by Mike Critelli
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview an exceptionally inspiring high school classmate of mine, Sister Mary Foley, for a newsletter that our Pioneer Class Committee publishes. As a member of the first graduating class of Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY, in 1966, we proudly referred to ourselves as the "pioneer class." Coincidentally, the co-principals of our school had the surnames "Lewis," (Sister Mary Lewis), and "Clark," (Brother Joseph Clark,) which only reinforced the appropriateness of the "pioneer" metaphor.
Sister Mary Foley's career has been nothing short of outstanding. She has been a teacher, missionary, community leader, and licensed clinical social service worker, both in the US and abroad, with a three-year stint in Liberia. However, the part of her life that most deeply intrigued me was her transformation of Luke, a border collie entrusted to her care at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ, in 2004. Initially, Luke was acquired to help nuns living on the campus discourage and deter geese from doing too much property damage. But Sister Mary Foley, who was passionate about helping individuals and populations who had undergone traumas, had Luke trained as a disaster stress relief dog through Therapy Dogs International.