Letter: Rest of the story of Sr. Mary Dorothy
On seeing the April 26 oped column by Francis Moriarty entitled "Reflections of a St. Joe almost-grad," I eagerly settled in to immerse myself into the nostalgia of my days at St. Joe. The column was not what I anticipated.
Mr. Moriarty's experiences were bittersweet, as he found the academics adequate but the discipline and corporal punishment "stifling." He chronicled his negative interactions with his teachers, but chose to highlight his Latin teacher, Sister Mary Dorothy.
As his recollections jump ahead four decades, he recounts his meeting up with her and some former classmates over lunch. He states that she confessed to him "I didn't want to teach, they made me. I wanted a life of contemplation and prayer."
I thought long and hard before writing this letter for fear that I may be overreacting in my disapproval of Mr. Moriarty's divulgence of such sensitive and personal conversation. I was also concerned for Sister's family members, still living in the area, fearing that they would be hurt and shocked by such a disclosure. After discussing my concerns with a member of the clergy, I was encouraged to tell the rest of the story.
I, too, met up with Sister Mary Dorothy several years after graduating from both St. Joe and nursing school. I found myself working alongside of her, ministering to the frail elders in Pittsfield. Even though she was into her 80s, this was how she chose to spend her retirement years. She didn't join her fellow Sisters of St. Joseph in convent life but lived alone in an apartment in elder housing.
I was so fortunate to see the other side of Sister Mary Dorothy. She was a kind, supportive, unselfish human being given completely of herself to so many elders in need in her final years.
I sincerely wish that Mr. Moriarty could have ended his article by noting that part of Sister's life of service instead of on such a condescending note. If he could take a final walk through those hallowed halls and come across his locker — the dented one that he described — he might think of Sister Mary Dorothy watching over him, but as his guardian angle. Probably why he made it through high school and college and on to his successful career.
Pattie Ryan Pero,
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