Blessed and Enriched!
CMM Contact: Sharen Baldy, SCN
I was the firstborn of Charles and Agnes Wiley of Newport News, Virginia on May 21, 1931– a bit premature, but healthy. God’s special gift to our family, my sister Shirley, arrived four years later. Due to a very difficult pregnancy and birthing complications, Shirley was mentally challenged.
My school years were very happy. In the seventh grade my teacher, Sister Cyrilla Parr, SCN. inspired me by her example and great sense of humor to start thinking about becoming an SCN. With the encouragement of Sister Thomas Mary, I decided in my senior year of high school to become an SCN. I entered the Novitiate in September 1948 and made first vows on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951. Most of my Community life has been spent in Maryland and Virginia. I enjoyed 44 years of teaching, mainly primary grades. It was so rewarding and fulfilling to teach reading (my expertise) and open up a whole new world for many youngsters. My ministry of teaching continued until I could no longer do so due to health problems.
In addition to teaching I have had another very important calling. Upon the death of my mother in 1975 (my father having died some nine years earlier), I moved into the family home in Newport News, Va. and became the primary caregiver of my sister Shirley. Two years later I was joined by Sister Rose Marie Dobyns who became a good friend and a wonderful support in this additional ministry.
Together we cared for Shirley 28-1/2 years until her death in July, 2003. We could leave her during the day while we taught school and she contributed much toward household chores until the last few years of her life. Shirley crocheted many beautiful afghans which she/we donated to help the poor and to nursing homes (including Nazareth Home). We enriched Shirley’s life and in many ways she enriched ours. Besides her own private prayers, Shirley prayed with us daily. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to care for and love one of God’s very special children. I have had so many different and enriching experiences because of Shirley being such a special part of my life.
My faith, prayer life, my many friends, the support of my good friend, Sister Rose Marie, and a wonderful sense of humor, which we both share, have kept me going through these many years. I try to live each day as joyfully as possible and look at all the good things I have or the good things that happen rather than the unpleasant or difficult things.