Living Simply

…and joyfully, welcoming all

Sister Mary Alice BoydSister Mary Alice Boyd always found intriguing places in her west side Chicago neighborhood, where imagination and friends opened up many vistas. Although lessons could drag on in her Resurrection Grade School, she never tired of dreaming what “freer” times could bring.

When, over three years, she and her family built their own small house in Warrenville, Illinois, Sister Mary reveled in the accomplishment. She recently wrote a book about it titled “My Father’s Idea.” The experience of helping to dig the foundation, raise the walls, lay out a septic system and make the dwelling a home was a spur to the ingenuity that has marked her ever since.

Multiple institutions have been part of Sister Mary’s learning universe. In each, she met the challenges that contributed to the complex network of ideas she would apply in engaging elementary students. She has gone beyond the ordinary scope of such assignments. After handling the usual subjects in third through sixth grades, she decided about 25 years ago to follow a deep love for art. A master’s degree in that broad range of study provided a wealth of media experience that she uses to help youngsters find their own creativity. Making puppets and performing shows, even in liturgical settings, were staples in her curriculum.

In 2000 she again took the risk to change her focus by learning and teaching Spanish. Part of her desire to become familiar with the language was her hope that she could reach out to Spanish-speaking people and help them feel more welcomed in Catholic parishes. Sister Mary did immersion experiences in Mexico and Guatemala that moved her to a great respect for the struggles and giftedness of Latin American people.

Sister Mary is well known for making custom dollhouses. One of these was displayed at Alfons Gallery in the Milwaukee Motherhouse. This carefully honed craft is not simply to exercise her penchant for beauty, but also to entice others to tap into their natural bent to play.

She is also involved with the parish Peace and Justice Committee, launching the Liturgy of the Word for Children, and serves as Eucharistic Minister for a hospital. Sister has chaired the Spirit Week and been the heart of the annual theme committee at St. Patrick’s School, St. Charles, Illinois.

In the U. S. Province, Sister Mary has overseen the “environment” part of assemblies. She has contributed to vocation ministry through presentations and booth-tending at conferences. She also meets monthly with girls at Aurora Central Catholic High School to talk about Franciscan spirituality. She delights in working with the community’s associates.

Overall, Sister Mary Boyd has drawn on her ingenuity to enrich her and others’ life. As a favorite scripture verse has it:  “Dear to me indeed is my inheritance!”

Adapted from an article by Sister Joelyn Hayes for the School Sisters of St. Francis Pastoral Ministry Network.