Sister Thérèse (Tracy) Dill entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on September 12, 1965 at Ilchester, Maryland. On the occasion of her 50th Jubilee in 2015, she shared the following:
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were a total, wonderful surprise in my life! As the third of Alma and Irving Dill’s four children, I was to be educated by the Sisters of Mercy as had several generations of the women in my mother’s family in Georgia. But Mt. St. Agnes High School in Baltimore was closing. So there I sat in a “castle” being interviewed by Sister Superior Genevieve Mary and talking biology and sports with Sister Regina Finnegan. I received an outstanding education at Maryvale! My interest in all things scientific was encouraged, Julie Billiart’s life and mission challenged me, I first read Teilhard de Chardin, and the Catholic faith, so alive in my parents, became my own.
The surprises kept coming. As a novice I taught middle school at Little Flower School in Great Mills, Md. I fell in “love” with teaching, doing it well and keeping the students at its heart! Science and science education became a lifetime passion. After completing my Biology degree at Trinity College I returned to middle school Science teaching, mostly in Brooklyn, N.Y. where the diversity of cultures and languages in the school and parish was a challenge and a blessing that I hold dear to this day.
Since receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in Biology from the University of Maryland, I have had the privilege of being teacher, advisor and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students for almost 30 years at the University of Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University and Loyola College Maryland. St. Julie Billiart reminded her sisters that, “In the schools teach whatever is necessary to equip the students for life.” The greatest challenge is often helping students to understand that science is an active, ongoing way of knowing their world; a world dominated by what science has wrought.
Being a part of someone’s learning is a profound privilege. I am grateful to my students for their trust in me and for all that they have taught me. The broad, steady shoulders of my family, the Sisters in Notre Dame and my many teachers, colleagues and mentors have given me the firm ground upon which to build these 50 years. They have been a joy and always a surprise!