Sister Caroline Sports Serving Others

October 25, 2018

Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM, helps children choose books to read at the food pantry at St. John’s Bread and Life in Brooklyn, New York, where she currently works as the associate executive director.

Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM, helps children choose books to read at the food pantry at St. John’s Bread and Life in Brooklyn, New York, where she currently works as the associate executive director.

By Debbi Della Porta

In high school, Sister Caroline Tweedy loved sports and the Sisters of Mercy.

A varsity basketball, volleyball and softball player all four years of high school at Catherine McAuley High School in Brooklyn, after graduation Caroline returned to her alma mater to teach physical education and coach the varsity basketball and volleyball teams.

“As one of the few lay teachers at the time, I worked side by side with the Sisters of Mercy and was enamored by their joy and commitment,” says Sister Caroline who taught there for seven years. “These women were grounded in their faith and lived out the Gospel values to serve others.”

Being Mercy in the World

“I had never thought about religious life,” says Sister Caroline, “But I wanted that same spirit that existed in the school and I wanted to make a difference in the world.”

Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM (right) at her profession with her sponsor, Sister Mary Malachy, RSM (left).

Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM (right) at her profession with her sponsor, Sister Mary Malachy, RSM (left).

So at the age of 24, with the encouragement of Sister Mary Malachy and influence of Sisters Dolores and Isabel Sullivan, she entered the Sisters of Mercy, did a year of service, completed the seven year process of becoming a Sister of Mercy, and finished her master’s degree in administration so she could become a school principal.

Starting at Mercy Home

But the sister in charge of Mercy Home in Brooklyn at the time needed a director of recreation for the children and adults with intellectual disabilities that the program serves. “She thought of me because I was athletic,” says Caroline. “I worked my way from the ground up serving in most of the programs and services. “At one point I was in charge of a group home with 20 autistic teenage boys. Next I worked in personnel for four years, development for eight years and administration for 15 years,” says Caroline. For 27 years, Sister Caroline served people in need at this ministry sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Caroline Tweedy worked for 27 years at Mercy Home in Brooklyn, New York, with children and adults who are developmentally challenged.

Sister Caroline Tweedy worked for 27 years at Mercy Home in Brooklyn, New York, with children and adults who are developmentally challenged.

“I always wanted to work in a soup kitchen or a food pantry though,” she says. Two years ago, she became the associate executive director at St. John’s Bread and Life, the largest emergency food pantry in Brooklyn which also provides medical, legal, housing, employment and spiritual services to people who are homeless and/or hungry.

They serve 3,000 meals a day five days a week in Brooklyn and Queens and have a mobile unit which visits ten different sites daily. They also provide immigration services and teach survival English.

Empowering Others

Sister Caroline manages 28 full-time staff, four part-time staff and the volunteers who give 170,000 hours of service per year. She instills in each employee and volunteer that every person matters. “We empower the people we serve to have control over their life by providing the resources they need,” says Sister Caroline. “We make them feel safe, wanted and respected.”

“If we equip people with the necessary tools, they can be successful,” says Sister Caroline. That success shows in the 18 people who needed services from St. John’s in the past and are now current staff members of the organization helping others.

Now, instead of playing or coaching sports, Sister Caroline walks with people in need bringing them food, spiritual nourishment, respect, care and compassion. She feeds their minds, bodies and spirit!

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  1. Judy Carle

    Inspiring! I don’t think I have met you but I am impressed with your choices in CHOOSING LIFE. They say Mercy.


  2. Bette Maresco

    Caroline, you always had that spark, that saw the good in everyone and in every situation. God bless you


  3. Grace Leggio Agate, RSM

    Caroline how wonderful for you and the people whom you serve.


  4. Maureen Riley-Kraft

    Very proud to know you Caroline. You have done and continue to do amazing things for people all around you.


  5. Marie Carolyn

    MERCY in action! . . . speaking louder than words! WIth our God’s blessing, may you continue to be a blessing to others!


  6. Karen

    So blessed is Brooklyn and every sister and brother who are fed each day with bread that strengthens body, soul and spirit … as well as making a better world of MERCY for all of us. Proud to be your friend


  7. Nancy Donovan

    Wonderful work and commitment, Caroline.


  8. Tony morales

    Sister,you’re the best. Got bless you. You should have been the Ex. Director of sisters of mercy group homes.


  9. Sister Elaine Hanson

    You give of yourself to meet the needs of the poor and needy. Catherine Mc Auley must be smiling as you continue to carry out the Mercy mantra. May Our Lady of Mercy watch over and bless you.


  10. Jackie Moreau

    God works in amazing ways! Thanks for your story.


  11. Jackie Nedd

    Hi Caroline,

    It is good that you are so open to responding to the call to go where ever you are needed. What a wonderful journey in Mercy. Blessing as you continue your ministry in service to the poor.


  12. Mary Birmingham

    Caroline, you were always a ray of sunshine and I see you still carry it. You are my favorite Sister of Mercy.


  13. Sister Elaine Hanson

    You give your all to all you do. Catherine Mc Auley must be smiling on you as you carry out the Mercy Matra. Many Blessings


  14. Sr.Cathleen Cahill

    Way to go, Caroline! Thanks for the inspiration. Cathleen Cahill, RSM


  15. Geraldine Flaherty

    A perfect description of you Sr. Caroline. You are a true daughter of Catherine McAuley!