Sr. Mary Lou Tressy: Making a Difference

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Sr. Mary Lou, previously known as Sr. Jerome, was an unforgettable teacher who instilled a feeling of value and worth in every child.   As one of her former History students reflected, “I felt like my opinion mattered and that my understanding of history was as important as the facts.”

Sr. Mary Lou was passionate about teaching and loved her students.  She incorporated a bit of wit to make the sometimes difficult concepts enjoyable and easier to understand. She augmented her favorite subject, Social Studies with projects and programs beyond the classroom giving her students lasting memories.

A product of Catholic education, Sr. Mary Lou attended St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford, CT where she was taught by the Ursuline Sisters. Her experience inspired her to become an Ursuline Sister and a teacher. She professed her vows in 1958. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from St. John’s University and a Masters of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, Sr. Mary Lou taught History and Religion at St. Thomas the Apostle in West Hartford, CT, St. William the Abbot in Seaford, NY and Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village, NY. She served as principal at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, NY and St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose, NY. After retiring from her ministry of 37 years in Catholic Education, she worked for New York State to assist people in understanding how the government works for them and to ensure equal access for all.

Sr. Mary Lou is still making a difference in other’s lives. She volunteers at the Grace Ministry of Care and Concern food pantry at Our Lady of Grace Parish. Sr. Mary Lou helps with organizing and distributing food to over 800 people in the Howard Beach area. The pantry is funded by government grants and generous contributions from members of Our Lady of Grace Parish and the local community.