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           Sister Virginia Instructs and Inspires!

This article is from

Community Connections

a publication of Kfoury Keefe Funeral Home in West Roxbury, MA

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 "If you don't love what you are doing, you aren't going to do a good job," said Sister Virginia Kelleher. If you have ever met with Sister Virginia you know what an accurate description that is of her life's work. Sister Virginia is a shining example of not only dedication, but inspiration. She will renew your faith and have you asking yourself what you can do to make a difference. 

Massachusetts native and teacher, Sister Virginia Kelleher is the Director of St. Theresa's Parish Outreach Program.


As director of St. Theresa's Parish Outreach Program, Sister Virginia has spent the past decade finding out what the aging community needs, and seeing that those needs are met with efficiency and care. As a life-long teacher she instructed her students with a dedication to education and faith. Former student Rich Kfoury said: "When I was a student at St. Theresa School, Sister Virginia was a huge part of the nurturing, loving, caring educational environment that still exists at the school today. It is always nice to run into her, and she always has so many nice things to say about my parents, whom she first met 30 years ago. Today, she takes care of the aging community with the same love and dedication she had for the school and everyone in it."

Sister Virginia was born and raised in Massachusetts. At the age of 17 she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. "I wanted to be a Sister and a teacher from my earliest years," said Sister Virginia. "I had the Sisters of St. Joseph in school at St. Agnes in Arlington, MA and Immaculate Conception in Revere, MA. I thought they were very happy people who loved what they were doing, so when I finished high school, I made plans to enter the convent." Sister Virginia completed her Bachelor's Degree in education in 1957 from Regis College in Weston, MA. She began her teaching career in the 6th grade classroom and continued at the middle school level teaching not only Religion, but also Math, English, Spelling, Social Studies, Science, Music, Art and, at times, French. Her first classroom assignment was at St. Matthew's in Dorchester, MA. She also spent years at St. Mary's in Franklin and St. Joseph's in Lynn. "My life has been a very happy life no matter where I was or what I did." 

One of Sister Virginia's favorite passages is a letter St. Paul wrote that speaks about how we plant and water a seed, but it's God that brings about the growth. "All my life I have pictured myself carrying a watering can. It's a symbol to me of planting and watering the seed, where you don't know what's going to happen, like all my years of teaching. It's all flourishing and you don't know it. But it is God that brings about that growth," she said. 
Sr. Virginia earned her Master's degree in Education from Framingham State College in 1969. Six years later she left the classroom for a school administration position. She was first the principal at St. John's School in Winthrop MA, and from there was the principal at St. Theresa's School in West Roxbury from 1982 to 2002. "I thought I would miss the students when I left the classroom, but then as administrator you have another relationship with them that's very special," said Sr. Virginia. (Although Sister Virginia would have a hard time missing children with her 7 nieces and nephews, and 14 grand nieces and nephews!) 
"Children, stay close to your parents. Hold on to your values," said Sister Virginia when asked to comment on the task students today face balancing their world with the spiritual life. "What happens at home, the relationship between children today and their parents, that closeness is so vitally important. The school has a hand in it, too. Parents have an awesome responsibility."

Since 2003 Sister Virginia has been a Pastoral Associate at St. Theresa's as well as the director of their Parish Outreach Program. After retiring from St. Theresa's in 2002 the prospect of a Parish Outreach Program was presented to Sister Virginia. "I wanted to do something brand new and go with my gut," she said. The program was launched in 2003. "When I first started I thought I would be living the spiritual works of mercy, but now I am actually carrying out the corporal works of mercy. That's how it works, the body and soul together. I've learned a lot doing this work." 



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