From Then to Now
From then to now. . .
Back in 1992 when the Felician Sisters arrived in Kingstree, five young children came to the back porch of the convent to do their homework, have a snack and chat with the Sisters about their lives. Remembering the wisdom of our mentors who told us to “fall in love with the people and they will call forth from you what they need, not what you think they need” these “founding” children did just that. You see, after school programs were not in vogue in 1992 and this fit perfectly in the Felician response to the needs of the times.
Let me tell you about one of the “founders”. Cheryl Brown was then about 11 years old and lived down the street with her family. She was a take charge kind of girl (some say bossy), studied well and demonstrated ambition. Sometimes, she and I locked horns because we were much of the same!
Cheryl enjoyed her high school years and after high school, Cheryl went to the College of Charleston for two years majoring in nursing. She became pregnant, dropped out of school to raise her lovely daughter. As the daughter grew and grandmother, Gail, helped out, Cheryl decided she needed to direct her life and joined AmeriCorps. She moved to Kentucky to do her service, got an apartment, purchased a vehicle, moved her daughter with her and set up her household. Oftentimes, Cheryl would return and visit us with her stories of how she loved working in a nursing home etc.
Over some time, Cheryl returned to Kingstree to be with family but knew the opportunities were too limited and became determined to complete her nursing degree. Cheryl married and has three daughters who truly are “little Cheryls” in many ways. The girls came to the Felician Center to enjoy the learning environment and experiences that it provided for a few years. Cheryl then had the opportunity to return to school in Sumter, South Carolina, so the move was made by the whole family.
In August 2014, Cheryl completed her nursing studies, passed her boards and became Cheryl Brown, RN. Her daughters tell everyone that their mother is a “real” nurse. You see oftentimes, Cheryl would practice everything on them at home! Cheryl is now 34 years old and the journey may have taken her longer than for some others. There are times Cheryl says that she “listened to what the Sisters told her mother and then she put it into practice with her own family”.
Many Sisters, our families, benefactors and friends have known Cheryl and her family through the years. She represents the “difference” one can make in another’s life one at a time.
Submitted by Sister M Susanne Dziedzic