My Wonderful Journey!
By: Sr. Evelyn Fugazzi SCN
The Foeckler Family lived in the residential area not far from the Franciscan Monastery and Catholic University. Francis Henry, Electrical Engineer, worked at the Navy Yards, DC; his wife, Elizabeth Moriarty Foeckler, was homemaker for her husband and six children, Francis Jr., Eugene, Mary Teresa, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Patricia, and their lucky dog, Prince. Growing up with her older brothers gave Mary Teresa a great love for sports involvement; she especially enjoyed basketball. In fact, her decisions regarding school choices were based on the prominence of their basketball and other sports programs. She met Sr. Marie Walter at Sacred Heart Academy during her junior and senior years and it was this sister who first spoke to Mary regarding a religious vocation. Also she was blessed to have Rev. Paul Repetti, Sacred Heart Parish, as her confessor and spiritual director for eight years. Mary graduated from Immaculata Junior College and Catholic University. After graduation, Mary worked at the Interior Department of the US Government as stenographer and translator.
Mary had learned about the possibility of becoming a Camp Maria Counselor in her Sophomore Year and, from then on, found herself enjoying camp-life every summer. The SCN Sisters impressed her with their prayer life, joy of spirit, and close-knit hospitality. She felt right at home with them and it wasn’t long before Mary recognized that the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth would be her order of choice. This idea was confirmed when she and her friends spent a week at Nazareth. She was thrilled as she experienced the beautiful chapel and choir, the novices in their royal blue habits and white caps, the farm with its cows and chickens, the gardens, and a visit with Mother Bertrand. Mary was 23 years old when, in September, 1953, she entered the novitiate. She was assigned to work in the laundry. As she encountered the sheet presser, (a huge, forbidding looking, roller machine), carefully folded and separated clothes for 500 sisters and students, and engaged in other laundry responsibilities, she laughed and said to herself, “The US Interior Department should see me now!” In March, 1954, Mary received the name, Sr. Paul Francis SCN, made first vows March 25, 1956, and shortly after set out for her first mission experience as high school teacher at Sacred Heart Academy, Helena, Arkansas.
For the next 24 years Mary was involved in Education Ministry as Principal or Teacher; she also had the responsibility as Superior at St. Cecilia Convent, Louisville and Holy Name Convent, Henderson, KY. She was content and loved working with students and teachers and would always be sure to foster school sports’ activities in every way possible.
When Dorothy MacDougall became the congregation’s President, and requested that Mary be her Secretary General, Mary’s heart turned over but she accepted. In 1971, Mary moved into Pastoral Ministry; the highlight of this period was her employment at Flaget Memorial Hospital as Parish Minister and later Outreach Coordinator. This job involved interacting with other agencies in the Nelson County area who reached out to the underserved population which continually expanded during her time there. Not only at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays but every day many families were coming for help with food, rent, clothing, school supplies, etc. It could be said that it was a 24 hour job because Mary was contacted not only at her office but often at home. This direct involvement touched her heart. Not only was Flaget Administration involved in supporting this endeavor but hospital employees were also active in participating in Mary’s projects. Mary became known as the Mother Teresa of Nelson County. Even after her retirement this ministry continued. Mary holds fond memories of her faithful and loving living companion, Teresa Giardino, who assisted her in so many ways.
In 2008, Mary moved to Carrico Hall; this was an adjustment from living in other facilities on the campus. But Mary continues to be very happy, enjoys her living companions, and appreciates the great number of spiritual opportunities available.
Mary views involvement in the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth these many years as a dedicated privilege and joy! She concludes, “I have been honored to care for the poor, to supply their needs, to provide spiritual and intellectual growth for my students. I am thankful for my own personal, spiritual, and psychological growth. I have bonded with so many of my sisters. I am totally grateful to God for “everything”; God has taken good care of me in every way!”