Remembering Sister Harriet (Harriet Christine) Cutting (1934-2024)

“God is good.”

-St. Julie Billiart

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Light.”

-John 14:

Harriet Cutting was born and raised in Waltham, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of five children, but because her sibling closest in age was sixteen years older than she, Harriet found herself mostly among adults. She never attended Catholic schools, but met the Sisters of Notre Dame in her weekly catechism classes. After high school, she earned a degree and credential at State Teachers College in Framingham, Massachusetts, and began her teaching career in the Springfield Public School System in 1956. She enjoyed her teaching years and in 1961 decided to enter the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. She continued to teach and had many memorable experiences, both challenging and enjoyable. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of Connecticut.

After earning another Masters’ degree, this time in Pastoral Ministry, Sister Harriet moved to Salem, New Hampshire, and accepted a position as Director of Religious Education. This, she felt, was her life’s work. Because of her own history as a public school student who attended religion classes on weekends, she understood what children and teenagers needed in their religious education. One summer, she and Sister Catherine O’Brien spent eight weeks doing a Practicum on “Family Religious Education” with two wonderful mentors in Alexandria, Virginia. This was a real breakthrough for Harriet; the incorporation of parents with their young students. Harriet brought this program back with her to her parish in New Hampshire and it caught on. Religious Education classes moved from the parish into individual homes, with participation of parents and their children. They all became learners in a totally new environment which led to new ways of learning.

Harriet continued in this rewarding work in New Hampshire from 1975 until she officially retired in 2011. She then became involved in various volunteer ministries, each of which she enjoyed.

At the time of her 60th Jubilee, Sister Harriet expressed gratitude for so many things. Her life had been transformative.

She expressed gratitude for the variety of experiences she had, growing up in the “Old Church” (pre-Vatican II) and entering the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur just as the Church was moving into a new era. She was part of the transformation of religious community life and mission, which is still ongoing. Moreover, having a public school education gave her a very different perspective from many others.

Sister Harriet Cutting went home to her good God on February 16, 2024, at the age of 89 and after 63 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. Her funeral took take place at Notre Dame du Lac in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Friday, February 23.

Sister Harriet's Ministries


1963-67 St. Mary School, Lynn, Mass.
1967-70 Star of the Sea School, Marblehead, Mass.
1970-73 St. Joseph School, Salem, N.H. (Religious Education)
1973-75 Lynn, Mass.

Parish Ministry

1975-85 Salem, N.H.
1985-88 Durham, N.H.
1988-99 Milford, N.H.
1999-11 Meredith, N.H.
2011-15 Parish Volunteer Ministries