With a sister and brother in religious life, Elisabeth Tiernan grew up thinking it was a possibility for her life as well, but she was worried, “I wasn’t the holiest one!” She decided to take the risk and enter the convent. Later as a young Sister, she was interviewed by the Mother General who asked “Are you happy in religious life?” Both women started laughing. It was apparent from Sister’s previous answers and demeanor that she was indeed very happy and she has remained so throughout the years.
A consummate teacher, Sr. Liz taught elementary through high school classes in Notre Dame and parish schools in San Jose, Seattle, Salinas, Santa Barbara and Campbell. But, she admits, it is her years as a religion teacher and religious education consultant that have energized her the most. “I love sharing the good news and nourishing a person’s experiences of God.” To this end she has developed several creative, life-giving programs for schools including “Celebrate the Presence of God,” “The Advent Prayers of Christmas Symbols” and “From Abraham to Jesus in 60 Minutes or Less.”
An unexpected blessing in her life has been her ministry with urban Native Americans including participating in Mass every Sunday at the Chief Seattle Club (a mission for the homeless). When asked to create a program of catechesis for Native Americans, Sr. Liz jumped at the chance. Working with a team of Native American reviewers, the material has developed into a book that uses culturally relevant symbols to explain concepts.
Housemate and friend, Sr. Julie Codd, CSJP, shares about Sr. Liz, “She is very generous with her energy, resources and time, and fearless when it comes to standing up for what’s right and speaking on behalf of others who may not speak for themselves. Liz has touched many of the Indian people with her generous heart and teachings.”
When she celebrated her 50th jubilee a few years ago, she shared that she is happy for the blessing of aging! “As bodies diminish, spirits can be freed. Our spirituality can grow and influence the world in new ways.”