Thank You, Sister Mary June, for 51 Years of Service

From left: Shirley Parham of St. Mary’s activities staff, Ashley and Sister Mary June Morin spent some time together in Sister’s office during Sister’s last day on the job today after 51 years at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. 

Fifty-one years ago today, Sister Mary June Morin arrived in Norfolk to work at what was then St. Mary’s Infant Home. She spent the ensuing decades working, as she likes to put it, “in all the corners of St. Mary’s,” from doing laundry to teaching Montessori school to arranging activities.

Sister, the last nun on St. Mary’s staff, is finally going to get a well-deserved chance to relax. Today was her last day on the job at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. She arrived at her usual time — about 4:30 a.m. She worked on scrapbooks detailing St. Mary’s history, handed over paperwork to staff who will be assuming her duties and, of course, played with the children.

On Wednesday, St. Mary’s will honor Sister with a special luncheon celebration. Sister has already promised to come back to the Home as a volunteer. Still, we all will miss her daily presence. She is the heart of St. Mary’s Home.

UPDATE: Here’s a story about Sister from WAVY-TV 10:

A Family Tradition of Giving Continues

Two Sisters, and two sisters: From left, Sister Mary June Morin of St. Mary’s Home, Sister Francis Clements, and Clements’ nieces, sisters Michelle Masters and Mona Lankford, during the family’s recent visit to St. Mary’s. 

Sisters Michelle Masters and Mona Lankford visited St. Mary’s Home last week to donate Christmas presents to the children and young adults, including sleepers and school supplies. This was the 14th year the family brought presents to the Home for the holidays, following a tradition started by their mother, Mary Catherine Masters of Portsmouth, who used to rock babies at the former St. Mary’s Infant Home.

The daughters had never ventured beyond the front lobby of St. Mary’s current building, which opened almost six years ago. So during their recent visit, they took a tour of the 88,000-square-foot facility and saw children attending class and having fun during physical therapy sessions with St. Mary’s staff. With them was their aunt, Sister Francis Clements, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, based in Oldenburg, Ind. Sister Francis and her nieces also got to meet Sister Mary June Morin, a Daughter of Wisdom who has worked at St. Mary’s Home for more than 50 years and is the last nun remaining on the staff.

Sadly, Mary Masters, who was 81, passed away on Sunday. In yet another act of generosity, the family requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Oasis Social Ministry or St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children. Her legacy of kindness and thoughtfulness lives on through her family.

"Everybody Likes to Give"

Many generous people across the nation have donated money to help Haiti recover from the earthquake in January. At St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk, employees recently took up a collection and raised $1,705 to send to the Daughters of Wisdom to use for their Haiti relief efforts.

St. Mary’s Home has had a special connection to the religious order for most of its 65-year-history. Nuns from the Daughters of Wisdom arrived at the Home in 1946 to take charge. Today, the sole nun still on the staff, Sister Mary June Morin, is starting her 51st year of working at St. Mary’s.

So, when news came that six Daughters had been killed in the earthquake, St. Mary’s staff was especially moved to help. The money raised by employees includes $450 from a Valentine’s goodie sale/baked goods raffle organized by the Nurses Environmental Committee, which focuses on building camaraderie among the staff. The photo shows committee members Janie Mines, left, and Susan Kok, right, among the carnations and boxes full of Hershey’s Kisses that were for sale. The committee also raffled off (mostly) homemade baked goods.

You can read more about the committee’s work here, in a column about charitable giving by Mike Gruss of The Virginian-Pilot. Susan Kok told Gruss that she never worried the chocolates, carnations and cakes wouldn’t sell: “Everybody likes to give. Everybody likes to get something.”

Helping Haiti

(Undated St. Mary’s file photo.) 

Among the many sad stories coming out of Haiti is the news that six sisters of the Daughters of Wisdom were caught in the rubble. Three were killed; the others are not believed to have survived. 

St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk has had a special connection to the Daughters, a congregation of Catholic religious women, for most of our 65-year-history. About a year after the Home opened in December 1944, a group of sisters from the order arrived from New York state to manage the residence. The last remaining nun at the Home, Sister Mary June Morin, is celebrating 50 years of service at St. Mary’s. 

To learn more about the Daughters of Wisdom and the wonderful work they do in Haiti and elsewhere, please visit their website. There, you also can make a donation to help earthquake victims through the Daughters’ emergency relief fund. Click on the “You Can Help” link, then choose “donate online.” Next to “Use this gift for,” click “other” and type in: “Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.”

