By JEAN DRISKELL, Special To The Bulletin | Published October 14, 2010
The people I have journeyed with have enriched my life to love my God deeper,” Sister Mary Constance Thompson, RGS, said.
Better known as Sister Connie, she celebrated her golden jubilee with a Mass at Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, on Saturday, Aug. 14.
“I found it very uplifting, emotional and moving,” she said about the Mass. “It was very peace-filled. I was more peaceful than I ever dreamt I would be.”
The Mass was concelebrated with Father Louis Lougen, OMI, provincial from Washington, D.C., as the main celebrant and homilist, along with Father Richard Tibbetts, pastor of Holy Cross, and Father Gregory Anatuanya, parochial vicar. Deacon Tom Silvestri also served.
“I chose the two servers because their mother’s cousin is a Good Shepherd sister in India,” Sister Connie said. “They were sweethearts.”
Sister Connie, a native of Washington, D.C., became interested in the Good Shepherd Sisters when she was in school.
“We got permission to visit the children committed to the House of the Good Shepherd,” she said. “I was impressed by one girl (from a troubled situation) who had changed so radically I wanted to be a part of this, helping people change their lives.”
When Sister Connie was in high school she told her uncle “there’s got to be more to life than dances. So he got me a book on vocations.”
“I felt God calling me,” she said. “My purpose was to do more for God. Things just started opening up to me.”
After high school Sister Connie entered the International Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd on Aug. 6, 1957, in Baltimore, Md. She made her religious vows on Aug. 11, 1960.
“We have four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience and zeal for the salvation for those we work with,” she said.
Sister Connie said that St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier and St. John Eudes founded the order of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, Angers, France.
“Rome approved of our congregation in 1835,” she said.
“Since the beginning our ministry is one of outreach and social services to residential girls and women,” she said. “Our mission is one of reconciliation for those we work with.”
Sister Connie started her ministry in Baltimore by ministering to the senior sisters of her order. She then ministered to residential children and teens. Her ministry in residential programs has led her to Philadelphia and Scranton, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Guam, where she ministered to those in domestic violence; and in Atlanta, where she has been for the last 10 years.
In Atlanta she has worked at St. Thomas Manor as a night supervisor, at St. Vincent de Paul’s main office, and is currently volunteering at Saint Joseph’s Hospital by visiting the patients and volunteering at St. Martin’s Food Pantry at Holy Cross.
“I have loved my God deeper by working and being involved in the lives of the people who have touched my life,” Sister Connie said. “They have taught me a lot. They humbled me.”