by Donna Sullivan
Donna Sullivan has worked as the Lower School counselor at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver since 2001.
At the end of my first year at St. Mary’s, I was invited to attend the trip to the Motherhouse. At that time it was a “working” retreat, so we mostly focused on how to teach and model the four Loretto values in our classrooms. We still had time to talk with several of the nuns, to walk the grounds, and to get to know each other.
My favorite memory, however, was the mass on our final day there. To this day, I cry when I think or talk about it. We were in the chapel waiting for mass to start. The chapel was beautiful and everyone was quiet. As the last few nuns, who needed some assistance, were escorted in, I noticed Sr. Mary Luke Tobin cautiously and slowly walking into the chapel with the aid of her walker. She took great care in finding a seat that would accommodate herself and her walker. Several minutes later, everyone began to sing a song together. To my surprise, Sr. Mary Luke pushed aside her walker, stood up, and began to dance. There were absolutely no signs of the lady who had arrived with a walker. She moved like an angel. Her fluid movements and the peaceful look on her face were like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I knew that this very special woman had me totally entranced with her grace, her spirituality, and her pure joy. I could not control my tears.
I’ll never forget the effect Sr. Mary Luke had on me that day. I’ll never forget that she spoke to me in a way that I had never been spoken to before or since. She made me “feel” her joy of life and those four Loretto values on a very personal level. I realize how lucky I was to have been in the presence of this amazing woman in that very special place, the Motherhouse. I understand what Faith, Community, Justice and Respect really mean now. Sr. Mary Luke made me want to go back to St. Mary’s Academy to teach and model those values every day. Thank you, Sr. Mary Luke, for being my inspiration. Thank you for everything you taught me in one joyful dance.
(Sr. Mary Luke’s picture will remain on my wall by my desk as long as I have the privilege of working at St. Mary’s Academy.)