Mary Burke, SNJM
God’s generous abundance continues to bless me in every season of my life!
My parents, James and Marie, had Mike, me, Tim, Patty and Jane within ten years. Dad was a laundryman and mom worked incredibly hard at home caring for the five children. My schooling began at St. Stephen’s, then St. Mary’s Academy in Portland. When I entered the convent in July, 1960 I started my training as an elementary school teacher at Marylhurst College. This marked the beginning of a lifetime of ministry in Catholic schools.
For eleven years I taught sixth, seventh and eighth graders – such insightful and happy years! Then I served as principal, beginning at Sacred Heart Mid High and Sacred Heart Academy, Salem. Much as I liked administration (most of the time) I recognized that I needed to know more about boards, marketing and revenue development - a quest that led to a year of internships in Hartford, Chicago, Omaha, and Arlington, VA. This information guided me when I served as principal at St. Mary’s Academy from 1983-88.
I was recruited to work at the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, D.C. as the resource person for the Catholic identity and financial advancement of 1200 Catholic high schools. I learned from everyone I met during those six years. Talk about abundance!
For the next four years I moved to Toledo, Ohio to work for the diocesan schools’ office conducting endowment campaigns in elementary schools.
1999 marked THE year of abundance - a sabbatical year with the use of the community’s RV. I traveled 16,000 miles spending eight incredible months in national parks. Truly, the most wonderful year of my life because the natural beauty and the outdoor activities I love filled every day.
Since 2000 as an independent consultant for strategic planning and capital campaigns, I have guided individual Catholic schools.
With a heart full of gratitude to God, my religious community and to the many people whose lives I’ve shared, I say “Thank you.”