Dear Saint Croix Catholic School Community,
With joyful gratitude to God I accept my assignment to Stillwater, Minnesota! This mission of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia has been on the top two of my personal wish list since we first began. Why? I am Minnesota born and baptized - Little Falls! My father grew up in Wadena and my mother in Ortonville. Both attended Catholic schools. They met at Moorhead State, married and began their family in Little Falls, where my dad taught high school industrial arts until he was recruited for a new high school in Orofino, Idaho, where I grew up. I have many relatives in Minnesota: Aitkin, Blaine, Cambridge, Waite Park, Hutchinson, North Field, New Prague; most of whom I have not seen in over 30 years. The last time I saw my godparents, who recently relocated from Hutchinson to Aitkin, was at my final profession of vows in 1995.
I just completed seven grace-filled years as the principal of Saint Gertrude School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Prior to Saint Gertrude, I served as principal at Cathedral Academy, New Orleans; Saint John Vianney School, Gallatin, TN; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Newport News, VA; and Saint Patrick School in McEwen, TN. Sum total my administrative experience is 22 years. I earned an administrative degree from Northwestern State in Natchitoches, LA; a theology degree from Providence College, RI, and an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from Belmont University in Nashville. I was blessed especially to study three years at Thomas Aquinas College (TAC), Santa Paula, CA, before entering the convent. It was at TAC, a very Catholic liberal arts and sciences college with a focus on the Great Books of the Western World, that I heard God's call to follow Him as a consecrated religious in the Order of Preachers. The influence of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a great Dominican, inspired my religious name.
Of special interest to you may be that in recent years I have become an advocate of STEM learning; the Institute for Excellence in Writing, which I understand is beginning at SCCS; and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Regarding the latter, I am certified in Levels I & II and hope to be certified in Level III someday, God willing.
Finally and most importantly, I thank God every day for my Catholic faith, the grace of my religious vocation, the Order of Preachers, and His unending love and mercy in my life. May we grow together in our grateful response to His unending desire to be in relationship with us! The world needs faith-filled witnesses to the Truth: Jesus Christ. May we be His light to others!
In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Sister Mary Aquinas, O.P.