Sr. Cecilia Schlaefer, CSA, was born into a family of musicians and has spent her 75 years of religious life sharing the joy of music with students, retirees and parishes. At 93, she’s still active serving others.
She attended daily Mass all through grade school and high school and entered the religious life at 18. For years, she enjoyed teaching math to junior high students. As time went on, however, she found herself enveloped in deep depression, a sorrow she couldn’t shake.
In the wee hours of the morning, while her husband and children peacefully slumber, Leila Miller sits bent over her computer, tapping out her latest blog post. has thousands of followers all over the world, and not a few of them are atheists.
For many middle-class men in suburbia, Saturday afternoon spells a round of golf or professional sports on television. Sean Kelly is not one of them.
Fraternal roots can run deep. Half of the men Kevin Murphy referred to as “uncle” growing up were actually his dad’s fraternity brothers.
Sr. Maria Silva began working for a car dealership in the Bronx right out of high school. She was working her way through Fordham and studying to be a psychologist, hoping for a lucrative career. Instead, she became the youngest chief financial officer for the dealership at 23. In spite of great financial success, she felt drawn to the religious life.
Francesca Thomas has been working with little kids since she first graduated from college. “I went to church pretty faithfully, but I don’t think my faith was particularly deep at that time. I sort of went, doing what you’re supposed to do, but I really was captivated by this whole putting-your-faith-into-action thing,” Thomas said.
Growing up in Phoenix as one of 10 children, Aurora Hernandez experienced firsthand the struggles of poverty. Her father worked for a meat company, and she and her siblings shoveled manure and cleaned out the animal pens. Her mother made dresses for the girls out of old flour sacks.
Rosemary Dougherty credits her 12 years of Catholic education and the strong faith and family bonds nurtured in her first-generation Italian American home for helping her weather the storms of life.
Carolee O’Meara knows what it’s like to be poor. She also knows how it feels to receive mercy. “I’ve always had a heart for the poor,” O’Meara said as she deftly stashed cans of vegetables in food boxes at Paz de Cristo in Mesa. “Being raised in a home where there was poverty and where God was just there all the time leading me, even without the parental guidance, God was just always merciful to keep me close to Him.”