools who can also experience it all!

“We gained an appreciation of the people we met and the places we saw. It was wonderful to make this journey with other Holy Child teachers from the United States as this enhanced our overall view of the extent of the Holy Child Network and its potential in uniting people across the globe.” –Jenna Sutton, Teacher Connelly School of the Holy Child

Kate Marlow (in blue) of the School of the Holy Child Jesus, Rye, NY; Christine Cote (in yellow) of the School of the Holy Child, Rye, NY; (l to r) Liz Cohen of the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, Summit, NJ; Jenna Sutton of the Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac, MD; and Dave Hemak of Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus, Pasadena, CA enjoying the Tropical Rain Forest and Canopy Walk at Kakum National Park in Ghana.

of the trip “A wonderful part her Holy Child ot e th was meeting the students, people—the nuns, tion. It was ra st and the admini d heart-warman ng yi sf very sati milar the ing to see how si were to our ca ri schools in Af .” schools in the U.S cher –David Hemak, Tea ool of the Holy Sch ior Mayfield Jun Child Jesus

Holy Child Ministries The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus serve in education, health care, law, parish administration, pastoral care, social work, and spiritual direction. In addition, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus has founded and sponsors the ministries below. Holy Child Network of Schools Connelly School of the Holy Child (Potomac, MD) Cornelia Connelly Center (New York, NY) Cornelia Connelly School (Anaheim, CA) Holy Child Academy (Drexel Hill, PA) Holy Child Academy (Old Westbury, NY) Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child (Pasadena, CA) Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child (Pasadena, CA) Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child (Summit, NJ) Rosemont School of the Holy Child (Rosemont, PA) School of the Holy Child (Rye, NY)

Higher Education Rosemont College (Rosemont, PA) Collaborative Educational Ministries Cristo Rey New York High School (New York, NY) Hope Partnership for Education (Philadelphia, PA) St. Martin de Porres High School (Waukegan, IL) The Washington Middle School for Girls (Washington, DC) Sponsored Ministries African Sisters Education Collaborative (Philadelphia, PA) Casa Cornelia Law Center (San Diego, CA) Centro Cornelia Connelly (Santiago, Chile) Fe y Alegría (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) Los Angeles Ministry Project (Los Angeles, CA) Providence Center (Philadelphia, PA) Response-Ability (Rosemont, PA)

“Our time in Ghana and Nigeria extended far beyond the school walls. We found friends in the Sisters and the Holy Child students and we fell in love with cultures that are very differ ent in many ways from our own, but yet, fundamentally the same. It was truly a transformative experience.” –Kate Marlow, Teacher School of the Holy Child, Rye

Continuing in the Dominican Republic

Changing Lives Sr. Mary Alice told the story of one four-year-old in particular, Antony. “His smile is like a sunrise that lights up his whole face,” says Sr. Mary Alice. Antony is very intelligent. However, the Sisters and volunteers soon discovered that his ears are severely infected and that he is Antony’s smile lights up a room! profoundly deaf. “He doesn’t talk because he has never heard,” says Sr. Mary Alice. “When he does not like something, he screams. Many of the other children have taken to screaming now too! We have to get this child some help for the good of all!” The Sisters and volunteers have struggled to get Antony the medical care he needs, but they are not giving up. They went to the government’s free hospital for children, but it is months before they can get Antony in. So they are headed to a private clinic to see if his ear infections can be cured and some of his hearing restored. “We will need lots of financial help to get this smart little boy the treatment he needs,” says Sr. Mary Alice.

