This spring, Dominican Sister of Hope Maureen Sullivan, OP was awarded the F. Sadlier Dinger Award. The award has been a way to acknowledge the contributions of its recipients and also to celebrate the collective wisdom of the catechetical community. For 41 years, the award was part of the Sadlier celebration at each year’s annual meeting of the NCCD and then NCCL.
“This year, with the emergence of new life as Word and Witness, the award takes place under different circumstances and yet with the same spirit of joy and gratitude. As such, it is fitting to present this year’s award to Sister Maureen Sullivan within the context of prayer,” inwordandwitness.org reads.
Sister Maureen Sullivan is a Professor Emerita of Theology at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. She currently serves as a National Religion Consultant for William H. Sadlier, Inc. While Sr. Maureen offers presentations on a number of theological topics, the Second Vatican Council, along with its impact on our Church, is at the center of her theological research. She has written two books on this topic: 101 Questions and Answers on Vatican II (2002) and The Road to Vatican II: Key Changes in Theology (2007), both published by Paulist Press.
According to Sister Maureen, she can sum up how she felt about receiving the award “in one word: Humbled!”
“I have had the privilege of passing on the faith tradition for many years, from preparing first graders to receive their First Communion to teaching theology at the graduate and undergraduate level,” Sister Maureen said. “I entered my Religious Congregation in August 1965. Three months later, the Second Vatican Council ended, ushering in a renewed understanding of church, scripture and catechesis. It has been my ‘mission’ over the years to educate my students about the Church they inherited from Vatican II. It has been a long journey, but a truly wonderful journey.”
Sister Maureen points to a quote from the Book of Judges in the Old Testament as “perhaps the underlying reason” why she is so passionate about teaching religion.
“Commenting on the lack of faith among the Israelites at the time, the author laments: ‘And there arose a generation that did not know the Lord.’ It has been my prayer that future Church historians will not be able to make that statement about our time in history. Vatican II gave us a new vision of Church, one that is unfinished and moving toward the future. That means we live in Hope.”
As In Word and Witness wrote, Sister. Maureen combines the wisdom of a scholar with the pastoral outreach of a minister in her workshops, keynotes, and presentations. Her many years of working with college students have helped her develop an approach to teaching solid theology in a simple and accessible way. Yet she is equally at home in the pastoral arena and brings an experienced touch to topics such as sacraments, evangelization, and spirituality. Sr. Maureen will help Catholics deepen their understanding of the faith and its practices, advance their knowledge of the sacraments and their effects in our lives, and become more aware of the positive impact of Vatican II on the Catholic Church today.
“We are grateful to Sadlier Religion for continually recognizing and fostering those committed to the ministries of evangelization and catechesis,” the website reads.
For Sister Maureen’s part, the award is impetus to deepen her commitment to passing on her faith.
“Author Bruce Sanguin has claimed…’those of us who have the privilege of passing on the faith tradition to new generations are Co-creators of the Divine Promise,'” Sister Maureen said. “We strive every day to be worthy of that title.”