When 18-year-old Betsy Post found that she, her mother and sister were homeless, she went straight to her mentor Sr. Lucille Coldrick—who was the principal of at the time—for advice.
Post didn’t expect that the nuns of the would invite her family to live in the convent for the summer.
“They saved our lives,” said Post’s sister, Rev. Susan “Suzi” Post. “They literally saved our lives.”
In addition to feeding and providing them with a safe and loving home, they also helped the Post family find and furnish an apartment. Post, who graduated from the high school in 1981 and is now 49, said these acts go to the core of the mission of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion.
“They are tremendous people,” said Post, a White Plains resident. “I’ve been told since as much as they did for us, we did for them. I think for them it really gave them a true sense of their calling and their compassion in the ministry.”
The Post sisters said they are proud to present Coldrick, class of 54’, as she is inducted into the Good Counsel Wall of Fame at the 90th Anniversary Reception Gala on Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at 52. N. Broadway. Coldrick will be inducted along with five other alumnae during the ceremony, which will be followed by a cocktail reception.
Tickets for the event are $100, click for more information.
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Sisters of the Divine Compassion sponsor the Catholic all-girl high school and the co-ed on their grounds, and was founded in 1886 originally focusing on providing for immigrant children in New York City. In 1892 they opened the House of Nazareth and moved the children to the White Plains campus.
The Good Counsel Training School, an eight-year elementary school, began spreading the message of compassion to students in 1901. The high school was added in 1918, and was granted a provisional charter by the New York State Board of Regents in 1922.
This message has resonated with students over the years, allowing them to practice compassion in their own lives. Suzi Post remembers bursting into Coldrick’s office in 1982, overwhelmed with her duties as student council president, a family friend who was dying of cancer, her family’s financial struggles and feeling guilty for being upset.
“She closed the door and didn’t care that I had to go to class,” said Suzi Post, an Episcopalian priest. “We had a terrific discussion. She said ‘Don’t ever think your problems are not important because they might not be as bad as someone else’s.’ I have taken that into my ministry and my pastoral counseling.”
Sr. Imma DeStafanis, of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, said that graduating from Good Counsel High School in 1980 left her with a sense of compassion that has allowed her to successfully work with youth as an educator all over the world.
“I learned a lot, how to be a very strong writer and things that helped me academically, “said DeStafanis. “l learned an infinite more about how to be a good and decent person in the world.”
DeStafanis, who lives in Rye Brook, said she and her fellow students spent more time at the school then at home—since the school community felt like a family and was always fun. She and her friends would stay as long as they could on snowy days, hoping for the chance to stay overnight in the convent.
“Certainly the teachers were remarkably dedicated,” said DeStafanis, who will present Sr. Ellen McGrath at the induction ceremony. “I remember there were teachers who were like our friends, and we never gave it a second thought that it was anything unusual or weird. I think it was just a place that was really completely enveloped in care and love for the students.”
The sense of love and compassion that has filled the halls of Good Counsel High School over the last nine decades has not only helped students prepare for college, but also gave them long-lasting friendships and a sense of belonging.
“They’ve put so many women in a good place and helped to educate them, give them a sense of compassion and of self— that that they can achieve whatever it is they want,” said Post. “They really care about the girls and they want them to succeed on many levels, not just with grades. A good friend of mine said ‘I don’t understand it you all [GCA alumnae] seem to have this thing about you.’ It’s happiness, it’s about being proud and it’s a connectedness. It’s a really unique place.”