A college professor and Jesuit theologian remembers Sister Thaddeus, his fourth grade teacher at his parochial school in suburban Philadelphia in the early 1960s. At the many parish social events and festivals throughout the year, Sister Thaddeus would circulate among the families with a warm greeting for each person. When our family showed up for these festivities, we often brought our sister Nancy, who had Down Syndrome.
Sister Thaddeus would always go out of her way to give a small gift in Nancy. We quickly acquired the “Sister Thaddeus Collection” including a Saint Bernadette Medal, Holy Cards of Our Lady, a plastic rosary bracelet. After decades of teaching, it dawned on me that Sister had long ago made her own preferential option for the poor. Whereas many teachers play for the stars, Sister Thaddeus cared for the vulnerable. Her compass was compassion. The Gospel made her tick.