Sister Nancy Cahill’s ministry was the education of children and adults. She began her career as a teacher in elementary schools in Illinois and Iowa and then as principal of St. Eugene School in Fox Point, Wisconsin. This ministry was grounded in her own education which included a BA and MA from Saint Xavier University, Chicago in English; an MA from Loyola University, Chicago in education with a specialization in early childhood education; and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in education.
Nancy’s commitment to education extended to the preparation of teachers. She encouraged aspiring teachers to gain knowledge about the variety of ways in which children learn and to respect students’ individual differences and cultures. She traveled extensively in support of her philosophy of teaching. A visit to the Sisters of Mercy-sponsored schools in New Zealand to observe the whole language approach to reading was a highlight for her.
Like Catherine McAuley, Nancy believed in the power of education to change the lives of women and children. She served on the board of the Southwest Women’s Crisis Center, assisting in designing programs for the clients of the shelter in the area of parenting skills and child development.
At the time of her retirement after thirty years at Saint Xavier University, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. At the presentation it was said, “Dr. Nancy Cahill is a respected educator, a valued committee member, a pillar of grace, spirituality and enthusiasm in the university.”
In the community of Mercy Circle, Nancy had a warm, welcoming smile and a fun-loving sense of humor. She was a generous volunteer and actively supported activities and events.