A Day at the Beach The teachers from Response-Ability really make a difference in the lives of those served in the Dominican Republic. For example, just last spring, the teachers suggested that the older children in the program be taken on a field trip to the beach. “It is hard to imagine that most of these children have never been to the beaches for which their island home is famous,” says Sr. Mary Alice. At the beach, the children couldn’t have been happier. They made bathing suits out of whatever they had. The teachers gave swimming lessons,

played with them in the water, buried them in the sand, taught them to build sandcastles, and played volleyball. According to Sr. Mary Alice, the pleas have already begun for a repeat trip this year! Throughout this year, the ResponseAbility program is being celebrated for the Katie DiSalvo, a 2009-2010 thousands of lives that have Response-Ability Volunteer, with been touched because of it. It is Abigail during Beach Day. encouraging to know that these young college graduates will continue to make a difference in the lives of the children in the Dominican Republic. And it is encouraging to know that because of the hundreds of college graduates who have gone through the Society’s ResponseAbility program, Cornelia’s philosophy of education will continue to be passed from one generation to the next!



iven the economic downturn and the increases in living costs over the last few years, it is with great sadness that we share that the Response-Ability program will close at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. This was not an easy decision, as Response-Ability is an extraordinary program, however, it has become a necessary decision. Founded in 1974, Response-Ability has sponsored college graduates who give one or two years of service teaching in inner city schools in Philadelphia, Pa. and Washington, D.C., as well as at the Society’s mission site in the Dominican Republic. Much to everyone’s excitement, the program will continue in the Dominican Republic, where great strides continue to be made! Mary Alice Mingoue, SHCJ (M. Grace Mary), who lives and serves at the mission site the SHCJ began in 1995, shares that the school is thriving and that attendance has skyrocketed! Imagine 85 four- and five-year-olds in one large room and you’ve just experience the school!


Nell Carbin, SHCJ

(M. M. Kentigern) was the Volunteer of the Week in the November 11, 2010 edition of The Main Line Times. The interview detailed the many hours this 90-year-old gives to a variety of programs.

Barbara Bartlett, SHCJ

(M. Donald Mary) was given an award by Boys’ Town in Washington, D.C. in gratitude for her work with the residents there.

We Remember Anna Daly, SHCJ (M. Thomas More) September 16, 1925 – September 19, 2010 Born in New York, N.Y., Sr. Anna spent nearly 60 years serving there. From 19461951, she taught at St. Elizabeth’s School. Then, she taught English and Latin and served as the Librarian at School of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y. from 1959-1970. Next, for more than 30 years, from 1970-2001, she served as the Director of Alumnae Relations at the School. Sr. Anna established an alumnae database, organized annual reunions, and published alumnae newsletters. Upon her retirement in 2001, she was appointed to the school’s Board of Trustees and served until 2008. Known for her attention to detail, the Board quickly named her secretary. Most recently, Sr. Anna had been working as an Archivist at St. Conrad’s Friary in White Plains, N.Y. Sr. Anna also taught at the Rosemont School of the Holy Child in Rosemont, Pa. from 1953-1958.

Muriel Ratigan, SHCJ (M. St. Agnes) February 2, 1915 – September 17, 2010 Sr. Muriel, who was born in New York, N.Y., spent 10 years working in the business world after her college graduation. Her major had been mathematics, so she was employed as an accountant at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Despite her love of clothes and Broadway shows, Sr. Muriel felt called to religious life and entered the Society in 1947. Gifted in math, Sr. Muriel taught the subject at St. Walburga’s Academy, the Rosemont School of the Holy Child, St. Leonard’s Academy, Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child, and Holy Child High School. Sr. Muriel was also a member of the Provincial Council for the Society’s former Western Province from 1967-1973. In Rome, Italy, she was a member of the staff of the Society’s Generalate from 1982-1991.

In her later years, Sr. Muriel led classes for adults learning English at Providence Center in North Philadelphia. (Providence Center was founded and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Child.) Sr. Muriel also served as a math tutor at St. Thomas/Our Mother of Good Counsel School. As Tese Currie, SHCJ (M. M. Aloysius) remembered in the eulogy she gave, “Muriel was a woman of few words, but of many generous actions.”

