Alumna and husband honored for preserving Franco-American heritage ... c’est si bon!

Claire LaFrance Auger ’64 and husband Gilles Edouard Auger were inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame in March during the Maine Legislature’s Franco-American Day. The event features a special menu in the State House cafeteria, musical presentations celebrating Maine’s French heritage, and a news conference to announce the inductees.

Both Claire and Gilles grew up in Sanford, Maine, speaking only French. Through the years, the Augers have been involved in preserving Maine’s French culture and history. After earning her degree from Saint Joseph’s, Claire taught French at Windham High School. During the 1970s, she started a French radio show that aired on WSME. In 1975, she became the first French teacher at St. Thomas School in Sanford. Two years later, she began teaching French at Sanford Junior High School, and remained in that position until 2000. She was also the French Club adviser at the school.

Claire started Franco-American Heritage Night at St. Thomas School, an annual tradition that features traditional French-Canadian music and recognizes outstanding local Franco-American citizens. She also started the Rusty French Club in 2007. The club meets monthly at Goodall Library in Sanford and welcomes those who want to brush up on their French, reminisce, or celebrate French culture.

Honorary Chair chosen for Saint Joseph’s College Centennial

In 2012, Saint Joseph’s College will celebrate 100 years of success during the Centennial year. The college is pleased to announce that Sister Mary George O’Toole ’51, RSM, Ph.D., has been named the Centennial honorary chair.

Sister Mary George has held many roles at Saint Joseph’s, including Professor of Sociology, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Vice President for Sponsorship and Mission Integration. In addition, she is currently serving as the college archivist.

Centennial planning has been under way since last fall, and the celebration will begin in January and run through December 2012. Stay tuned for more information about commemorative activities and events. Do you have an idea for the Centennial? E-mail and share your thoughts.

Mother and daughter graduate together

At Commencement ceremonies on May 14, Lucille Bragg, age 53, and her daughter Sharon Davis, age 29, joyously completed an academic journey that began six years ago. Lucille received her bachelor’s degree in business administration, while Sharon was awarded an MBA with an emphasis on leadership. Both women also received the Business Administration’s Outstanding Student Award.

“I am so proud of her,” said Sharon, who works full time at Machias Savings Bank with her mother. “Despite having a full time position, too, Mom was still there for me, reviewing my assignments and reading my papers. There is no doubt that her tremendous support got me through.”

The pride is mutual. “Seeing Sharon pursue her advanced degree inspired me to complete my undergraduate degree after being a stay-at-home mom of two for 20 years. While I never regretted that decision, I’ve always enjoyed learning and encouraged my children to keep learning,” Lucille said. “To share this accomplishment with Sharon is beyond a dream come true.”

Both women took advantage of the college’s online learning component. “The program provides flexible hours and a self-guided direction,” explained Sharon, the mother of a young son. “The master’s degree curriculum includes a leadership program.”

For Lucille, graduating was a personal goal that she likened to “tying up a loose end.” Sharon, who described her achievement as “personal fulfillment,” was promoted to supervisor since starting her master’s degree. They also thanked their husbands for “picking up the slack” at home so they could study.

Outstanding woman in industry

Maryann Szabo ’96 of Hamburg, N.J., was honored at the 37th annual Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) awards dinner last May for her significant contributions to industry in New Jersey. Sponsored by the YWCA of Bergen County, N.J., the event recognizes professional women. Maryannn is the director of the Regional Monitoring Network for Roche in the United States. She joined the Switzerland-based company in 1987.

“I value my job tremendously and this is such a wonderful recognition of my work,” said Maryann. “Being in a league with women whom I have admired and respected over the years is greatly rewarding.”

Considered an expert in clinical trial monitoring, Maryann oversees 200 team members. Under her leadership, American monitors have become among the best in the industry and earned outstanding scores in customer satisfaction.

Maryann earned her nursing degree from Passaic County Community College in New Jersey and her bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Saint Joseph’s College. She belongs to the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, the Drug Information Association, and the New Jersey State Nurses Association. Last summer, Maryann was named one of the “100 of the Most Inspiring People” by PharmaVOICE magazine.

"In the case of the sick, tenderness above all"

(Catherine McAuley)

Sister M. Consuela White, RSM, the founder of the nursing program at Saint Joseph’s College, died peacefully on May 26 at the age of 91. A recipient of many honors for her tireless efforts on behalf of nurses and patients, she was a gentle and unassuming pioneer in the nursing field. She taught nursing for 40 years and capped more than 1,000 students as they became professional nurses.

Sr. Consuela was director of the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing for 22 years before coming to Saint Joseph’s, and later joined Mercy Hospital as a vice president of Mission Effectiveness. Though she retired in 1991, she showed up daily at the hospital, cheering up all she saw with her kindness and bright smile. “She did a lot of informal nursing in the hallways and in the hearts at Mercy Hospital,” says nursing professor emeritus Sue Henderson.

In 2002, Mercy Hospital established the Sister Mary Consuela White Award, given yearly to an outstanding Mercy nurse. Saint Joseph’s College also presents an annual nursing award in her name. A woman of warmth and integrity, vision and compassion, Sr. Consuela passed her love of nursing on to her many students, who regarded her as their mentor and inspiration. In her own words, “Your motive in nursing has to be to do what’s best for the patient.” This she believed, this she taught, this she lived.

From the time of its inception in 1974, the Saint Joseph’s program not only prepared students for the clinical rigors of nursing, it stressed relationship with the patient, respecting the humanity of the whole patient – body, mind and spirit.

The beautiful and moving Mass for Sr. Consuela at the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse in Portland included an honor guard of eight Mercy Hospital nurses. Hospital CEO Eileen Skinner carried the crucifix in the procession. At the service, many people from Saint Joseph’s College and Mercy Hospital shared fond memories.

Joe Gallagher ’82/’08, a nursing graduate and member of the Board of Trustees, wrote a letter to be read at her service, which included this testimony. “I know unquestionably that Sr. Consuela’s legacy will persist through the students she taught, the patients she treated, and the friends she made. She represented to me everything we should strive to become.”