Meet Sister Aileen (Aileen Marie) Bermingham

While a junior at Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, Aileen Marie Bermingham and a good friend volunteered at a day care center run by the Holy Family Sisters. “I’m not sure how much we helped. I think we did it for the peanut butter sandwiches,” she laughs.  But later her friend decided to join the Holy Family Sisters and Aileen realized she felt drawn to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Two months after high school graduation, Aileen moved into the SNDdeN novitiate in Saratoga. As the oldest of six children from a large and loving family, she remembered being homesick and also appreciating the down-to-earth novice director.


As a young, brand new teacher in 1952, she fell in love with her fifth-grade class at Moreland Notre Dame School in Watsonville. “They were wonderful children. I still remember all their names.”  Later she would enjoy teaching middle and high school grades in St. Mark’s Parish School in Seattle, Notre Dame School in Chico and Notre Dame High Schools in San Francisco and San Jose.

Aileen Bermingham (left) with Anne Harvey, SNDdeN at a 1978 meeting in Belmont, CA.

Over time she attended the then-College of Notre Dame and the University of San Francisco, earning a master’s degree in English.

In 1974, a phone call from Rome caused the biggest surprise of her career. She had been chosen as the Provincial Superior for the then-California Province. In this role she said, “I was able to see the Sisters’ goodness first hand.”

One of her most fulfilling ministries was working with the elderly. For 10 years she worked at the John XXIII Center in San Jose (part of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County) which provided meals, counseling and outreach to senior citizens in the local community who needed a helping hand.

Sr. Aileen (second from right) at Sacred Heart Nativity School with Sisters Natalia Carrasco and Yvonne Bondi, who also served there.

Today Sr. Aileen has a busy life at the Sisters’ Province Center in Belmont. She frequently accompanies other retired Sisters to medical appointments and emergency hospital visits. And as a former English teacher, she is also called upon to help keep our communications grammar perfect!

Ministries

Educator

Mother of Sorrows School, Los Angeles, CA
Notre Dame Elementary School, Chico, CA
St. Mark Elementary School, Shoreline, WA
Mora High School, Watsonville, CA
Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, CA
Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA
Sacred Heart Nativity School, San Jose, CA (Volunteer)

Provincial Services

Provincial Superior, Saratoga, CA
Pastoral Coordinator, Villa Notre Dame, Saratoga, CA
Development, Saratoga, CA
Province Center, Belmont, CA

OTHER

John XXIII Center, San Jose, CA

To make a gift to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in honor of Sr. Aileen, please click here.

Sr. Aileen Bermingham with some of her family in 2009.

Comments

  1. SR Aileen was one of several amazing SND’s who have been great influencers in my life. So many of the professional and personal accomplishments on my life journey are a result of the love, nurturing spirit, discipline, intellect and humor of the strong women called SND’s! Aileen has the most heartwarming and memorable laughs of anyone I know. I can still hear her–and it has been several years since I was physically in her company! Her gift of laughter is positively infectious.

    Dear Aileen, please know how much I appreciate you and the life long impact you made on an impressionable and gawky 15 year-old so many years ago at NDSF. YOU are a gift to so many.

    JoAnn (Callas) Shaw

    1. JoAnn, I’m sure that Sr. Aileen will be very pleased to hear from you. What lovely thoughts you’ve shared! We’ll make sure she sees your message ASAP.

      Rachael
      for the Sisters

  2. Dear Sister Aileen Marie,
    How wonderful to find you well and as beautiful as ever.
    I was in your eighth-grade class at Notre Dame in Chico in 1959/60. I remember your gentle grace, your confidence as a young teacher and your poise as a nun who I admired greatly.
    We were a small class of 30 or so but we had major impact in assorted leadership positions at our large public high school, Chico High. You prepared us academically, socially and spiritually to prosper in school and life. Thank you so much!
    Many congratulations as you celebrate your 70th Jubilee!
    Love and gratitude, Joan Reed Pailhe

  3. GRATITUDE: Sister Theresa Ann on behalf of the Padilla Family in Watsonville we just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing with us your LOVE in GOD AND EDUCATION. Thank you for trusting in us and for letting us be part of MORELAN NOTRE DAME FAMILY. Forever we will be grateful.
    “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow” May God Continue to BLESS YOU!!!

  4. I had the privilege of having Sister Aileen enter my life three times! I was one of those 5th graders that she remembers from her first year of teaching at Moreland Notre Dame. Then she took us on again as teenagers at Mora High School and she was a favorite of all. And, finally, I was her co-worker at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and witnessed first hand her loving, caring ways with the elderly. What a gem she is in so many ways and I will always feel fortunate to have had her in my life. Congratulations, Sister Aileen! You are one special lady indeed!

    Susan (Sambrailo) Alberto

  5. My Dear Cute Funny Sister Eileen. School is crazy and you know all this. I thought I would check with my buddy Pat and connect with you and Shirlie Boden and the four of us would go to lunch in Belmont. I’ll arrange ahead of time. Pick up “Pigs” and you and we will go to lunch. This will be in July when I’m normal. Congratulations Love you
    Speed
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