Loretto Sister Dunphy served 66 years

Julie Filby

Colorado native Sister Carol Dunphy, 92, a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross for 66 years, died Feb. 19 at the order’s motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky.

Sister Dunphy helped establish Loretto’s first mission in South America. She also served in the Archdiocese of Denver for more than 25 years, primarily as an administrative assistant at the order’s central office in Denver from 1982 to 2002. She also served with the Vietnamese Resettlement Committee of Denver Catholic Community Services from 1973 to 1975, as a secretary to the Colorado Catholic Conference in 1976, and social advocate on the sisters’ central staff from 1980 to 1982.

Sister Carol retired to the Motherhouse Infirmary in Nerinx in 2003, where she resided until her death. There she was resident electrician, engineer, plumber and carpenter.

“With her own fix-it tools, Sister Carol could repair leaky faucets, crumbling stairs, VCRs and practically any other piece of equipment that went on the blink,” according to a statement from the order. “Her calm capability made her unflappable in emergencies. (She was) a Denver Broncos fan, she also loved the outdoors.”

Carol Mae Dunphy was born March 12, 1922, in Eastlake, Colo., the first of four children to Arthur John and Edith Louise (Molholm) Dunphy. After graduating from high school in 1940 she attended business college, then in 1943 she joined the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and worked in a Navy communications offices in San Francisco and Pearl Harbor.

She was discharged in December 1945 and attended Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, Mo. In 1949, she entered the Sisters of Loretto, the same congregation her younger sister, Lois, had entered in 1941. She was received into the order Dec. 8, 1949, taking the name Sister Peter Michael. She made her first vows in 1951 and her final vows in 1955.

Sister Dunphy earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in Spanish and education, from Webster College in 1952, a master’s in English from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1959, and a master’s in community development from the University of Louisville in 1970.

From 1952 to 1957, she taught at Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves then as director of St. Joseph Residence Hall at Loretto Heights College in Denver from 1957 to 1959, before being appointed superior and principal at Bishop Toolen High School, Mobile, Ala.

In 1960, she was the congregation’s first superior of its mission to La Paz, Bolivia. In 1962, she became regional superior for all Loretto missions in South America. In 1963, she was named principal of Colegio Loreto in La Paz.

Sister Carol returned to the United States in 1967 to teach at Loretto High School in Louisville, Ky. and was principal from 1971 to 1973. In the Archdiocese of Louisville, she was administrative assistant to the Senate of Religious from 1973 to 1975.

A funeral Mass was celebrated for Sister Dunphy Feb. 24 at the Church of the Seven Dolors at the motherhouse and she was buried at Loretto Motherhouse Cemetery. She is survived by two sisters, Loretto Sister Lois Dunphy of Nerinx, and Phyllis Brachle of Denver. Memorials may be sent to the Loretto Development Office, 4000 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80123.

COMING UP: New president seeks to advance mission of Arrupe Jesuit HS to underserved families

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The newly-elected president of Arrupe Jesuit High School, Michael J. O’Hagan, will seek to serve students and families in the Jesuit tradition of providing a well-rounded, Catholic formation.

“My vision remains rooted in the original vision of the school, which is to serve families and students who, for many reasons beyond their own control, have been traditionally underserved,” O’Hagan said. “I want to make sure that Arrupe is always connected to its mission of serving young people and families in this Jesuit Catholic tradition.”

O’Hagan was the founding principal of Arrupe Jesuit High School when it opened in 2003 after a lay initiative to bring Catholic education back to the center city of Denver.

Bringing Catholic education back, however, meant new challenges: The area was mostly populated by low-income families who could not afford private education. Thus, the goal of making Catholic education affordable became a primary mission.

The founders took on the work-study model of Chicago’s Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which allowed students to implement work into their education with a two-fold purpose: Gaining real-life formation while paying for their college prep education.

“It’s a dynamic relationship with the metro area and business community,” O’Hagan said. “Our young people have an experience of the real world that they can connect to their classroom lessons and affords them an opportunity to see a future they didn’t always know existed.”

Arrupe JHS students work 5 days a month and earn a total of around $2.5 million for the school.

My vision remains rooted in the original vision of the school, which is to serve families and students who, for many reasons beyond their own control, have been traditionally underserved.”

The new president’s role will have a greater focus on strengthening the existing relationships with entities that help the advancement of the school through this work-study program. As principal, his responsibility was more internally-focused on faculty, staff and students.

“I’m excited to be able to build partnerships within the business community and benefactors,” he said. “People are drawn to the mission of Arrupe because they’re drawn to our students. It’s the mission of Arrupe that allows us to connect with so many people.”

Over 130 organizations now contribute to the mission of the school, allowing all 420 students to share full-time, entry-level positions in a wide variety of fields including education, health and engineering.

Family-oriented

Other than making sure bills get paid, O’Hagan assured that his responsibility extends to keeping and advancing the Jesuit Catholic identity of the school. This reality calls for a clear understanding of the needs of the students and an integration of families, he said.

Ninety-three percent of students at Arrupe are Hispanic and the other seven percent include African Americans and African refugees.

Some of the challenges that students face on a personal level include being separated from loved ones due to deportation and experiencing trauma and violence due to the realities of the neighborhoods they live in. Nonetheless, O’Hagan assures that the faculty and staff go beyond these facts when defining the kids.

“We’re very aware of the challenges they face, but we’ve made an intentional decision – one that is firmly rooted in the Gospel – to define our kids by their talents and their gifts,” he said. “We often describe ourselves as a school of dreams, the dreams of our kids and the dreams of their moms and grandparents.”

Arrupe JHS takes families seriously. It knows that if the richness given to the students is not shared by the family, it has failed.

For this reason, the school provides many resources for them and also lets them know that they are welcome, highlighting the key role they play in their children’s education.

We’re very aware of the challenges they face, but we’ve made an intentional decision – one that is firmly rooted in the Gospel – to define our kids by their talents and their gifts.”

Families are considered and helped from the application process itself throughout the four years of education by way of workshops and gatherings that help them understand their children’s progress and education.

“We don’t want families to feel like their kids are having an experience of high school that is separate from their families. We want them to have a shared experience,” O’Hagan stated.

After so many years of work in the mission of making the school facilities, staff and mission reflect the dignity and potential of every student, the new president is mostly grateful for the support received.

“I am grateful for the support that Arrupe has received from the community through our first 15 years. We haven’t been successful because we’ve been isolated,” he assured. “We have been successful because of the many partnerships we have built across the city, state and country.”