Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
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sr sheila3-webFrom left, Sister Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71, president of Sacred Heart Academy, with Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., president of St. Anselm College; Anchor and Bob Schieffer, moderator of “Face the Nation” and Richard Meelia, Chairman, President and CEO of Covidien at the 121st commencement exercises of St. Anselm College. (Photo submitted)

HAMDEN – Sister Sheila O’Neill, Ph.D., of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, president of Sacred Heart Academy received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree at St. Anselm College’s 121st commencement exercises May 17 in Manchester, N.H.

Bob Schieffer, anchor and moderator of CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” and Richard J. Meelia, first chairman, president and CEO of Covidien PLC, also received honorary degrees.

Mr. Shieffer, who is marking more than 50 years in broadcast journalism and his 45th year at CBS News, was the commencement speaker.

“Each of these extraordinary leaders impacts the world in meaningful, positive ways,” said Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., president of St. Anselm. “They represent the values and ideals that are at the heart of Saint Anselm’s mission to educate individuals who make and find opportunities to engage in the service of diverse local, national and global fields and communities.”

Sister Sheila is the first president of Sacred Heart Academy, a college preparatory school from which she graduated in 1971. She entered the congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and professed perpetual vows in 1979.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in math from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, a Master of Arts degree in theology from Fordham University in New York and a Master of Arts degree and doctorate in educational leadership from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.

Sister Sheila taught math and religion at Sacred Heart Private School in New York City and Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis before serving as principal of Cor Jesu Academy, for 16 years. Before being named the first president of Sacred Heart Academy in 2010, she served for three years as the head of mission advancement for the United States Province of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.