Since entering the Congregation in 1978, my ministry has focused on the educational apostolate. As a postulant, I taught at Visitation BVM in Trooper and after making first profession in 1981, I was assigned to St. Adalbert’s in Philadelphia. In 1982, I began my journey “up the block” so to speak, from Nazareth Academy Grade School to Nazareth Academy High School and then Holy Family College (now University).
At the beginning of my religious life, I learned that the sources of energy for any Nazareth Sister that enable her to carry out her ministry are prayer and Eucharist. If we don’t draw our energy from these, then we have nothing to give to the people we encounter every day. I am an early riser and I spend the first hour of the day in my room with the Lord and a good cup of coffee (or two): reflecting on the daily scripture readings, journaling and doing some spiritual reading. At Delaney Hall, we are fortunate to have Mass in our chapel most weekday mornings. Another important source of energy for ministry is community life. I am blessed to live with a group of woman who are caring and supportive.
My ministry has always been busy, challenging and fulfilling. I have taught in middle school and high school, been a high school newspaper moderator, served as a sacristan, substituted for my sister as a childcare worker in Ambler and managed the kitchen in Torresdale. My current ministry is as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and an Assistant Dean in the School of Arts & Sciences at Holy Family University where I have ministered since 1993. The Congregation prepared me well for this ministry. I have an MA in Applied Mathematics from Villanova University, completed the prescribed program of doctoral courses in pure mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh and hold a PhD in Post-Secondary & Adult Education from Capella University. The focus of my studies at Capella was online mathematics education. Online learning presents a viable option to individuals who are actively seeking employment, acquiring new skills and training for career advancement while balancing familial and professional responsibilities.
After receiving my doctorate, I was able to implement my research rather quickly and developed four online mathematics courses which I currently teach at Holy Family: Contemporary Math, Calculus I, Calculus II and Directed Research. I also teach traditional or in-classroom courses. One facet of my role as Assistant Dean is to schedule and staff all undergraduate courses in the School of Arts and Sciences. For a typical fall or spring semester this is approximately 300 courses. At the University, we also have three summer sessions and a ‘winterim’ session during Christmas break.
Holy Family University plays a vital role in extending the charism of our Nazareth Congregation. The Sisters who serve at the University minister year round. It is extremely life-giving because each of us in our own unique way touches others’ lives. Whether it is in the classroom, President’s Office, Financial Aid Office, Student Life Office, etc., we come in contact with students and also their families. We meet them where they are, listen to their difficulties and do what we can to help them achieve their goals.
Another way I minister is through social media. I began my Facebook page in 2009. It has evolved significantly since then. Initially I posted pictures of student activities at the University and used it as a means of communicating with a campus ministry group I coordinated. My media site now addresses issues of interest to the Catholic community, including reflections on scripture readings, inspirational videos and news affecting the Catholic community, such as the Archdiocese’s position on current legislation and public issues. It is also a vehicle for prayer requests and updates on families whom have I have come to know through my 38 years of ministry. Over the years, my “friend” base has greatly increased to approximately 850; many are former students and classmates.
On the day of my first profession, the celebrant for the liturgy, Msgr. Anthony Jaworoski, noted in his homily that during my religious life I would come into contact with more families than I could imagine. Monsignor was right! During my 38 years in Nazareth, it has been a blessing for me to share my life with them. With God’s grace I look forward to many more years.