Through the life stories of Catholic sisters or nuns, they taught, inspired, and influenced the lives of so many children. I think of Sister Concetta and the other nuns at St. Francis Xavier Church in Newark, New Jersey, and during this month as we celebrate women, I thank you!

Dear Sister Concetta,

Janice Zarro as a young girl, smiling in a white dress and veil holding a prayer book and rosary beads

In your black habit and long dress, you terrified and inspired me. You taught me how to pray, obey, be good, and always aim to be holy. Respect for authority started with you and all the other nuns. You instilled those core values of self-discipline, the importance of listening, and the importance of being silent.

Thanks for those endless catechetical instructions making me memorize those rote prayers like the Our Father, Hail Mary, and so on. They sustained me through a multitude of crises in my youth and adolescence. It wasn’t until I became an adult did I learn to talk to God and put those rote prayers aside. But Sister Concetta, you and the other sisters gave me what I needed to survive.

Thank you,