Sr. Jeremiah O’Sullivan, MFIC

“Forty years I’ve been a teacher. I think being a teacher is an activist.”


Interviewee: Sr. Jeremiah O’Sullivan, MFIC

Interviewer: Amanda G., Grade 12

Interview Date: October 17, 2014

Interview Location: Mount Alvernia, Newton, MA

I interviewed Sister Jeremiah O’Sullivan who is an activist and a Nun. When I asked her what she believes activism is, she answered simply, “the basis of Catholic Religion is who is your neighbor.” Sister Jeremiah O’Sullivan’s life as an activist has taken her to Pine Street Inn, which is a temporary home for homeless men located in Boston, all the way to the South in Georgia. Her love and respect for human dignity has radiated through her work. When she was teaching in Georgia she struggled at times and stated, “I went to school with kids of all different races, it was hard to see.” (8:24-9:40) By “see” Sister Jeremiah is referring to the segregation in the south and what it was like to witness discrimination. She has an experience in which she witnessed a car accident of an African American man colliding with a white American mans car. Sister spoke to me about the incident , “whether it was his fault or it wasn’t his fault, it was his fault.” (9:33) However, she persevered and enjoyed teaching the African American children, “ I believe through education, they could get out of it.” “It” being their discriminatory surroundings. Sister Jeremiah was proud of her work and she expressed that the families and children were very appreciative. She mentions that African American parents were tough on their kids in the best way possible because they wanted their children to be successful. After her exciting experiences and generous services she returned to Boston where she continues helping at Pine Street and working at Mt.Alvernia with students.


“ Worked at Pine Street for nineteen years. We served supper every Friday night”

“Forty years I’ve been a teacher. I think being a teacher is an activist.”

“Schools for white kids and non-white kids, and we taught the non-white kids and they were poor and I think that’s the best way to get them out of poverty.”

“Some men had their supper and then they were back out on the street for the night.”

“In the winter time, when it was snowing, they would put them everywhere – they would sleep on the floor in the dining room just so they didn’t have to go out in the cold.”

“I felt very welcomed wherever I went and they were glad to help us…compared to what they went through I was blessed”

“My parents have because they were good people. They were very willing to help other people not in the sense of being an activist but that is just who they were.”