Alemany Awards Celebration
Sr. Marjory Ann Baez was born in San Rafael, California, the first of three children of Marie and Russell Baez. She first met the Daughters of Charity at Mount St. Joseph's in San Francisco, and entered the community in 1962. This marked the beginning of a life-long dedication to nursing and healthcare that would fundamentally change the lives of people in the Bay Area and beyond.
The Daughters of Charity was established in the Bay Area 163 years ago by the request of Archbishop Alemany himself.Their ministry has always been directed to the "poorest of the poor" and touches those in need through education, health care, social and pastoral services.
Sr. Anne Bertain was born the youngest of four girls in Napa California to Ellen and Jean Bertain. She was taught by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and by the Dominican Friars in Vallejo. In 1957, she joined the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and continued to live a life of "spiritual and corporal works of mercy" as she witnessed in her parents from a young age.
She taught elementary school for over 20 years and then went on to initiate many outreach programs from within St. Dominic's Church community in San Francisco - ministry to the homeless and elderly as well as jail ministry, consolation ministry, the St. Dominic's Social Justice Committee and providing Eucharistic ministers to the home-bound and assistance to families in need. Her work at St. Dominic's in San Francisco has covered more than half of her life. Sr. Anne reflects, "The wonderful people who have come into my life each day have taught me more about the gifts God gives to each one of us and the importance to share, listen and learn from one another.They constantly bring me joy, energy and blessings".
In 2011, The Holy Father conferred on Sister Anne the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award for her long history of ministry to the people of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. In 2012, she received the Bishop Francis Quinn Alumni Award from Saint John's School in Napa.
I was born in Berkeley, California in 1932. At a very early age I was aware of a call to dedicate myself to God. From the beginning days of my community life, in February of 1951, I found I loved religious life. I found Sisters of Mercy life enormously supportive of maturing in mind, body and spirit. It has never failed to be stretching. It has challenged me to adventure, risk and growth.
I have cherished my ministries. It has been a privilege to be an intimate part of people’s lives and to work with dedicated colleagues. I was with high school students for almost 30 years as teacher and principal of each of our Mercy High Schools. I ministered at Mercy Center as retreat and spiritual director. I taught a workshop series called A Trans-personal Perspective in the Christian Tradition and ministered especially to women through retreats and group sharing. While at Mercy Center, Sr. Suzanne and I began a weekly Centering Prayer group with the men at San Quentin State prison and a prayer group at the Federal Correctional Institution for women in Dublin. I also became a Eucharistic minister at the San Mateo County women’s jail. During this time the dire need for a transition home for post-incarcerated women became very obvious leading to the founding of SVdP’s Catherine’s Center.
After over 80 years of life, I feel enormous gratitude for the call to ever deepen my life in God, for the gift of being part of a very alive Mercy Community, for great friends and for the challenge, inspiration and joy of ministry.
"As women religious we’re called to live consecrated lives of poverty, chastity and obedience and to respond to the needs of our time. Our response can be through direct service, through prayer and through the witness of our lives as we strive to live the Gospel values of justice, compassion and respect for the dignity of all persons and for all creation." Sr. Rosina, Director of the Office of Women Religious for the San Francisco Archdiocese said in an interview with Catholic San Francisco in January 2012.
Sr. Rosina was born in Gilroy, California and attended St. Mary School, Gilroy High School and San Jose State University before entering the Sisters of the Presentation in 1959. She earned a BA in Education from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.
Her years of ministry included teaching in elementary school and teaching and counseling at Presentation High School in San Francisco. In 1975, she was sent to Rome to study in a formation ministry program and upon completion was assigned Director of Formation and Director of Novices. She served in congregational leadership and as Assistant Director at the Presentation Retreat and Conference Center. In 1990 she became Congregational President for Sisters of the Presentation during which time she visited the Missionary Sisters in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru and Pakistan. Sr. Rosina then served as program director at Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park. While serving as Administrator of the Motherhouse, Archbishop George Niederauer invited her to serve as the Director of the Office for Women Religious for the Archdiocese of San Francisco where she continues to serve today.
Sr. Rosina states graciously "My life has been richly blessed: I have loved every ministry I've been involved in and I enjoy reading, opera, time spent at the ocean and contemplating the beauty of creation."
Born and raised in Piedmont, California, Sister Nancy Morris was the middle child of seven children of John Morris and Thelma Toomey Morris. Attending local public schools, she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in June, 1949 with a BA in English
A trip to post-war Europe deeply impacted her faith and, after a year teaching in a local high school, she entered the noviceship of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in Albany, New York. After her first vows, she returned to California to teach at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco and thence to the boarding school in Menlo Park (now Atherton). She taught sophomores for three years before going to Rome to prepare for her final vows, made on July 29th, 1959.
Returning to Menlo Park, she continued to teach and was made Principal of the Convent School. Introduced to school administration on the Community's well-worn principle of "learning by doing", she prepared second-graders for 1st Communion and taught the seniors Religion. Suddenly, when she was getting the hang of the job, she was made President of the San Diego College for Women, and worked to merge the Women's College with the Men's College to become the one University of San Diego in 1971. She was then sent back to Menlo Park to become Director of Schools.
In 1998 Sister Morris was given a sabbatical and lived directly opposite St. Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley. Dealing with the Loma Prieto earthquake and the Berkeley fire at that time were memorable experiences.
Sr. Morris moved to San Jose to work with the poor and homeless. She raised funds and wrote the monthly newsletter for the San Jose Family Shelter, witnessing first-hand the desperation so many new immigrants and impoverished families experience in our culture. She learned how to write foundation grants, a skill that held her in good stead as her Superiors asked her to travel the country, to help poverty-based ministries write proposals.
She went on to become the Development Director at an inner city Catholic school for girls in Chicago founded by the Sisters of Christian Charity. She returned to the Bay Area in 1997 and worked for a time at her old school in Menlo-Atherton. In the mornings, she worked at St. Raymond Elementary School while writing grants and the newsletter for Oakwood the Society's Infirmary on the campus of Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton. She continues to hold these two jobs today, enjoying being with young children once again. She is more involved with her parish, St. Raymond's and serves as co-chaplain to the Serra Club.