ShareThis Page
News

Mercy nun heeds call to be Forest Hills 'voice for the people'

| Tuesday, March 20, 2007

After months of watching Forest Hills Borough Council, Sister Matthias Wemm made a decision.

"I need to be on the other side of the table. I need to listen, and I need to be a voice for the people," she said.

Wemm, 66, a Sister of Mercy, is one of four Democrats vying for three open full-term seats in the May 15 primary. One Republican is running for one of those four-year positions. Two Democrats are competing to finish the last two years of a fourth seat.

Wemm is one of the five founding members of We the People, a Forest Hills citizens group that formed to oppose the council's treatment of three disabled police officers. All three were shot in the line of duty: Officer Edward Limbacher on June 23, 2003; Sgt. Edward Hinchey on Nov. 9, 2004; and Officer Matthew Livingstone on April 23, 2005.

Wemm said she disagreed with some of the council's decisions, but her run for office isn't meant as a criticism.

Wemm has taught at St. Maurice School in Forest Hills for 21 years, and Livingstone was one of her elementary school students.

If elected, Wemm wouldn't be the first nun to fill a public office in the area. Sister Mary Gregory Schessler of the Sisters of St. Francis of Millvale is an elected member of Millvale Council. She first served on the council in the 1970s and was elected again in 1995.

Sister Michelle O'Leary, a Sister of Mercy, served on the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. She was appointed to the post in 2000 by Gov. Tom Ridge.

Wemm received the green light from her religious community before she filed papers to be a candidate.

Sister Margaret Hannan, president of the Pittsburgh community of Sisters of Mercy, said Wemm didn't need permission to run for office, but sisters usually check before they embark on a new type of service to the community.

"It's not permission so much as a dialogue that we have," she said.

The Pittsburgh community of Sisters of Mercy supports Wemm's efforts, but it's up to Forest Hills voters to decide whether they want Wemm as a leader, she said.

"She's a citizen, and she's a responsible woman, and I think she could bring a lot of gifts and skills to the council," Hannan said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.

click me