I have a friend whose parents were born and raised in an impoverished ward of Jersey City. When they learned that I attended Caldwell University, they laughed and shared with me their stories of attending Catholic school there. (The Sisters of St. Dominic founded many primary and secondary Catholic schools in Essex, Hudson and Union counties.)
They met each other through church activities, and her father used to come up to the college campus for summer camps run by the Sisters of St. Dominic. They asked me questions about several of the Sisters, some I had met, some I had not. Those Sisters I met were nothing like the stereotypical close-minded disciplinarians of pop culture. They had not a negative word to say about the women religious.
In every meeting I have with Sister Alice, I come to understand the deep appreciation people within the Catholic community have for the Sisters who served them well.
Sister Alice works in the parish now and spent more years working in administration than education. She is well-suited to her vocation. She is dedicated to the programs she runs at St. Aloysius, and I feel most people underestimate how significant those programs are.
With the struggle for funding in public schools and for public programs for adults, faith-based communities step in and fulfill a need, as they have always done throughout their long history.
I coordinate volunteers at my internship, and the struggle to pull people out of their everyday, busy lives to serve people in need is incredibly difficult. What Sister Alice does at the parish has a real effect on people who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks of society. The dedication with which the Sisters of St. Dominic serve is admirable, especially in this day and age.