While a junior at Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, Aileen Marie Bermingham and a good friend volunteered at a day care center run by the Holy Family Sisters. "I'm not sure how much we helped. I think we did it for the peanut butter sandwiches," she laughs. But later her friend decided to join the Holy Family Sisters and Aileen realized she felt drawn to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Two months after high school graduation, Aileen moved into the SNDdeN novitiate in Saratoga, Cal. As the oldest of six children from a large and loving family, she remembered being homesick and also appreciating the down-to-earth novice director.
As a young, brand new teacher in 1952, she fell in love with her fifth-grade class at Moreland Notre Dame School in Watsonville. "They were wonderful children. I still remember all their names." Later she would enjoy teaching middle and high school grades in St. Mark's Parish School in Seattle, Notre Dame School in Chico and Notre Dame High Schools in San Francisco and San Jose.
Over time she attended the then-College of Notre Dame and the University of San Francisco, earning a master's degree in English.
In 1974, a phone call from Rome caused the biggest surprise of her career. She had been chosen as the Provincial Superior for the then-California Province. In this role she said, "I was able to see the Sisters' goodness first hand."
One of her most fulfilling ministries was working with the elderly. For 10 years she worked at the John XXIII Center in San Jose (part of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County) which provided meals, counseling and outreach to senior citizens in the local community who needed a helping hand.
Today Sister Aileen has a busy life at the Sisters' Province Center in Belmont. She frequently accompanies other retired Sisters to medical appointments and emergency hospital visits. And as a former English teacher, she is also called upon to help keep our communications grammar perfect!
Mother of Sorrows School, Los Angeles, CA
Notre Dame Elementary School, Chico, CA
St. Mark Elementary School, Shoreline, WA
Mora High School, Watsonville, CA
Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, CA
Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA
Sacred Heart Nativity School, San Jose, CA (Volunteer)
Provincial Superior, Saratoga, CA
Pastoral Coordinator, Villa Notre Dame, Saratoga, CA
Development, Saratoga, CA
Province Center, Belmont, CA
John XXIII Center, San Jose, CA
To make a gift to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in honor of Sister Aileen, please click here.