2010 Golden Jubilarian
This year, Sr. Mary Sheila Burson, OP, celebrates 50 years since her first profession of vows as a Dominican Sister of St. Mary in New Orleans, Louisiana. When her congregation merged with six others in 2009, she became a member of the new Dominican Sister of Peace congregation. Currently she resides in the congregation's Mohun Health Care Center in Columbus, Ohio, where she and other Sisters moved in 2008 to be free from the need for hurricane evacuations.
Sr. Sheila grew up along the Mississippi River in the small town of Reserve, Louisiana, where, among her family and friends, she first fell in love with music. She would go on to spend most of her life sharing her musical gifts with others, enriching their souls and complementing their worship as she taught them the ins and outs of singing and playing piano and organ. Entering the convent at the age of 38, which was a relatively late age at the time, Sr. Sheila immediately began to fill the Novitiate at Rosaryville with music. Even in her later years, she recalls with fond memories how she loved teaching the novices and young Sisters there how to chant the Office and to sing hymns in the traditional Gregorian style.
In 1972, Sr. Mary Sheila began her long career with St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she taught piano for 28 years. Her students remember her sharing with them not only her musical talent, but also her passion, joy, and zest for life. In the mid-1990's, Sr. Mary Sheila also began volunteering at Metairie Manor in nearby Metairie, Louisiana, where she brought music to the lives of the facility's elderly residents.
Sr. Mary Sheila also has a love for family and has remained close with her numerous nieces and nephews throughout the years, even now in spite of living at a distance. Many of her family were on hand in Columbus to celebrate her 90th birthday this year, recognizing her as the first family member to achieve such a milestone. It has been a year of year of great festivity, celebrating her life and her vocation, rejoicing for all that God has given her and all that she has shared with others in His name.