Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Sister Mary Foley Is Women’s History Month Honoree

Demarest, NJ: Sister Mary Foley, SSND, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Academy of the Holy Angels, has been named one of Bergen County’s 2018 Women’s History Month honorees. A reception, hosted by the Commission on the Status of Women and the Junior Commission on the Status of Women, will be held in Hackensack on March 27.

Angela Romanos, an AHA senior who works with the Junior Commission, nominated S. Mary for this distinction. Romanos said S. Mary exemplifies the March 2018 Women’s History Month Theme: “Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination against Women.” Nominations were submitted to Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco III, and the county administration made the final approvals.

“All of us at Holy Angels are very pleased to hear about this honor for Sister Mary Foley,” AHA President Melinda Hanlon stated. “She is a daily reminder to us of the mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame to transform our world through the education of others. Sister Mary and her beloved dog Luke brought their ministry well beyond the AHA community through their counseling and service work with schools, especially in Newtown, Connecticut.”

S. Mary, SSND, MDiv, MSW, LCSW, is a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame – Atlantic Midwest Province. She began her ministry as a physical education teacher and coach in Rochester, New York, and later became a teacher for girls in Liberia, a West African country where very few young women graduate from high school.

After returning from West Africa, S. Mary served as an administrator and teacher in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was also a part time counselor with Catholic Family Services in Saint Louis, Missouri, where her full time ministry was the spiritual formation of women.

She joined the Holy Angels faculty in 2002. Part of her ministry at AHA involves work with Power Back, the school component of Partnership for Change that helps girls become advocates against peer dating abuse.

As a volunteer mental health worker for the American Red Cross, S. Mary has assisted people in New Jersey and Texas. In September 2017, she traveled to Houston to assist residents who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. S. Mary is also part of the Lead Response Team for the Traumatic Loss Coalition in Bergen County and is a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor for the State of New Jersey. For years, she accompanied AHA’s therapy dog, Luke, as he comforted people after traumatic events such as the Sandy Hook school shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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