Birth: May 30, 1933
Profession: February 4, 1964
Death: June 22, 2017
Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sarah Elizabeth “Betsy” Walsh, RSCJ, died June 22, 2017, in Atherton, California.
Sarah Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Walsh, a Religious of the Sacred Heart, was born on May 30, 1933, in Cumberland, Maryland, to William C. Walsh and Sarah Elizabeth Walsh. Her only brother, William, died in 1991. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, family she loved dearly.
Affectionately known as “Betsy,” she graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Eden Hall, in Torresdale, Pennsylvania, in 1951. Sr. Walsh was an alumna of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, graduating in 1955 with a BA in English and Russian. Following graduation, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood in Albany, New York, made her First Vows in 1958 at Kenwood, and her Final Profession in 1964 in Rome, Italy.
Following her profession, Sr. Walsh taught at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Albany, New York. In 1967, her ministerial career shifted to higher education when she became dean of the freshman class at Manhattanville College as she completed her own doctoral studies at Harvard University, specializing in medieval literature. From 1969 to 1973, she was a teaching fellow at Harvard and also a lecturer at Newton College in Massachusetts. Upon the completion of her Ph.D., Sr. Walsh was an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1975, she joined the faculty at the University of San Diego (USD) where she taught a range of English courses for forty-two years, from Chaucer and Dante to the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Bishop and Langston Hughes. In addition to her teaching, Sr. Walsh presented papers on the medieval era at a number of conferences and published numerous essays and two books, The Tale of Ralph Collier and Light of Learning, a collection of the essays of Morton W. Bloomfield, which she edited with a colleague.
Sr. Walsh was involved in many campus activities. She served as Chair of the English Department and on a number of committees, among them the Faculty Senate, the Rank and Tenure Committee, and she directed the Graduate Program in English. She was also very active in student affairs because of her position as faculty-in-residence on campus. Given her commitment to social justice, Sr. Walsh initiated and supervised for five years the Southeast San Diego Tutoring Project, an ongoing endeavor to assist at-risk children in local elementary and middle schools.
Sr. Walsh received a number of grants and awards for her work: numerous research grants from the University of San Diego; Visiting Scholar at Harvard University; University of San Diego University Professor, and three National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars and Institutes. Deepening her love of Russian language and literature, Sr. Walsh was also Visiting Lecturer three different semesters at Moscow State University. In addition to her robust academic life, Sr. Walsh was an active member of the Immaculata parish on the USD campus, singing in the choir and participating in the many parish activities.
A funeral Mass will be held at the Oakwood Retirement Community, Atherton, California, on Saturday, July 29, at 10:00 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4120 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63108.