Nun celebrating 80th jubilee got her calling at St. Alphonsus School in Springdale |
Valley News Dispatch

Nun celebrating 80th jubilee got her calling at St. Alphonsus School in Springdale

Michael DiVittorio
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
Sister Audrey Sagan showcases her necklace with a golden triangle embossed with the letters CDP for Community of Divine Providence.
Michael DiVittorio | Tribune-Review
Sister Audrey Sagan enjoys a moment in one of Community of Divine Providence’s community rooms.

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series that features Alle-Kiski Valley residents and the notable things that they do.

Audrey Sagan knew she wanted to be a nun when she was young.

She credits her teachers — nuns — at St. Alphonsus School in Springdale for inspiring her to take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

“When I was in grade school, I already wanted to be (a nun),” she said. “I liked the sisters that taught me. I grew up there and after that came to the convent.”

The Springdale native is in her 80th year as a nun with the Sisters of Divine Providence, across from La Roche University.

Sagan, 97, plans to celebrate her 80th jubilee with family and friends after Mass on Oct. 26.

“I like the life,” she said, sitting on a couch in one of the convent’s community rooms. “I did a lot of crocheting and made baby afghans by the hundreds. That’s some of our fundraising things that we did. I wanted to be a sister. We have special days. I changed my name.”

Sagan grew up as Erma Sagan but changed her name to Audrey when she entered the sisterhood.

Her parents, the late Matthew and Catherine Sagan, were surprised at her decision and ultimately supported it.

“My dad was very quiet,” Sagan said. “I think my sisters told my mother, ‘Don’t worry about it. She’ll be OK once she goes to the convent and joins.’ I think it hurt, but they’re happy about it.”

Sagan earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Duquesne University. She taught first and second grade and prepared children for their first communion at numerous Catholic schools for 51 years.

Schools included St. Basil in Carrick, St. Cecelia in Glassport, St. Mary in Glenshaw and McKeesport, All Saints in Etna, Queen of Peace in Michigan, St. Peter and Paul in East Liberty, and St. Mary in Sharpsburg. She also served at Guardian Angels Parish in Pittsburgh’s West End.

“We make it very important to them, tell them they’re getting Jesus for the first time, and they’re always so happy about that,” Sagan said of her teaching experiences. “I like little children. They take everything so serious. I never had a problem with parents no matter what. The Sister’s the Boss.”

Sagan can often be found wearing her dark blue habit and veil accessorized by a necklace with a gold triangle embossed with the letters “CDP” for Community of Divine Providence. She said not many sisters wear veils these days, and hers fits just fine.

“I’d say about 10 of us in the community wear them,” Sagan said about the veil. “I wear mine all the time. Why should I take it off?”

She also noted far fewer women are becoming nuns than in previous years.

“I think the girls don’t want to come to the convent anymore (because) they have everything out in the world, and they do what they want to do,” she said. “If they would come to the convent, they would have to follow rules and regulations like we all do.”

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.