Meet Terry Mullen, SNJM

“I found my way to the SNJM community by virtue of the prayerful, dedicated, and funny women religious, who taught me and prepared me to find my place in the world. When I look back on my life, I realize how blessed I was to find myself in the hands of these women who provided me with an excellent education—and were definite influences on my dawning vocation.”

I was aware of women religious as a young person. I attended Catholic grade school in San Francisco with the Mercy Sisters, and later I would go to St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland with the Dominican Sisters of San Jose. These women were a definite inspiration for my dawning vocation. They were prayerful, funny and dedicated.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita taught at our parish school. They were the most influential women for me during my high school years. Eventually I would leave California for Kansas at the age of 18 to enter that order. I left that community after seven years and would return often to visit good friends.

“The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary spoke to my heart because of their focus on charism. They helped me understand that I can help others find themselves through education in the arts.”

In 1967 I enrolled at Fort Wright College to get an advanced degree in art. There I met the Sisters of the Holy Names for the first time. I worked at Holy Names Academy for two years. The Spokane high school’s faculty Sisters lived on the second floor. What great fortune. I was not a bit interested in entering another religious community, but through many wonderful friendships with these women I quickly began to think again. After graduating from Fort Wright I made the decision to enter the SNJM community and have never looked back.

For the last 26 years I have taught at Heritage University in Toppenish, WA. I know our SNJM idea of contributing to the full development of persons, sounds like a lofty notion. But, that’s exactly what my role gives me an opportunity to do. That’s probably because the University was founded by Kathleen Ross, SNJM. At Heritage University, students expect and receive caring concern about their education and their lives. I’m grateful to reflect back over the years and have a sense of making finishing college a possibility for students.