Farewell, Sister Sheila

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The Indianapolis Lady Hibernians hosted a farewell gathering for Sister Sheila Hackett on June 6. Among the guests were some Scecina alumni: Rita (Dichmann) Edson ’67 (left), Mary Ann (Kelly) Klein ’64, Sister Sheila, Trish (Kelly) Condon ’66, and Margi (Carr) Logan ’60

When Scecina counts its blessings, Sister Sheila is always included. We have been blessed with her presence since 2005.

After 15 years of serving as the librarian at Scecina, Sister has decided to pack up her apartment at St. Francis Hall and return this summer to her convent of the Dominican Sisters of Houston (Texas).

The first thing she plans to do, she said, is … nothing.

“When I get there, I want to do nothing for three weeks to a month, except settle in, enjoy my surroundings,” she said. “After that, the No. 1 thing I want to do is have a story time for the little tots at the preschool (Assumption Catholic School in Houston).”

Sister Sheila, 85, was born and raised in South Tipperary, Ireland, and grew up bilingual speaking both Irish and English. She warmly recalls her family and the home filled with books.

“We had fireplaces with shelves stacked with books from the ceiling to the floor,” said Sister, who also was a moderator for Scecina’s Book Club.

She wanted to join a religious order of education, so she left Ireland for the first time for Houston, Texas, USA, to become a member of the Dominican Sisters, where she has served as archivist, researcher, and writer.

She earned a master of arts from Loyola University in Los Angeles, and a master of science, University of North Texas. She has served in various aspects of education in Texas, California, and Indiana at Scecina and Bishop Chatard Catholic High School.

As Scecina’s librarian, she spent hours perusing journals to choose books to order for the library.

“I encouraged the kids to tell me what they want to purchase,” she said. “Not as many as I would have liked made suggestions, but they are readers.”

She also was able to give input into and witness the renovation of Scecina’s library, which was completed in 2017.

“The minute it came up, I was all for it,” she said of the renovation project. “We needed a more physically accessible space and different spaces.”

Scecina has honored Sister Sheila with the Father Tom Award and the Super Booster Award. She was a regular at Crusaders basketball games, her favorite sport.

“So, I’ll forever be in the history books at Scecina,” she said, laughing. “I’m just enjoying life. I’m not thinking about awards. I’m very selfish and I’m thinking about being happy all the time.”

She adds: “I would just like to say thank you to all of Scecina. It’s been a real highlight to me.”

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

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