“The Dominican Sisters of Sparkill have always been part of my family,” smiles Mary Ann Biller Fischetti as she thinks back to her childhood. This well-loved, only child of German immigrant parents, found family and lifelong friends within the warm community that the Sisters created at Saint Helena’s School in the Bronx. From the time she enrolled at six, and throughout her years as Sister Catherine Siena and tenures as president of Saint Thomas Aquinas College, dean of Empire College, and finally as vice president at Cabrini College in Pennsylvania, Mary Ann found inspiration, support, and guidance from the Sisters, who have continued to welcome her with warmth and friendship.
The Sisters gave Mary Ann and thousands of others a foundation of values, faith, and a strong work ethic. They sought, and still seek, to serve those who suffer from entrenched poverty, neglect, illness, and discrimination, both in the U.S. and internationally. Today, she remains in awe of the selfless devotion that the Sisters continually demonstrate. “They serve others with little thought for their own well-being or future. That is why I have included them in my Will as part of my estate plans. Over the years, they have inspired me as living examples of Christ’s teachings. Today, I try to assist them and their work with ongoing support, and in the future, my estate will include these wonderful women who unselfishly spend their lives serving others.”
“I wish I could send out a clarion call to all those whose lives have also been touched by the kindness, warmth, understanding, courage, and self-sacrifice of these ‘ordinary women doing extra-ordinary things.’ I am continually inspired by their simplicity of lifestyle and deep commitment to service that made them willing to staff countless Catholic institutions, despite receiving only tiny stipends on which to live. Their generosity and selflessness supported—and, in most cases, literally made possible—so many schools and ministerial works that have benefited so many of our lives in countless ways. They spend their lives thinking of others. Now let us think of them.”