By Lorraine Cooper, SC
Sr. Marie Paula, at 96, greatly embodies the spirit of Mother Seton, the educator. Without planning it, love for writing seemed to be an attraction for her throughout her life. Creative expression was seeded in her heart by a grade-school teacher who enriched her lessons with art and music in Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale. Both in high school and college she became involved in facets of journalism and publishing through such channels as student publications and public relations.
Her sense of vocation as a Sister of Charity not only drew her to helping the physically poor, but her goal became helping the young people in her English classes in Cathedral High School. She sought to enrich her students’ spirit with a vision for their lives through the arts, music, and beauty, thus expanding their capacity to receive God into their lives, as St. Therese explained. In that way, the students enriched their own lives and the society around them as well.
Later, as a professor of German at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, her minor field, she continued to work toward this goal. Sister Paula views CMSV as a spiritual as well as intellectual center in rapidly changing times in education. It is her dream that not only recent graduates, but the many alumnae who went before, will always live the CMSV motto of “goodness, knowledge, and discipline,” and thus influence the society they represent. She sees this as vital in a time of dismissal of the intellectual life and in the lack of the development of the whole person.
Sr. Paula has never ceased to develop her interests. She is an avid reader, especially in history, spirituality, and biographies of people who live out the fullness of their humanity. This is a source of wisdom for the Sisters with whom she lives and for her prayer for students, alumnae, and recently, for immigrants and refugees. Her special prayer is that each one’s guardian angel will protect them. Thus, all facets of her life are linked together in prayer.
I am so happy to see how radiant Sister Paula is at 96.
She is responsible for my success in German which took me on a scholarship to Germany were I met my husband. She visited us as post grad students in Munich and we had an enjoyable time together. We always remember her with one of her favourites:
We love you Schwester Paula!!
Jean and Livio from Brazil
So pleased to see you looking absolutely radiant. On behalf of the class of 1969, I invite you to join us at our 50th reunion 2019. Danke shoen for all you have done. May your angels continue. Gemutlichkeit. Always. Ellen Riesz
Great to see such a nice write-up on one of the most intellectual people I have ever known. Sr. Paula has been a great influence on my life from my college days in the 1980s through the present. I still enjoy chatting with her whenever I get to the Mount.
Ich werde nie vergessen, wie stolz ich war, meine ehemalige Germanistik-Professorin zum ersten Mal durch das Brandenburger Tor zu begleiten.
Meine Deutschlehrerin and great friend! Sr. Paula looks and IS radiant! The post did not mention her time as archivist for the College and her establishment of the Founder’s Day celebration, now held each April.
This year it is on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.
Sister, I have been remiss! I will come visit again soon (dare I hope next week?)! <)
It is good to see Sister Paula recognized for the sterling person and outstanding Sister of Charity that she is. However, her bio is incomplete in several ways. Sister Paula taught in the English Department in the 1950s and 1960s, and she was the moderator of the school newspaper and the teacher of the journalism course, drilling into many of us the precision of the “who, what, when, where, and why” of newspaper reporting and of life. She was a learned and yet down-to-earth teacher of English literature whose love of Shakespeare was highly infectious. I was blessed to have Sister Paula as my senior seminar advisor. Had I not studied with her, I probably would never have pursued a career teaching English. Thank you, Sister Paula.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. We agree that this bio is not complete. It was just a conversation with Sister Paula, which left room for additions such as yours. Keep them coming!
Dear Sister Paula:
You were a major influence in my life. I was a history major at the college, constantly switching my major back and forth between history and English-because you so encouraged my abilities and writing skills. Some of the English majors would be miffed when you would single out my papers! You were one of the best teachers I ever had-I hope that some of my students would feel the same way about me! So wonderful to see you looking so well!
Speaking as the eldest of Sister’s 11 nephews & nieces, thank you for this conversation with our “Aunt Mary”!! We can attest that at age 96 she is indeed a remarkable woman and kept herself young by following all current events and with many contacts with former students and colleagues. Reading the wonderful notes above reveals a side of Sister Paula that was not available to us–her teaching and its effects. Thank you all!
I want to echo what my OLDER brother Stephen Marchiony said above: We love our Aunt Mary! Visiting with her is a “must” when we visit NY a couple of times a year. It’s so gratifying to read the beautiful comments from her former students. Although I was never a student in her classroom, I have been a “student” of hers my entire life — just by listening, watching, and following her example.