The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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April 27, 2014

Sister-Grandma

Sister Sandy is a different breed of nun

SHARON — Sister Sandy Pedone is not your typical Catholic nun.

“I’m a different breed,” Sister Sandy said.

She’s referring to her life before she was called to the order of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.

“She’s a mom and a grandma, which gives her a whole different perspective,” Rev. Glenn Whitman, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Sharon, said. “She’s unique.”

Sister Sandy, 71, holds the official title of director of religious education at St. Joseph Church for kindergarten through grade 11. She also coordinates services for the sacraments and is a spiritual director.

Those who have worked closely with her over the past 16 years she’s been at St. Joseph, would say there’s much more to her than that.

“My oldest grandchild once called me Sister-Grandma,” she laughed. “I love what I do. I love the people. I love to laugh.”

Sister Sandy is known for her quick, comedic wit.

“She has a good sense of humor,” Whitman said.

As she sat at her desk facing the door, Sister Sandy poked fun at whomever dared walk past.

“She’s funny, she has a big heart, and she works too much,” Jill Stanek, St. Joseph religious education teacher, said. “If she was sitting here with us right now, you’d never know she was a nun,” Stanek said.

Sister Sandy makes no apologies.

“I am who I am and I’m not going to act like I’m not,” Sister Sandy said. “I want to be real. I want to be who I am.”

Her path to sisterhood started when she was very young.

She recalled dressing as a nun for Halloween and how it planted the idea of her possibly choosing that profession one day.

“I thought about it every now and again after that,” Sister Sandy said. “Then I got married and had kids.”

She was married for 22 years and had five children with her husband before their marriage was annulled. She’s now the grandmother of seven.

Sister Sandy worked at Ohio Edison as a secretary for 16 years, part of the time as a single mom.

While raising her kids, she was very involved with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary and when her children were all grown, she became an associate, then a candidate in 1994, a novitiate in 1996, and she professed her temporary vows in 1998.

Stanek has worked closely with Sister Sandy from her first day at St. Joseph. Stanek attended the ceremony when she professed her perpetual vows in 2002.

She pointed out that Sister Sandy has had a myriad of life experience. She worked in the private sector, she was a single mom, and she’s had her share of heartache and health problems.

“She’s relatable because she’s been in the world,” Stanek said. “And she never complains.”

Rev. Whitman said Sister Sandy goes above and beyond what is called for in her job description.

In addition to coordinating the events for every sacrament, holding retreats for kids, daily religious education, overseeing details for all the services held at the church, including altar servers, all the way to the Easter egg hunt every year, Sister Sandy finished her college degree last year in spiritual direction.

“She is great at just listening to people,” Whitman said.

Stanek said Sister Sandy does everything from start to finish in every event she manages. She takes care of every little detail including typing and ordering the food.

“It’s the little things she does for people,” Stanek said. “And she’s a mom and grandma and she’s still there for them (her family).”

Sister Sandy said she loves the life she’s chosen. As a secretary for years, she left her work at the office, but that’s not the case in a spiritual profession.

“We chose this life and a life of service,” she said. “You just can’t walk away. You take it with you.”

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