Sister Elaine Heffernan
Entered: September 8, 1950 – Cumberland, Rhode Island
Current Ministry: Ministry of Prayer and Presence
Now that I am a Sister of Mercy for 70 years, I have time to look back and reflect on the wonderful gifts I have received during this time. I am grateful to the Community for the many opportunities provided to me through education and life-giving ministries.
My first mission brought me to St. James School in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where I taught for 11 years. Believe it or not, I am still in contact with some of my first-grade pupils from that time so long ago. I am proud to say that many of them went on to become lawyers, doctors, nurses, political leaders and teachers. I hope I had a hand in giving them a good foundation for their future.
Following my years in New Bedford, I became the principal at St. Patrick School in Fall River, Massachusetts, my hometown. I was fortunate to have many wonderful Sisters of Mercy as part of the St. Pat’s faculty. We worked well together and enjoyed many days filled with laughter and some with tears. Our students were always our first priority; we grew to love them and they loved us as well.
It was during my years at St. Patrick’s that I went to St. Michael College in Winooski, Vermont, to earn a master’s degree in Religious Studies. This degree enabled me to move on to the position of director of religious education for the Fall River Diocese. I met many wonderful priests, sisters, laymen and laywomen as I traveled from my diocesan office to towns ranging from North Easton to Taunton and from Attleboro to Provincetown on Cape Cod, and all points in between. I was always impressed by the wonderful work of religious education accomplished by these dedicated men and women.
My final active ministry was as episcopal representative for religious for the Fall River Diocese. One again, I felt like the “traveling nun” because I visited so many different religious communities during my years in that position. No matter where I went, I felt welcomed, and I gladly represented these sisters and brothers and their concerns to the bishop.
Now that I am retired, I look back and am filled with gratitude for all the blessings given to me as a Sister of Mercy.
If you would like to send Sister Elaine your congratulations, please sign the Jubilarian guestbook. If you wish to give tribute to her with a gift to the Sisters of Mercy, please click here to donate securely online. An acknowledgement of your gift will be sent to Sister Elaine.