In the Media: Tidewater Women Features St. Mary’s Home, Auxiliary


The January issue of Tidewater Women includes a feature about St. Mary’s Home, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary, and St. Mary’s Auxiliary Board, which will hold a fundraiser auction next month. You can read the article online by going to the magazine’s website and clicking on the photo of the cover to open a PDF of the issue. The article about St. Mary’s is on page 15.

St. Mary’s Auxiliary Board’s 5th Annual Gala and Auction will take place Saturday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at The Westin Town Center in Virginia Beach. To reserve tickets, donate, volunteer or request sponsorship information, contact Karen Hibbard at (757) 622-2208 ext. 331 or send her an email

In this photo taken for the magazine, Sister Mary June Morin of St. Mary’s Home (right) listens as Nancy Wilcox of St. Mary’s Auxiliary  reads to Ashley in St. Mary’s library.

Sister Mary June on the Radio

Today, public radio station WHRV 89.5’s “HearSay with Cathy Lewis” program aired a conversation with Sister Mary June Morin, who has worked at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children for 50 years. This was a re-run of the audio portion of an interview with Sister that ran in May on WHRO-TV’s “What Matters,” a program also hosted by Cathy Lewis.

“I can think of few people who matter more, and who have mattered for many, many years, than Sister Mary June Morin, who is the last nun on the job at the St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk,” Lewis said today as she introduced the segment on today’s radio program.

Check out the station’s website to listen to and/or download the show.

Sister Mary June Continues to Conquer the Airwaves

This week, Sister Mary June Morin of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children makes an appearance on the city of Norfolk’s “Norfolk Perspectives” program on cable TV-48, Norfolk’s Neighborhood Network. Host Bob Batcher interviewed her about what it has been like to spend a lifetime caring for children. Sister is celebrating her 50th year of working at SMHDC. You can watch the “City Slice” segment with Sister Mary June here.

That’s Bob Batcher with Sister in the photo at far left; the other photo is of Sister and the program’s producer, Michelle Gabriele Harrell, on the set last week.

This is Sister’s second recent appearance on local television. Just last month, she was featured on the community affairs program “What Matters” on Hampton Roads’ public TV station WHRO.

Sister Mary June: What Matters to St. Mary’s Home

Sister Mary June Morin truly is the heart and soul of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, where she has worked for 50 years. On Friday, May 22, at 8:30 p.m., the community affairs program “What Matters” will devote its entire half hour to Sister Mary June, the last nun at the Home. You can catch the program on WHRO Channel 15 (digital channel 15.1), Hampton Roads’ public television station. To learn more about the program, click here.

Here’s a photo of show host Cathy Lewis, left, and Sister Mary June after they taped an interview on the set last month.
UPDATE: The program is available online here. You will need QuickTime to view it. If you don’t have QuickTime on your computer, you can download the free application here.

The Year of Sister Mary June Keeps Going Strong

William C. Giermak, CEO of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, likes to joke that 2009 is the “Year of Sister Mary June.” She’s been getting some — very well-deserved — attention since celebrating the start of her 50th year with St. Mary’s Home back in February.

An article about Sister Mary June Morin that appeared that month in The Virginian-Pilot has led to a half-hour program about Sister that is expected to air on WHRO, Hampton Roads’ public television station, later this month. Elsie Duval, a member of a women’s group from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Newport News also read that article with interest. She invited Sister to speak to the group and share lunch with them, and Sister did so on Monday.

Sister told the group that she knew in the sixth grade that she had a calling to become a nun. She joined the Daughters of Wisdom right out of high school and spent seven years working at a children’s clinic in Brooklyn before being sent to Norfolk. “If help was needed, that’s where you went,” she said. Decades later, Sister is still dedicated to helping the children and young adults who call St. Mary’s “home.” You can read more about Sister in the spring issue of St. Mary’s newsletter, The Guardian, on our website.

Thank you to the St. Andrew’s women’s group (shown here with Sister, who is seated second from the left) for your hospitality and your gift to St. Mary’s Home in Sister’s honor.

Getting Ready for Her Closeup

Sister Mary June Morin has been featured in The Virginian-Pilot and in her hometown paper in Madawaska, Maine. Now, she’s headed to television.

Sister, who is celebrating 50 years with St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, is going to be the focus of an upcoming episode of “What Matters,” a public affairs program on WHRO, the PBS station in Hampton Roads. (Stay tuned for an update when we find out when the episode is scheduled to air.)
Before sitting down in the studio today to be interviewed by host Cathy Lewis, Sister spent some time in the makeup chair. “I’ve been a makeup artist for 20 years,” Kim Wadsworth said as she worked. “This is the first time I’ve done makeup on a nun.”