I am an alumni of St. Augustine’s Catholic School in Elkridge, Maryland. I attended first grade through seventh grade there and was taught by a bevy of wonderful teachers and nuns who inspired and mentored me into becoming the strong woman I am today. My three older sisters also attended St. Augustine’s, and my mother was a teacher there for over thirty years, retiring in 2004. Sister Josephann Wagoner was kind enough to write a recommendation for me when I applied to the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and I was very happy to receive my four-year continuing education at such a prestigious school, where the School Sisters again were very much a part of forming the professional woman I am today.
To say that I have a treasure trove of stories, memories and life experiences from the contributions of these sisters would be an understatement. I credit their influence and example in leading me toward being a stronger Catholic as well as a confident woman and wife. When we are children we look up to the women around us to lead and guide us toward becoming an adult. Often we allow ourselves as little girls to fall into the world of make-believe and dreams. Being a child is a magical time, and I was both sheltered and loved during my time at St. Augustine. Sister (Marie) Catherine Mack was a guiding force in my early years whom I both feared, respected and adored. Her stern façade hid a kind and loving soul who wanted only the very best for all of the students. Even when I misbehaved, which I admit to doing very often, she had a twinkle in her eye when she reprimanded me. I shall never forget the sound of her footsteps or her voice, and I wish that I would have had the chance to have known her as an adult. I can only imagine the advice she would have given me about being more patient with my husband!
My heart will always have a place for my teachers the sisters, there have been so many that I’m ashamed that the names escape me. One sister taught Judea Christianity my first year in college, and to this day I will happily impart to whomever will listen all the trivia and historical information I can recall about Christianity and all the other religions, let alone how long it truly took for the bible to actually be written down!
To Sister Catherine, Sister Leonissa Clements (who taught me third grade) and Sister Josephann, I send my love. I will carry you with me throughout my life and through my eyes you will live, you will experience my life as a contracting manager for the federal government, my life as a devoted wife to a disabled husband, and through my eyes you will see how I joyously embrace my life with love each day. It is through you and your time and love that I have grown to be who I am today and I will never be able to repay this debt. So, therefore, you are carried with me and mine, and my life experiences shall in truth be yours.