My Friendship with a Sister of Mercy

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If you had suggested to Scott Herman, a student at Brooklyn College in the late seventies, that a Catholic nun would play a significant role in his life, he might have thought you were joking.  But life is unpredictable and that is exactly what happened. 

“My 44-year friendship with Sister Camille D’Arienzo began in a Brooklyn College classroom in 1977.  I had just changed my major from Psychology to TV/Radio and was lucky enough to have Sister Camille as my professor for the Broadcast Speech & Writing class.  To say that class changed my life is an understatement.  What I found in Sister Camille was a supportive, inspiring professor who applauded my work at the college radio station and encouraged me to make Radio my life’s work.   

Throughout my college years I spent a great deal of time with Sister Camille.  I’d visit her office to talk, to complain, to get advice and occasionally I would accompany her and other Sisters of Mercy in their outreach ministries to the poor.  One such time that stands out in my memory was a trip to New York City at Thanksgiving, to bring food to the homeless at the Bowery Mission.  Sister Camille was my teacher in and out of the classroom.   

Fast forward…Sister Camille was and still is a Religion Commentator on 1010 WINS RADIO in New York City.  She recommended me for an internship at the station in 1978.  Because of her referral that interview turned into a job as a News Production Assistant.  That job turned into another job and I somehow managed to spend my entire 39-year career working for Westinghouse and CBS, receiving fourteen promotions over the years which culminated with me being named the Chief Operating Officer in 2015.   

Each year, when I received my bonus from work, the first check I wrote was to the Sisters of Mercy, in honor of Sister Camille.  Then Sister Camille and I founded the Evening of Mercy Advisory Board, which we co-chaired.  For twenty years, under the direction of the Advisory Board, an annual Evening of Mercy gathering was held, this event raised nearly two million dollars for the Sisters and their ministries; my wife and I were proud sponsors of the Evening of Mercy each year.  I’ve now included the Sisters in my will, so long after my wife and I are gone, we’ve made sure that the Sisters will not be forgotten, they will receive a share of our life’s savings.    

Through my friendship with Sister Camille I have been lucky enough to meet many Sisters of Mercy over the years and see the good work they do and the people they help.  In this world, where people find it hard to get along, it’s amazing that a Catholic nun and a Jewish kid from Brooklyn were able to form this unbreakable bond.  She was at our wedding, celebrated the births of our three children and their bar and bat-mitzvahs, she rejoiced when our grandchildren came along and cried with us at the deaths of loved ones.  Sister Camille is one of a kind and I love her with all my heart, as does my entire family.”