Sister Donald Kerr extends her contributions to Catholic education into her 80s
TAUNTON — Every morning at 9:10 a.m., Sister Donald walks across Spring Street to Our Lady of Lourdes School (OLOL) in Taunton, where she checks in with the elementary teachers to see if they need some additional help. Whether it is cutting objects or shapes, correcting papers, or gluing items together, this has been Sister Donald’s morning routine since she retired from teaching in 2015. Her afternoon schedule includes watching 25-35 students from 3-5 p.m. in the extended care program. Although other staff members are at the school, Sister Donald manages all of the Pre-K to grade four students in her charge alone.
Sister Donald is 80 years old and has no intention of changing this routine any time soon. “The kids in extended care are (mostly) well-behaved,” said Sister Donald.
Elaine Gloria Kerr (Sister Donald’s baptismal name) first became intrigued with religious life when she saw a group of nuns as a young girl and could not figure out why they were dressed differently than everyone else. She entered the convent at age 18 and received her bachelor’s degree in education from Salve Regina. Her first two years of teaching grade one were at St. Lawrence School in New Bedford and Holy Trinity in West Harwich. The next 47 years would be spent teaching first grade at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Taunton.
Along the way, Sister Donald was offered an opportunity to earn a Master’s degree in Education at Bridgewater State University. While she was not initially keen on continuing her education after just completing a bachelor’s degree, she figured the offer may not come around a second time.
“My favorite reason for choosing the religious life is being able to bring God and His love to others,” says Sister Donald. “Families today encounter so many challenges and it is a privilege to serve God by planting the seed of Christ’s love into these students’ little hearts and souls.”
Mary Turner, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School, added, “Sister Donald brings such joy and calm to this beautiful school. Every child should experience the beauty and love brought forth from religious Sisters as it is a very unique gift from God. OLOL is so blessed with her presence and many contributions.”