model. We had five sisters raising the
children and we did all the things a
parent would do. I became a mom.”
Fitzgerald never judges anyone,
especially not the women she works
with. She shows them understanding
and compassion, perhaps for the first
time in their incredibly difficult lives.
“If we really believe in the Resurrection, then we have to believe in
second chances. Nobody comes out
of prison saying, ‘Wow, I really hope
I screw up again,’ ” she says.
A calling of “of course” not “aha”
Fitzgerald never had that one moment where she knew she wanted
to become a sister. Rather, she just
always felt a subtle sense that becoming a sister was her calling, an
idea that was further fostered by the
Sisters of St. Joseph who taught her
in high school.
“It was this inner sense that
this was a good thing for me to do.
It wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment, where I
a nun today.’ It was just a constant
calling from God,” she explains.
“The sisters seemed so happy and
“I love the way my life turned
they were doing good things, so it
just made sense to me.”
She grew up poor in an Irish
working-class family in Long Island,
New York. Strong faith and good
education were inherent in her up-
bringing and so, all these years later,
it just makes sense that those things
continue to be the cornerstones of
out,” she says.
God: her closest advisor
Fitzgerald hasn’t been shy about
asking God for things. She asked for
help trying to build more housing for
her women and their families, and
she got it—in the form of more than
$9 million in funding to buy an old
Fitzgerald struts when she
convent across the street from where
she lives. She demolished the build-
ing and set about reconstructing it
into 18 beautiful apartments for her
walks, shoulders strong and proud.
Long Island City neighbors approach
her with hugs, high-fives, and smiles.
In Queens she is everyone’s mother
and everyone’s friend.
Her closest advisor and a constant in Fitzgerald’s life is none other
than God. “God walks with me every
single day,” she says. The two of
them have conversations on a regular
basis. She’s making plans and she
wants God to be in on them. Who
knows how she and God are planning to spread hope next? =
RELATED ARTICLE: vocationnetwork.org,
“Teacher first, sister aways,” VISION
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