Sister Evelyn McKenna has a quiet manner and a ready smile and has managed to combine a diverse blend of talents and experiences during her life in Notre Dame. In addition to teaching high school religion, Evelyn is fluent in French with expertise in computers and technology and a keen interest in the internationality of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
"With the exception of my early years teaching in elementary and junior high schools, the five years in Provincial Leadership in the Boston Province and a sabbatical to Congo, the majority of my ministry was at Notre Dame Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts. It wasn't planned. It just evolved and I enjoyed and appreciated every day at NDA. "
"I loved teaching religion," she said. " It was always challenging to help students learn the subject matter in the classroom and apply it during their service projects. I found it both humbling and rewarding when students demonstrated by their words and actions their experience of the goodness of God and their understanding of the importance of reaching out to others. "
Entering Notre Dame after she graduated from high school, Sister Evelyn studied French and education at Emmanuel College. Later, she earned an MA in religious studies at Fairfield University, which provided an excellent foundation for her ministry at Notre Dame Academy."
When the Intranet System was introduced to the Congregation, Sister Evelyn became a member of the Province Tech Committee. I enjoyed working with Sister Karen Hokanson and the members of the Tech Committee and appreciated the opportunities that gave me to delve into technology and learn and apply new skills in a variety of settings."
Sister Evelyn became one of the first teachers in the PACE Program in Congo in 2010 and has returned four more times, including this July when she and Sisters Elaine Bain, Ann Marie Cook and Maureen O'Brien spent nearly three two weeks teaching English and Technology to thirty-eight sisters.
"The sisters in Congo were welcoming and eager to learn new skills. They worked very hard with the goal of personal development and the ability to teach these new skills to others in their respective educational settings. The whole experience reinforced for me our internationality and our deep connection as sisters."
Sister Evelyn has remained engaged since retiring from NDA a year ago. In addition to her participation in the PACE program, Evelyn teaches a course on Saint Julie as part of the Notre Dame Virtual School, coordinates the Glimpses of God's Goodness feature of the website and helps with translations and technology whenever they are needed.
"I loved being a teacher and I didn't know what to expect after I retired, but I am happy to say that I am enjoying this phase of my life. It is life giving in many new ways.