Carol Miller was a student at Notre Dame High School, Belmont, when Pope John XXIII was elected and announced the Second Vatican Council. This was a defining moment for her. "There was so much energy about The Church in the Modern World," she remembers. "As high school students, we were captured by this new vision and energy. It was so exciting." In keeping with the vision of the Council, both prayer and mission drew her to Notre Dame de Namur.
Always a teacher, a student, or both, her first years were spent in Notre Dame and parish schools throughout California, including Mission Dolores School in San Francisco, Notre Dame School in Folsom and Notre Dame High School in San Jose. Then in 1981, grants allowed her to earn a degree in pastoral counseling which included participating in a seminar with Dr. Viktor Frankl at the Santa Clara University. This experience was followed by a scholarship she received for theological studies at the General Theological Union, Berkeley.
Throughout those years her work was not only academic, but included counseling dying children and seriously injured adults, and participating in an interfaith group of families who were victims of crime. "The gift of the group," she says, "was to see the faith transformation of families who were struggling to heal and to forgive. Those blessings were 'signs of the times' of The Church in the Modern World, a church reaching beyond boundaries to those who were suffering greatly."
Now a Professor of Human Services at Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California, Sister Carol teaches classes in communications, human relations and cultural diversity. Most of her students are older and come to class tired after a full day's work. She finds that, as adults, they are searching for spirituality and meaning in life, something more than a job. Dr. Arnell Etherington Reader, NDNU professor, knows Sister Carol's work well: "She is dignified quiet in the midst of a storm, and insightful, yet has a terrific sense of humor. She has an active academic life beyond the university, including publication of many articles on Viktor Frankl. Most of all, the students love her. She is so interested in what they are doing beyond the class and is most generous with her time with them."
Sister Carol is grateful—grateful for the development of her own faith and grateful to share her understanding and commitment to the mission of Notre Dame with the NDNU faculty.