Teresa Ann Leahy’s love of the poor goes back to the kitchen table conversations she heard as a child. Her parents admired Dorothy Day’s work and talked frequently about religion and social justice issues. As she grew older, they encouraged her to read Thomas Merton’s first books and the newly collected letters of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. It was through her parents that she began to find her spirituality in Therese’s contemplative spirituality. And her concern for the poor persists to this day.
As a high school student, Teresa loved singing in the school choir and going with the group to entertain in convalescent hospitals and for various organizations. “When we went to sing at the novitiate in Saratoga I experienced something new,” she said. “God told me I belonged there.” She entered the novitiate after graduating from Notre Dame High School in San Jose and, in what felt like no time at all, found herself teaching sixth grade at Notre Dame Elementary in San Francisco.
Sister Teresa Ann taught in Notre Dame elementary schools in California and Oregon for nearly 50 years, but her most treasured years were those as principal. She had never forgotten how hard she and her parents had to work so she could stay in Catholic school. As principal, she could help students from low-income families get a good Catholic education.
Sister also appreciated the opportunities she had to work with parents, pastors, superintendents, and, most especially, good teachers. “Together as a family,” she says, we created warm, caring places for children.” She is most grateful to God for each and everyone she was privileged to be with throughout each of her years in ministry.
Sister’s ministry for the past 40 years has been at Moreland Notre Dame School in Watsonville. She served as principal for over 20 years, then “retired” to teach part time. Sister Teresa Ann now volunteers in countless, greatly appreciated ways. Most of all, she continues to help make Moreland the caring and family-friendly school that children, parents and teachers love.
Sr. Teresa serves as a volunteer in parish ministry at St. Patrick’s Church and participates in prayer groups. She also enjoys singing, being with her family, enjoying God’s beauty, and spending time with her dachshund, Ruby. (Sister loves dogs, and has had many pets over the years!)
Within her family, Sr. Teresa Ann is considered a fun-loving matriarch, and a source of wise counsel and support. According to her sister-in-law Elizabeth Leahy, Sister loves her nieces, nephews, and their children as if they were her own and is very much loved in return. Described as “a real outdoors-woman and trooper,” Sr. Teresa Ann enjoyed joining her family on camping trips.
One of Sr. Teresa Ann’s favorite quotes is by Fr. Ralph Simon: “To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances. To seek Him is the greatest of all adventures. To find Him is the greatest of all achievements.” Sr. Teresa Ann loves to experience God’s loving presence through Mass, prayer, her friends and family.
Notre Dame Elementary, San Francisco, CA
St. Columbkille School, Los Angeles, CA
Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Belmont, CA
St. Stephen School, Portland, OR
Holy Angels Elementary, Yuba City, CA
St. Joseph Elementary, San Jose, CA
St. Philip Neri Elementary, Alameda, CA (Principal, Superior)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Redwood City, CA (Principal, Superior)
Moreland Notre Dame School,Watsonville, CA (Principal, Superior)