This year, Sister Marcia O’Dea celebrates having served at Forest Ridge High School in Bellevue, Washington for forty years. She started at the school as an English teacher for juniors and seniors, immediately after completing her graduate studies in Learning Environments at Harvard University in 1975. Her milestone tenure was recognized with an award certificate from the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.
In the Seattle Area of the United States Province, five Religious of the Sacred Heart enjoy serving in various ministries amidst snow-capped mountains and blue lakes. The Northwest draws one towards what is possible and what is creative. Even the heavy rains fail to dampen the impulses of inspiration all around us.
- Rody Dobler, RSCJ, and Sandralea Tuohy, RSCJ, share a home which they frequently open to neighbors and other visitors, offering delicious home cooking and hospitality. Sister Dobler tutors at the Recovery Café in downtown Seattle each Saturday in a three-hour ministry which assists those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. She also volunteers at First Place, a K-6 school for impoverished youth.
- Sister Tuohy assists at First Place on Wednesday to tutor the young students.
- On the other side of Lake Washington, the Eastside, Sisters Marcia O’Dea and Kathleen Sullivan live in downtown Bellevue. Sister Sullivan, who has retired from her twenty-four years as a math professor at Seattle University, tutors math with grateful students at Forest Ridge High School; she and Sister Flaherty coordinate the Associates Program in Seattle.
- Sister O’Dea teaches two high school English classes and administers the International Baccalaureate Extended Essay Program at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.
- In Bellevue, Mary B. Flaherty, RSCJ, resides in a retirement home, but continues in many ministries. Mary B.’s numerous ministries speak of her dedication and vision. Bringing weekly communion services and a monthly Mass to the Garden Club community, Mary B. also ministers here by being an RSCJ presence, one who listens to the residents and brings their concerns to the Lord. She also serves as a Garden Club Ambassador to welcome and orient new residents. In Saint Madeleine Sophie Parish, Mary B. sits on the liturgical arts and liturgy committees and is a lector; she is a member of this parish school accreditation committee. A Moderator of the Children of Mary Sodality and Alumnae Board, Sister Flaherty retains a close association with Forest Ridge as a past Board Chair and beloved friend of many.
The little communities of the Seattle area are distinct but united in mutual understanding. We keep each other’s intentions close in prayer and enjoy meetings as an area, occasions when we celebrate birthdays. Kathy and Rody have appreciated attending lectures related to faith at St. Joseph’s parish Church, and the entire area has celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart with the Associates in a new Seattle parish, Christ Our Hope. As we meet and work with our neighbors, associates and colleagues, we are open to cultural and spiritual differences. We try as RSCJ to give one another space to explore new possibilities and opportunities as we anchor our vision in the inspiration which nature’s beauty evokes in each one and in Sophie’s quiet hope that “Love Be Your life for all Eternity.”
2015 Jubilarian, Celebrating 60 Years as a Religious of the Sacred Heart
Kathleen Sullivan, RSCJ was destined to be an educator. As a child, she would come home from school, line up her dolls, and teach them everything she had learned in class that day. From her home classroom to grade schools to universities, Sister Sullivan has shared her love for learning and mathematics with countless students of all ages.