Tea In The Gardens

Sisters and Students Reunite To Celebrate Lifelong Bonds Over Tea

Holy Child Sisters and Alums Gather for Tea in the Gardens on May 23

Rosemont, Pa. — On Sunday, May 23 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., alums of Holy Child Schools will gather with the Sisters of the Holy Child, some of whom taught them, for tea in the gardens at New Sharon, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, Pa. Though it has been decades since they were students and teachers, the bonds the alums have with the Sisters have remained strong—through marriages, births, and even losses. And the tea will be a chance to visit and reminisce.

“To me, the Sisters of the Holy Child are home and family,” says Sally Mercier Sullivan, a 1957 graduate of the former Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, Pa. In particular, Sullivan, now a retired nurse living in Delaware County, is looking forward to seeing Mother Mary Henry, who was the principal at the school when Sullivan was a student, at the tea. “Mother Mary Henry was tall, slender, and bright, and we were petrified of her! She took her responsibility to make women of us seriously and she expected the best of us. Thinking back on it, it was a wonderful expectation.”

Mother Mary Henry, SHCJ, who will be 100 this September, admits that she was rather “severe,” but that it came from a place of love. “I really feel the Lord meant it to be. The girls turned out to be wonderful wives, mothers, and Catholic women and that is what we were aiming for. God put me there to help these girls and He helped me to do that.”

Today, Sullivan, like so many of her classmates, is no longer petrified of Mother Mary Henry, and in fact, refers to her as a dear, lifelong friend. Sullivan remembers the moment her fear changed to admiration. Many years ago, Sullivan’s sister purchased some baby clothes that Mother Mary Henry had made. Mother Mary Henry donated any money that she made from the sale of her handmade items to the missions the Society had overseas. During that time, Sullivan also learned that Mother Mary Henry was collecting the tabs off of soda cans to donate to the Ronald McDonald House, which uses them to raise money. “All of a sudden she was no longer the principal who petrified me, but rather an interesting woman who had retired and wasn’t teaching anymore, but was still doing wonderful deeds and work. I grew to admire her,” says Sullivan.

To this day, Mother Mary Henry continues to collect the tabs off soda cans. She also continues to be an inspiration to her former students, noting that the best thing she can do for them is to pray for them and their intentions. “I pray for them everyday,” she says. Many of her students continue to come visit with her and quite often ask for her prayers.

Tea in the Gardens
A tea seemed an appropriate event for the Sisters and alums, many of whom live throughout Delaware and Montgomery Counties today, to reconnect. “My mother and I used to say, ‘Oh those Holy Child Sisters love to have a good time!’ The Sisters have always been very social—teas, card parties, fashion shows,” says Sullivan, who is looking forward to ‘going home’ again. “Even though the building that housed my school no longer exists, going to the New Sharon campus where the tea is being held puts me back into my reveries as a girl!”

On the Society’s Facebook fanpage, there has been much nostalgia shared in anticipation of the tea. Alums have been remembering their school songs and mascots!

Also during the tea, seventh and eighth grade students from the Rosemont School of the Holy Child in Rosemont, Pa. will be performing a medley of songs. Many of the alums are likely to have memories of their days in Glee Club!

Alums from all of the Holy Child Schools, as well as all of the diocesan and parochial schools where the Sisters of the Holy Child taught are invited to the tea.