Where young women become global leaders

A Force for Social Justice

Sacred Heart's emphasis began long ago...
This week’s column celebrates the life and work of Sr. Faine McMullen, who died on December 27, 2015, just a week ago.  In January, our school celebrates social justice and those who have worked to disseminate it in our country and around the world.   When I read her obituary, I thought to myself “What a truly well-spent life, and what an example for all of us to try to follow!”
A New Yorker by birth, Sr. McMullen would have celebrated her 102nd birthday on January 18 of this month.  Before entering the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1944, she received a B.A. in history from the College of Mt. Saint Vincent in 1934. She decided to go to law school at Fordham and in 1937, received her law degree and was admitted to the New York State bar.  She went to receive a master’s degree in history a few years later.
Early in her life as an RSCJ, she taught political science, but in the late 1960’s, she decided that she wanted to spend a year and a half experiencing the life of people in a disenfranchised neighborhood of Boston.  Later, she would recount, “I studied the poor who surrounded me.  I grew to love them, and ever since then, their problems have been mine.” It was in Boston that she created and directed the “Manpower Training Program” for the Boston Department of Health and Hospitals.  After co-founding the Planning Office for Urban Affairs in Boston, she moved to Washington, D.C. and practiced law, again offering free legal services to the poor.
In the 1980’s she moved to Chicago, where she was active in creating “Triangle Park,” a program that converted city property into a park and playground in a poor neighborhood of that city.  She then moved on to New Orleans, where she served a director of the Senior Advocacy Program for lower income senior citizens.  Well into her old age, she continued her work with poor seniors on such issues as transportation and public housing.
It has been stated that Sr. McMullen was always a “firebrand for justice and equality.”  At the age of 92, she moved to Teresian House retirement center in Albany, writing eloquently, “I do not know what is next—nor am I at all concerned.  Life or death, work or rest, it is all in the Lord’s hands.”
With thanks to the Society of the Sacred Heart Office of Communications for their permission to quote from Sr. McMullen’s obituary.

Convent of the Sacred Heart

An independent, Catholic school for girls K-12​,​ with ​coed ​Barat Center for Early Childhood Education
1177 King Street
Greenwich, CT 06831
Telephone 203.531.6500