I am indebted to Maryhurst for what Maryhurst did for my Mother, Annie George Thomas. My Mother was removed from a very dysfunctional home and placed in Maryhurst in 1945. She came to Maryhurst an angry, unhappy young girl full of bitterness. However, she left Maryhurst in 1947 a much different person. The tremendous love, guidance, understanding and protection provided by Maryhurst and the Good Shepherd Nuns helped shape her life in a way she never thought possible.
I would like to share a couple of stories to illustrate my point. One Sunday Morning, Mother Consalida came to my Mother and told her that her father was coming to visit that afternoon. My Mother did not want to meet with her father because surely a fight would break out. However, Mother Consalida told Mom that she was to be in the parlor that afternoon. So, my Mother met with her father and sure enough, my Grandfather started yelling at her. Out of nowhere, Mother Consalida appeared. She looked at my Grandfather and said, “Sir, we do not speak to our girls that way.” She looked at my Mother and said, “Anna, you are excused.” That was the kind of protection Maryhurst gave my Mother.
On another occasion, all of the girls including my Mother were outside in the courtyard. A Nun approached one of the girls, at which time the girl looked at the Nun and said, “Ah SHUT UP!” My Mother tackled this girl pulling her hair because she had disrespected the Nun. Even though my Mother was defending the Nun, the sisters did not condone fighting, so Mom had to be punished. So on movie night, she sat in the projection room with her back to the movie screen, along with the Nun who was running the projector. However, the Nun placed a mirror next to the projector so that Mom could view the movie from the mirror. That was the kind of love Maryhurst gave my Mother.
One year after leaving Maryhurst, my Mother met the love of her life, my Father. They had almost 50 wonderful years together and raised 4 children in the process. But my Mother never forgot Maryhurst. Four or five times a year, Mom and Dad would load us kids in the car and we would drive to Maryhurst on Bank Street to visit with Mother Loretta, Mother Divine King, Mother Consalida and Mother Rose. And when these Nuns passed away, my Mother attended their funerals. I cannot count the many times my Mother told me that Maryhurst saved her.
So in closing, I want to say, God Bless Maryhurst, God Bless the current staff of men and women who continue to make a difference in the lives of young girls, and God Bless Mother Loretta, Mother Divine King, Mother Consalida, Mother Rose and all of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd who not only saved my Mother, but saved the lives of many girls who walked through their doors.