We remember with joy the life and spirit of Sr. Marie Paula McNiff who died on April 28, 2020. She was a lover of her roots in South Boston, MA and the SNDdeNs who taught her at St. Augustine's! Pauline McNiff entered on August 7, 1944; how she loved her band [of Sisters who entered at the same time as she did].
Her first mission took her to St. Mary School in Cambridge as a fifth grade teacher. In 1953, she was missioned to Japan where she served for 14 years in Okayama, Hiroshima and Niigata. How she loved her communities and ministry as high school teacher, directress of boarders in Okayama and as community sacristan. After the death of loved ones, she did not to return to Japan.
In Massachusetts, she became known as a spirited and superb teacher of religious studies and English in junior high and high schools! She taught briefly at Fitton in East Boston, some years in Julie Country Day School, Leominster, and at St. Charles School, Woburn. She served in the high school at the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro for 24 years. She is known and loved for her teaching techniques in English, especially in one-woman shows, and in her mentoring of younger teachers. She inspired her Mission Moderators to support all the Notre Dame missions and people living in poverty in the Merrimack Valley and elsewhere.
One teacher wrote: "She was the funniest and kindest woman that I have worked with." Another said that "Those fortunate to work with SMP or have her as a teacher probably received a loving note from her at some point or an unexpected kind word in the hallways." Her Sisters remember her love, loyalty, and the birthday cards and notes she sent when they needed support.
After leaving Tyngsboro, she volunteered for three years to tutor first graders in St. Margaret School in Lowell! She went to Ipswich in 2011 and Notre Dame Long Term Care Center in September 2019. One alumna just wrote: "In Freshman Year, Sr. Marie Paula said to me 'We make a life by what we give.' Oh, what a life she made!"
– Anne Stevenson, SNDdeN
St. Mary School, Cambridge, MA
St. Mary School, Lawrence, MA
Cardinal Cushing High School, South Boston, MA
Fitton Central High School, East Boston, MA
Julie Country Day School, Leominster, MA
St. Charles Elementary School, Woburn, MA
Academy of Notre Dame, Tyngsboro, MA