When he began writing to Sister Grace Mary Pucillo, Malvern Prep student Greg Miller had no idea that she taught his teacher, the Rev. Thomas Meehan, O.S.A. in the first grade – and neither did Fr. Thom, who knew her as Sister Regina Loretta at Most Blessed Sacrament School in Southwest Philadelphia.
Fr. Thom’s eighth grade church history class had been writing to the retired Sisters at Camilla Hall since the fall, but it wasn’t until last Easter season, when he went to Camilla Hall to hear confessions, did Fr. Thom put two and two together. Fr. Thom learned that upon retirement, Sister Grace Mary returned to her baptismal name. To his delight, Sister Grace Mary remembered Fr. Thom and when she taught him, even though there were 138 boys in one classroom, as he remembers.
“He was a great student, but always talking!” she recalled.
This long-awaited reunion was possible because of the outreach that Malvern students made to the sisters last year. The project started out with each student in Fr. Thom’s class writing a Thanksgiving card and a letter to two sisters at Camilla Hall. The boys wrote about what was happening in their lives and at Malvern Prep. The sisters wrote back, and each boy was given another sister to write to. The boys sent Christmas cards with photos, a letter just after the New Year, and Easter cards. They read the letters they received back from the sisters in class.
“It is so wonderful to get your letters,” Sister Grace Mary said to Greg as she met him for the first time when the Malvern boys visited their pen pals the past May. “It is good to see you.”
The boys very much enjoyed getting the letters from the sisters, Fr. Thom said, and were excited to read them in class. And the sisters are so happy to hear about the Catholic education the boys are receiving at Malvern.
Malvern student Brian Tatlow corresponded with Sister Mary Cyril Meehan throughout the year. “Very beautiful letters,” Sister Mary Cyril said, about all kinds of things – and a lot about sports, especially the Phillies, who she gets out to see at the ballpark two or three times a year.
Brian, who said that it has been a great experience to keep in touch with his friends at Camilla Hall, said that he and Sister Mary Cyril will keep writing to each other. And with the up-an-down season the Phillies have been having, they are sure to be interesting letters.