It’s no surprise to find Sister Shirley Davis, SSJ, back in a classroom.
Her career in education has spanned more than 50 years, beginning as a teacher at Christ the King School in Rutland. From there, Sister Shirley spent more than three decades at Mount St. Joseph Academy, as a math and religion teacher, and later as principal. She went on to become Assistant Superintendent for all Catholic schools in the Burlington Catholic Diocese and has also served as an associate professor at College of St. Joseph, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.
Even retirement hasn’t kept her from educating students. Now, Sister Shirley has returned to MSJ to tutor students in algebra and geometry as part of the Foster Grandparent Program. She expects that she will work with about 10 students Mondays through Thursdays.
“Being back here, I’m amazed how many former students come in because they want to say hello,” Sister Shirley said. “The alumni of this school are phenomenal. I have never asked them for anything they haven’t given.”
Sister views MSJ as important to her personally, as well as being a significant piece of the greater Rutland area. She says the school develops morally responsible individuals who are self-giving, and that the future needs these values-centered people.
“We need young people who can see and respond to the needs of our neighbors,” Sister Shirley said. “We need people to help one another to grow, to see the challenges of everyday life, and to respond to them in faith.”
While Sister Shirley has seen many changes over the years at MSJ, including curricula adjusting to meet the needs of the times and the introduction of technology in the classroom, she said there are some things that never change - the quality of the faculty, the goals of the school, and the ongoing dedication and self-giving of the faculty and staff.
“It is my opinion that all of us, alums and others, should continue to support MSJ in whatever way is possible for each of us. We all must remember that someone enabled each of us to get an education and to add to our fellow beings,” Sister Shirley said. “MSJ has benefited from all kinds of gifts. Time, talent and treasure are great gifts because they mean that we can all do something. I give my time and energy and I do this because there is a bit of me that is selfish. I give what I have, which is mainly time and prayer. I receive so much more than I give. I have many treasured relationships from MSJ roots.”