Sister profile

Sister Carol Nolan

Formerly Sister Mary Sheila

Photo taken in 2016

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Sister Carol, formerly Sister Mary Sheila, was born and raised in Galesburg, Illinois. Currently, she ministers in residential services at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

She and her two sisters – Sisters Lucy and Nancy, who are both Sisters of Providence – along with their two brothers attended St. Joseph Academy and Corpus Christi High School. All of them were taught by the Sisters of Providence.

Sister Carol received a scholarship to attend Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and after her first semester, entered the Congregation. She professed first vows in 1953 and final vows in 1958.

Her first ministry was at St. Andrew School in Indianapolis, where she taught music her first year and second grade for two more years. She also taught music for seven years at St. Francis Borgia School in Chicago and during that seventh year, created the Glee Club at Mother Theodore Guerin High School, only five blocks away. She also taught at Maternity BVM in Chicago for a handful of years before receiving a master’s degree in music at Illinois State University.

From there, Sister Carol joined the faculty at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College where she taught for 29 years, including 10 years teaching basic German after receiving a master’s degree in German from Portland State University.

Sister Carol also taught English Conversation at a high school in Taiwan, which was run by the Missionary Sisters of Providence.

In 2001, after celebrating her Golden Jubilee (50 years in the Congregation), Sister Carol began a sabbatical to study Spanish at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and in Mexico. The following year, she established Providence in the Desert and ministered teaching English to immigrants working in the fields near the Salton Sea. She also taught music to the children.

Currently, she ministers in residential services and outreach at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Sister Carol said the Sisters of Providence came to teach in Galesburg in 1879 and one of the first students they had was her grandfather.

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