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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nancy Morris, RSCJ Honored with Alemany Award

Nancy Morris, RSCJ

Every year, in memory of Arcbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, OP, the first archbishop of San Francisco, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology honors men and women who have distinguished themselves by exemplary service to the church and community. This year the Alemany Award was presented to five religious whose work has exemplified the service to the church for which their congregations were founded.  One of those honored at the Alemany Award Dinner on April 6th was our very own Sr. Nancy Morris, RSCJ.   

Born and raised in Piedmont, California, Sister Nancy Morris was the middle child of seven children of John Morris and Thelma Toomey Morris. Attending local public schools, she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in June, 1949 with a BA in English

A trip to post-war Europe deeply impacted her faith and, after a year teaching in a local high school, she entered the noviceship of the Religious of the Sacred Heart in Albany, New York. After her first vows, she returned to California to teach at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco and thence to the boarding school in Menlo Park (now Atherton). She taught sophomores for three years before going to Rome to prepare for her final vows, made on July 29th, 1959.

Returning to Menlo Park, she continued to teach and was made Principal of the Convent School. Introduced to school administration on the Community's well-worn principle of "learning by doing", she prepared second-graders for 1st Communion and taught the seniors Religion. Suddenly, when she was getting the hang of the job, she was made President of the San Diego College for Women, and worked to merge the Women's College with the Men's College to become the one University of San Diego in 1971. She was then sent back to Menlo Park to become Director of Schools.

In 1998 Sister Morris was given a sabbatical and lived directly opposite St. Mary Magdalen Church in Berkeley. Dealing with the Loma Prieto earthquake and the Berkeley fire at that time were memorable experiences.

Sr. Morris moved to San Jose to work with the poor and homeless. She raised funds and wrote the monthly newsletter for the San Jose Family Shelter, witnessing first-hand the desperation so many new immigrants and impoverished families experience in our culture. She learned how to write foundation grants, a skill that held her in good stead as her Superiors asked her to travel the country, to help poverty-based ministries write proposals.

She went on to become the Development Director at an inner city Catholic school for girls in Chicago founded by the Sisters of Christian Charity. She returned to the Bay Area in 1997 and worked for a time at her old school in Menlo-Atherton. In the mornings, she worked at St. Raymond Elementary School while writing grants and the newsletter for Oakwood the Society's Infirmary on the campus of Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton. She continues to hold these two jobs today, enjoying being with young children once again. She is more involved with her parish, St. Raymond's and serves as co-chaplain to the Serra Club.

Congratulations to Nancy Morris, RSCJ!  

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