Sr. Eleanor Moore’s (Ellie’s) connection with the Sisters of St. Francis began in elementary school where she was taught by our sisters at St. Patrick’s School in Wilmington, Delaware, and continued during her high school years at Corpus Christi High School—also in Wilmington. She was often invited to accompany the sisters when they walked into town to shop. Her mother was also available to drive the sisters to their Saturday classes or when they traveled to their yearly retreat—and Sr. Ellie enjoyed going along for the ride. Once Sr. Ellie herself had earned a driver’s license, she drove the sisters when they needed a ride. “I got to know the sisters personally and enjoyed being with them,” she recalled. They were happy in their interactions with each other and enjoyed their ministry with those who are poor.”
In 2014 Sr. Ruth Bernadette O’Connor’s election to our congregational council left her position as administrator of the motherhouse vacant. Sr. Ellie accepted the position and has served as administrator for the last four years. Her previous years in ministry as educator, as training coordinator and systems analyst in a healthcare facility, and as a previous member of our congregational council—as well as her innate sense of organization and leadership—made her a viable choice for the position. By anyone’s standards, the job is a big one and includes the responsibility for the overall management of programs, services, grounds, and facilities of the motherhouse complex. In addition, Sr. Ellie oversees the Sea Isle, New Jersey, property as well as the houses surrounding the motherhouse. She works with Dan Duffy, director of plant operations, to provide a hospitable environment for residents, employees, and guests.
Sr. Ellie acknowledged the obvious challenges that are part of her job—particularly challenges that automatically flow from coordinating so many activities under one roof. “Each day there is a plan but we must be ready to meet the daily challenges. Things can change at a moment’s notice and we need to respond, direct, or facilitate many additional actions,” she explained. “However, with the help of experienced managers and terrific employees, we get the job done!”
Those managers and employees as well as the OLA residents are part of what Sr. Ellie identifies as her blessings. “While the responsibilities are sometimes overwhelming for one person, being blessed with experienced managers who work well together and employees who will always go the extra mile make each day a blessing,” she stated. “The support and encouragement of the sister residents is another blessing on which I can always count. In addition, I actually enjoy the variety of tasks, responsibilities, and daily personal interaction with directors, managers, employees, and residents.”
That constant and ongoing interaction—whether it flows from typical everyday needs or from the unplanned emergencies that attend any administrative position—may account for what constitutes Sr. Ellie’s favorite options for relaxation. When she’s not busy meeting with managers at OLA, she might be enjoying a stroll through Longwood Gardens, spending time at home reading a good book or listening to music, spending time nurturing her plants, or enjoying a relaxing swim. Through it all, lies a bit of a connection from Sr. Ellie’s early days with the sisters—meeting needs, being on hand to do what needs to be done, and doing it in relationship with others.
Ann Marie Slavin, OSF