Leader for the Twenty-First Century
Edited/ typed by CMM Evelyn Fugazzi SCN
Susan grew up in Louisville in a large extended family that lived along the same country road. She shares, “I am the eldest of four children and the only girl. Happy memories include building tree houses—elaborate two-floor structures, nights playing hide and seek, cookouts, and other exciting activities.”
Her ministry experiences have included teaching, pastoral associate work, Southern Province Leadership, Director of Office of Congregational Advancement, and now Provincial of the SCN Western Province. According to Susan, each of her missions provided a significant ingredient for her personal, professional, and spiritual growth. A special memory remains with her of time spent in Willacy County, Raymondville, Texas. The termite riddled convent was on its last leg; in fact one of the living areas was fondly titled, “Shaky Towers.” The heat and humidity were constant until the northerly winds brought an immediate drop to a minus-thirty degree temperature. Often after the heavy rains, planks had to be used to provide makeshift connections over the water-ridden, below sea-level complex. The SCNs and their Hispanic neighbors lived in this setting. The level of presence, spirituality, simplicity, gratitude to God, and humor while living in poverty and labored under the poorest possible conditions for the lowest wages (thirty-five cents for picking a bushel of broccoli), taught her lessons for a lifetime. The empowerment provided by their example urged Susan ahead on the roughest day.
What excites Susan about her current ministry of leadership is the opportunity to be intimately involved in the many aspects of the life of the community! Being with Sisters and Associates, visiting their ministries, sharing in discernment, supporting them in their struggles and rejoicing with them is very life-giving for her. Susan feels privileged to be, for these years, a representative of the community at regional and national meetings. She describes the gatherings as “enriching, giving ideas and inspiration for the challenges faced in religious life.” Starting SCN, Inc. brought Susan great hope as Sisters submitted names for directors who have given generously of their busy lives to help carry out the SCN mission. In the new governmental structure, NLBI & Executive Committees have taken on increasing international dimensions. Susan enjoys being with others from East and West as the questions and answers needed for our future are uncovered.
Susan credits others for making her ministry rewarding by saying, “The support of Province Team Members SCNs Eleanor Martin and Theresa Knabel; the generosity of the boards members and Sisters and Associates who have served on committees and, in a thousand ways, have built up the Province; also talented and dedicated directors and staff with whom we collaborate lighten the ministry of leadership. As I stand among those I serve in the Western Province, I recognize that our wonderful Western Province SCNs and Associates of all ages are the backbone of this journey. These are challenging days from many arenas. What gives me hope is our faith-filled spirit to face those challenges together. I am convinced that we will make it.”
Susan describes the talent for dancing as a gift of God! She says, “The pulsing rhythm of most types of music can set my feet and heart to respond in dance. The liturgical dance is a special delight! During this experience I become one with the soul of the composer, transforming his/her message into a new form, a new language. It is an experience of spirit-rejoicing, of intimacy in worship.”
Susan appreciates the beauty of nature (“care of the earth” is a passion). She enjoys poetry, time for solitude, reading, walking, and gathering kale, lettuce, and other tasty produce from her garden.”