Three cheers to a former Bishop Gerrard H.S. cheerleader

Please allow me to shamelessly plea for your help at the top end of this column. Please, please find a charitable organization you trust and send whatever you can to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

In my eyes, Haiti is the student who is bullied and abused from the first day of school to the last. These poor people, only because they live where they do, are consistently knocked down and then get back up; only to be knocked down even harder. Pray for Haiti. Give to Haiti. Please.

Moving on to my column topic for the week, most of you know that I spent nine years as a student at St. Anne’s School in Fall River, where and when 99 percent of the staff there were Dominican Sisters.

You probably also know that I loved those Sisters. Most of them anyway. As the adage confers: one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch.

So, when a Dominican Sister asks a favor of you, there is no way to say no. It’s, as Mr. Spock would infer, “totally illogical.”

I received a letter just today from Sister Mary Agnes Shannon, O.P. She relayed a story that happened to her last year.

Sister Mary Agnes, who lived for many years at the convent on Park Street in Fall River, told me that in September of 2015 she had heart surgery at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.

While in recovery, she received a beautiful basket of flowers from a student she had at Bishop Gerrard High School in Fall River in 1971-72. “To be remembered after all these years was such a blessing,” wrote Sister Mary Agnes.

The good Sister told me the student’s name is Susan Rebello Black. She was a cheerleader at Bishop Gerrard, the squad that won the New England championship.

Sister Mary Agnes told me she has been trying to contact Susan since then, to no avail, and asked me if I could express her heartfelt gratitude to Susan — Susan, Sister Mary Agnes expresses her love and thanks for your act of mercy and kindness. And let me add my kudos as well for such a simple yet powerful gesture.

This is a prime example of what results from the loving efforts of a caring Catholic educator.

Susan, if you get wind of this column and would like to get in touch with Sister Mary Agnes, call me at The Anchor at 508-675-7151 or send along an email to

And remember everyone, Haiti needs our help — desperately.

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts