When Sister Cecilia Wallace reflects on her life, she finds a sense of fulfillment and inner peace. “It is hard to explain,” she says, “but it’s about being able to be there for people and the children.” And Sister Cecilia is certainly there for people. As Sister Liz Tiernan relates, “no matter how often she is called on for help or advice, her natural serenity, faith in God, and belief in Notre Dame, remains constant. She is a quiet light, embodying all that is good about religious life.”
For more than 20 years, Sister Cecilia taught and was principal in Notre Dame elementary schools throughout California, Oregon and Washington. “She was a good principal,” recalls Sister Bernie Garcia. “She loved helping out, nothing fazed her and she was always very calm and very loving.”
Rita Gleason, a retired principal of Notre Dame High School, Belmont, was in Sister Cecilia’s first grade classroom at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Redwood City, California. “She taught me to read, to write, to think and to reflect,” Ms. Gleason says. “She modeled what I tried to do as a principal: be attentive to one student at a time and let each one know that they are a special part of the Notre Dame community.”
A startling phone call from the Provincial Superior set Sister Cecilia on a new path. The Sisters wanted her to be Superior at Villa Notre Dame, a ministry that became one of the most treasured experiences of her life. “I will never forget the peace among those elderly sisters,” she recalls. “There was true happiness in that house.”
After six years at Villa Notre Dame, Sister Cecilia was asked to be the CCD Director for St. Lucy’s Parish, in Campbell, California, and later, religion coordinator for Resurrection School in Sunnyvale.
Everyone can agree with Sister Liz when she says, “Sister Cecilia is a wonderful person beloved by all, Sisters, staff, parents and pastors—all who are or were fortunate enough to know her. She is a gem!”
Looking back, Sister Cecilia said, “I answered the call to belong to Notre Dame and I am grateful.” Sister Cecilia Wallace was, and is, a true daughter of St. Julie – filled with love for the mission, strongly spiritual, unassuming, and accepting of all.
– by Sister Liz Tiernan, SNDdeN
Sister Cecilia's Ministries
Notre Dame School, Marysville, Calif.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Redwood City, Calif.
St. Francis of Assisi School, Seahurst, Wash.
St. Dunstan Elementary School, Millbrae, Calif.
St. Charles Elementary School, San Carlos, Calif.
St. Stephen Elementary School, Portland, Ore.
St. Mark’s Elementary School, Shoreline, Wash.
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Saratoga, Calif.
Province & Community Services
Villa Notre Dame, Saratoga, Calif.
St. Lucy School and Parish, Campbell, Calif.
Resurrection School and Parish, Sunnyvale, Calif.
To make a gift to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in honor of Sister Cecilia, please click here.