T.Byrne-001Today we’d like to introduce you to Sr. Teresa Byrne. Sr. Teresa lives in Malone, a small town in upstate New York where the Ursulines have served for almost 80 years.

One of Sr. Teresa’s earliest memories about religious life came by way of her grandmother. On visits to her grandmother’s house, Sr. Teresa, her sister, and her cousin would look at pictures of Mary in a magazine called Messenger of the Sacred Heart, pointing out which one they thought was the most beautiful. On one of these occasions her grandmother said, “I think Teresa will be a nun.” Sr. Teresa remembers thinking how impossible that would be—Did nuns come from ordinary people like me and my family?

Over the years other people said similar things about her, but it wasn’t until Sr. Teresa was in college that she actually started thinking seriously about becoming a nun. Sr. Teresa attended the College of New Rochelle, an Ursuline sponsored school in New York. One day in theology class the priest professor, quoting one of the saints, said, “A bird can be as tied down by a thread as it can by a rope.” Suddenly Sr. Teresa understood that she needed to break that thread and consciously consider religious life. Sr. Teresa grew up in the Boston area and was taught by several different groups of Sisters. Although she thought they all were fine women, there was never any doubt in her mind that she would join the Ursulines. There was something about the Ursulines that was different. She felt attracted by their prayerfulness, which she witnessed when she occasionally attended the nuns’ mass at the college. She also was drawn by how in touch they were with world events; they were informed and had a breadth of vision.

Over the years, Sr. Teresa has most loved parish ministry, especially meeting and dealing with a variety of age groups: children, young people, adults, elderly. Although officially retired, Sr. Teresa is active with the Ursuline lay associates in Malone and Witherbee. These dedicated, faith-filled lay people live the spirit and mission of our foundress, St. Angela Merici.

For anyone considering religious life today Sr. Teresa offers this advice: “I would say talk to sisters you know, or if there aren’t any sisters in your area, check out the web sites of a variety of groups—including the Ursulines!