Rosemary McHugh, SHCJ (M. M. Barnabas) June 10, 1918 – December 14, 2010 A native of Melrose, Mass., Sr. Rosemary McHugh was oneof-a-kind. She taught for more than 50 years in schools in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts. Specifically, she taught at Holy Spirit School, St. Mary’s, Holy Child High School, Holy Child Academy, St. Veronica’s, Our Lady of Lourdes, and St. Edward’s. She also served as Librarian at Holy Spirit School. In her later years, Sr. Rosemary did not fear technology. In fact, she learned how to use a digital camera and became quite the expert photographer at the Convent of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y. In addition, she was responsible for sending out e-mail notices to the Holy Child Sisters on the weekends. Sr. Rosemary held both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Latin.

Nora Kelly, SHCJ (M. M. Zita) October 31, 1930 – December 15, 2010 Sr. Nora Kelly always had a smile on her face. Serving as a Sister of the Holy Child for more than 50 years, Sr. Nora was a gifted educator. She was born in Philadelphia and spent her entire life in the Pennsylvania area. After entering the Society of the Holy Child in 1951, she began her ministry teaching at Holy Spirit School in Sharon Hill, Pa. She also taught at St.

.20 .21 Edward’s and St. Lucy’s. For three years, she served as a member of the staff at Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pa. She also served as secretary for Catholic Social Services for 13 years— she served for five years as secretary for the Migration/Refugee Program and eight years as secretary in the Child Care Department. Joan McIntyre, SHCJ (M. M. Janet), who attended West Catholic High School for Girls with Sr. Nora remembers her as an expert at the Irish jig!

Aquilla Peterson, SHCJ July 12, 1949 – December 21, 2010 As a child, Sr. Aquilla had tremendous faith in God and often wondered if she would have the courage to give her life to God. Photo by Michael Leslie While studying for her master’s degree at Bryn Mawr College in 1997, Sr. Aquilla had attended a life awareness weekend at Rosemont College. She met Monica Adigwe, SHCJ and Jeanne Marie Hatch, SHCJ (M. M. Jeanne), who was the Vocations Director for the Society at the time, and in 2001, Sr. Aquilla entered the Society. In 2002, at the age of 53, she professed her first vows in the Society. For nearly 40 years, Sr. Aquilla was a mental health worker. Ministering to the mentally ill helped her to see the presence of God more clearly and she said that her ministry became one of helping others in God’s name. In 2002, she received the Community Mental Health Award for her dedication, commendable job performance, and long-term involvement in the mental health community. Last Thanksgiving, Sr. Aquilla was diagnosed with lung cancer and died shortly after. Her presence in the community is greatly missed.

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Order Your Special Occasion Prayer Cards The Society’s prayer cards provide the perfect way to let someone know that the Sisters of the Holy Child are offering their prayers. One card offers prayers of comfort and peace on the loss of a loved one. Another expresses love and joy to someone celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or religious holiday. In their ministry of prayer, the Sisters of the Holy Child residing at Holy Child Center, as well as in the Society’s assisted living communities in New York and Pennsylvania, receive all prayer card requests and find great joy in knowing that their prayers are a source of love, peace, and comfort. Alums and friends of the Society using the prayer cards have also included donations to the Society when they request their intentions. The Sisters of the Holy Child are most grateful for your generosity. Remembrance and general intention prayer cards can be requested on our website at or by calling 610.626.1400.

Connect Online! g St. Leonard’s Alumnae Spring Luncheon | March 19, 2011 The St. Leonard’s Alumnae Association will host its annual luncheon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Pa. from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Connie Hamilton at

g Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner | March 31, 2011 The Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner will be held at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, Pa. Anne Healy Ayella, Sharon ’72 will be honored with the Holy Child Spirit Award and Robert A. Pollock will be honored with the Faith in Action Award. Join us! For more information, contact Sandy Lovascio, Director of Development, at 610626-1400, x301 or or visit

g School of the Holy Child, Suffern | August 5-7, 2011 The Classes of 1969-1972 will celebrate together at the Holiday Inn in Suffern, N.Y. For more information, please contact Pat Wilson-Perkins at

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Actions - Spring/Summer 2011  

Actions tells the stories of the ministries of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus.