Written on: February 4, 2014
I taught fourth grade at Our Lady of Fatima from 1979 until 1984. I loved it there! Many of our sisters were sent to Jackson Heights right out of the Novitiate because we had four schools there and it was a training ground. Jackson Heights was a wonderful place to be in ministry! New Yorkers are very friendly and it was a community of many Catholic families. Relatives lived near one other and everybody seemed to know everybody else.
I liked teaching fourth grade. It’s a nice age. The children who were our students at Our Lady of Fatima were exceptionally smart. They came from good, caring families and the parents worked with and supported the teachers. Our sisters were excellent, dedicated principals: Sister Mary Stella, Sister Michael Marie, Sister Rose O’Donahue, Sister Martina.
Sister James Maureen was the Superior of the house for many years. The convent was always filled with hustle and bustle and kids coming in and out. Sister Mary Perpetua gave piano lessons there. We encouraged the children of working parents to come to the convent after school if they wanted to, rather than have them go home to an empty house. They could read or do homework or make a visit to the convent chapel. We looked after them!
We were close to transportation in Jackson Heights—buses, the subway, LaGuardia airport. That was very convenient for us because we didn’t have a car. There were little shops within walking distance, corner stories and bakeries and such.
My best memory of my time in Jackson Heights? When the pope came to the United Nations, we walked all of the children down to LaGuardia to see him land and come down the steps from his plane. It was an experience of a lifetime for them and I bet they remember it to this day!
Sr. Irene can be found today still spreading love and cheer to Sisters and visitors alike.