Up Close and Personal

Sr. Mary Ann McCarthy’s first encounter with the Sisters of St. Francis was not particularly auspicious. Immediately after her sophomore year, Cathedral High School—staffed by the Sisters of Mercy—closed. Half of the students were assigned to Notre Dame High School, half to St. Anthony High School in Trenton which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis. Mary Ann was one of the latter group and, like the other “transfers” was not happy with the reassignment. “Everything was different—the grading system, the sisters, and, because of the increased numbers, the class size.” She did, however, recall the efforts of Srs. Regina McCloskey and Doris Barlow to assist the new comers. “They reached out to us, listened to our complaints, and yet always remained loyal to the sisters.”

Senior year came and with it a new Franciscan—Sr. Therese Denny— who served on the Vocation Council. Because she didn’t drive, she asked Sr. Mary Ann to take her to meetings and eventually invited her to a retreat and a visit to Glen Riddle. The idea of a religious vocation wasn’t new to Sr. Mary Ann and she had enjoyed vocation retreats with the Mercys. This is where what Sr. Mary Ann describes as “adolescent logic” came into play. “I wasn’t sure if the attraction to religious life was simply because I liked the Mercy sisters and enjoyed doing things with them or because God was actually calling me to religious life,” she said. “I figured that if I entered the Franciscans, it would be a test.  Read more