Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Memoriam

I just found out today that my former teacher, Sister Dorothy FSSJ passed away on August 9th at the age of 87. I was planning on going to visit her and another of my former teachers at the Mother House over the summer, but never made the trip out to Hamburg. Needless to say I regret it now.

Sr. Dorothy was a wonderful teacher, and we stayed in touch over the years. I last visited her two years ago, and at the time she was doing well. She loved to exercise, and would go for long walks every morning, work out on the trampoline, and would even go swimming in the ocean when she would return to her hometown for a vacation.

Sister was a wonderful teacher, and I feel so privileged to have been taught by nuns while in grade school. It is very rare that sisters teach in schools any more, much less be of the caliber of the sisters of old. It was from these good women that I first got my desire to become a teacher, and saw something in them that I wanted to emulate.

It's because of my relationship with these sisters that I can't stand the mean nun jokes and stories that are so quick to be told when the word "nun" is mentioned. I don't deny that there were some nasty women who became nuns, but you can't judge an entire group of people because of a select few (in comparison to the whole communities of sisters). It is important to keep in mind that when many of these women were getting bachelor's in Education in the 1930s and 40s, the teaching style of the time was centered on corporal punishment and intimidation as the best way to teach, instill respect and keep control of a classroom (I once saw a picture of Sr. Dorothy in a classroom with her students in 1943. She had 40 kids in her class!!). We now know better, but all teachers at one point were trained in these now obsolete methods. Ask someone who went to public school in the 30s and 40s if a teacher ever hit them. Unfortunately, the nuns still bare the stigma of the ruler.

Eternal Rest grant unto her O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her.
Requiescat in Pace.

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