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A 1966 Bishop O’Connell High School graduate, who later returned as a teacher and administrator, recently was honored for 50 years of service in the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary order of Roman Catholic nuns.
Sister Catherine Hill graduated first in her class at O’Connell before heading to Carnegie Mellon University (then known as Carnegie Tech) in only the second year that the institution’s chemistry program was open to women.
Once comfortable with knowing she could successfully handle the challenges of life on her own, she applied to the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and entered as a postulant – the first step on the journey to becoming a nun – in September 1967.
Sister Catherine’s years of service in the community include teaching in several parish schools in Philadelphia, then moving to teach high-school chemistry and other subjects. Before coming to O’Connell, she worked as vice principal at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Penn., O’Connell officials said.
In 2005, Sister Catherine returned to her high-school alma mater as a chemistry teacher, taking on the role of dean of academics a few years later.
At O’Connell, Sister Catherine has been instrumental in supporting renovations to the science lab and constantly broadening department offerings, the school noted in a recent online posting.
“Over these last 50 years, God has allowed me to meet many people and live in places I never would have expected,” she said. “Each encounter was a blessing for me, enriching me and deepening my appreciation for my vocation. It is the goodness of those around us that always draws out the best out of each of us and leads us to offer our gifts in service to others.”
Head of School Bill Crittenberger described Sister Catherine as “both a supernova and the twinkle-twinkle in our collective mind’s eye: bright, inspiring and illuminating.”
Founded in 1845, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Order of Mary order of nuns long has been associated with education. Its members have served Bishop O’Connell since 1957.