Sue Schaad, SNJM
I was born to Ed and Lorraine Schaad in Santa Monica, CA on August 25, 1943. Four of my brothers, Mike, Steve, Gary and Randy, and I grew up in Santa Monica. We all attended St. Monica Elementary School and were taught by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. I also attended St. Monica High School and was also taught by the Sisters of the Holy Names. The Sisters had a profound effect on me. I had never encountered women like them. They were caring, wonderful teachers, spiritual and fun. I received a strong spiritual foundation and a good educational foundation from them as well as their guidance and help in my personal growth and leadership development. In August of 1961, just after graduation, I entered the Sisters of the Holy Names at Los Gatos, California. I earned my B.A. in Psychology at Holy Names College in Oakland and my Masters in Administration of Not-for-Profit Institutions at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
I taught second grade in Sacramento for one year and fourth grade, sixth grade and seventh grade math in Los Angeles for seven years. When I realized I was not going to be allowed to teach fourth grade for the rest of my life, I changed directions. I served as Plant Services Manager at Holy Names College in Oakland, Plant Manager at Holy Names High School in Oakland and then I returned to Southern California. I was Financial Officer and a member of the High School Administration Team at my own High School, St. Monica for 10 years. In 1983, I accepted a position with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the Director of Serra Projects’ first residence for people living with AIDS. They had just purchased a house that could care for five men. I hired CNAs, for each shift, set up policies and procedures and began to interview and accept residents. Our goal was to accept men whose disease was not too gravely serious at the time and then care for them and create a pleasant living experience for them until they needed more care and they would eventually die at “their home” with us. I loved this ministry, but it did take an emotional toll.
When I decided it was time to move on, I moved to San Francisco to look for something where I could be of service but would be doing a little less intense ministry for a little while. I ended up at St. Mary’s Chinese Center and School. Many of the children, who started first grade not speaking English, graduated from eighth grade top in the S.F. Archdiocese. But doing their bookkeeping only took me three or so hours a day, so I eventually also did the bookkeeping for the Paulist Bookstore a couple blocks away and Old St. Mary’s Parish around the corner from the bookstore. It was fun going from place to place during the day and I ended each day as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Mary’s Hospital. After only a few years, my mother’s dementia became too serious for her to work. I asked to go down to Southern California again and took care of her for five years until she died. While I was caring for my mother, I worked for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange as Director of their Mother House Complex in Orange.
After 14 years working for the Sisters in Orange, I packed up all my things and drove to Portland with my cats to take in some of Oregon’s beauty and the incredible hospitality and warmth our SNJMs in the north and to get some rest and find out what health problem had caused me to leave Orange. It turned out to be dementia and so I decided to retire here with our Sisters, as all my new doctors were here and Portland is so incredibly beautiful.
I feel so blessed to be a Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. The Community has made it possible for me to live a life that has been fulfilling and grace-filled. My ministries enabled me to work with and serve children and adults in ways I could never have imagined. I have tried during my life to make these words of St. Francis of Assisi my goal and guide, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”