Sister Monica Daniel Madden

“Better mistakes than paralysis."
-St. Julie Billiart

As the youngest child of Monica and Daniel Madden, I arrived eight years after my brother, Danny, on my sister Maureen’s tenth birthday. When I was five years old I was introduced to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at St. Joseph’s School in Somerville, Mass. It was not a good introduction! At that time they had a full day kindergarten and I did not like the welcome of the Sister greeting me and ran away down the street with my confused mother in hot pursuit across Union Square.

In 1948, Maureen entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and each month our family went to Waltham for a visit. Sitting in straight chairs in a large room with other families was not enjoyable. Maureen was happy, but it did not look like much fun to me. As a sophomore I told my mother I wanted to be a minister’s wife because I could have children and still serve God. Her response to my plan was, “Oh, really?” Yet, as I finished high school in 1958, I’ll admit the idea of following Maureen into Notre Dame was in the back of my mind. The Sisters in my school looked happy too, but I had other plans first. I entered the work force. For six months, I was an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Education and for the next six, I enjoyed working in the office of the MBTA. But the idea of trying to be a Sister of Notre Dame was still there and I decided to “test the waters” of religious life.

So here I am in 2019 with 60 years invested in the charism of Notre Dame with big dividends.

My first assignment was a junior high teacher and to this day I have a deep love and concern for children, especially teenagers. In 1974, I changed roles and became a pastoral associate. The variety energized me. Every day was different, and visiting homes, hospitals and nursing homes called for creativity and flexibility in response.

At my time of Jubilee in 2019, I am most grateful that life continually changes and what was of paramount importance yesterday slips down a few rungs sometimes in a very short time. Friends and the openness of people has provided me with much inspiration as they live life to the fullest and challenge me to do the same. St. Julie’s quote “Better mistakes than paralysis” affords me that sense of freedom, change and new frontiers. My heart is filled with gratitude as my 60th jubilee emerges.



St. Thomas School, Peabody, MA
St. Michael School, Hudson, MA
St. Augustine School, Andover, MA
Fitton High School, East Boston, MA
St. Laurence School, Lawrence, MA- Principal
Fitton High School, East Boston, MA
Notre Dame Education Center, South Boston, MA

Pastoral Ministry

St. Joseph, Parish, Amesbury, MA
St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Medford, MA
St. John Parish, Townsend, MA
St. Augustine Parish, Lawrence, MA
St. Athanasius Parish, Reading, MA


City of Boston, Public Facilities Department, Boston, MA – Personnel Director