The Founders award recognizes the tireless dedication of individuals to the ideals and values of our founders, the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill

2017 Founders Award Honoree

Sr. Marie Hess, O.P., Class of 1973

Sr. Marie has been a Dominican Sister of Sparkill for 63 years. She was born and raised in the South Bronx, NY. Having attended St. Rita’s elementary school (educated by the Dominican Sisters), she went on to Yorkville High School in Manhattan for two years. She finished her high school education at Thorpe Secretarial School in Manhattan, where again she was taught by the Dominican Sisters. Sr. Marie’s college years started at Fordham University before transferring to STAC where she received her Bachelor of Science in Education. Post graduate work was pursued at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, Yonkers, where she achieved a certificate in Religious Studies and an additional certificate from course work at Hunter College.

Sr. Marie spent 15 years as a classroom teacher in elementary schools in the NY Archdiocese. In 1972 she began her now 45 years in the field of child care at Cardinal McCloskey Community Services with offices located originally in White Plains, NY and presently in Valhalla, NY.

OSr. Marie embodies the mission of Cardinal McCloskey’s which is to “Protect, empower, and promote independence for at-risk children and families and those with developmental disabilities through quality community based services.” Since 1946, Cardinal McCloskey Community Services has helped protect some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. From children and teens who have suffered neglect and trauma to adults with developmental disabilities. They advocate and serve to protect and enrich the lives of those in need. Throughout her 45 years at Cardinal McCloskey, Sr. Marie has been teacher, mentor, tutor, and friend to many. She has helped to develop Religious Education classes, group home programs and activities, and a Life-Skills weekend program for the teens. Sr. Marie has ‘moved’ the teens into college dorms, and upon completion of their undergraduate education, into apartments. When talking to any of the Cardinal McCloskey alum, they refer to Sr. Marie as a ‘dynamic nun’ who certainly has taught them a lot! And for this they are grateful! When you speak with Sr. Marie she says ‘it is the Cardinal McCloskey youth/the teens who are blessing in her life’.

In 2002 Sr. Marie was awarded the Child Welfare Fund Best Practices award for being instrumental in changing child welfare for the better. In 2014 she was inducted into the Cardinal McCloskey Hall of Fame for demonstrating the mission and values of Cardinal McCloskey. When being introduced, it was shared: ‘The relationship you develop, the guidance you provide and your unwavering faith in the potential of others, is an example and inspiration to all at CM. For this and much more we are forever grateful.’ Sr. Marie is a former board member for Catholic Charities of the NY Archdiocese, serving on the committee for Religious Education programs.

Sr. Marie is grateful and humbled to be receiving the 2017 Founders Award from St. Thomas Aquinas College, believing in its mission ‘To Enlighten the Mind though Truth’. For the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, Sr. Marie is truly a Woman Making a Difference.

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit students, current and future, through the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill Scholarship Fund.



Past Founders Award Honorees