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Sisters of St. Joseph honor Eileen Connors at annual dinner

Eileen Connors and her family are pictured at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston's annual Living the Dream Dinner April 27. Connors was honored with the sisters' Dear Neighbor Award. Pilot photo/courtesy Sisters of St. Joseph

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BRIGHTON -- It was a special evening April 27 as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston honored Eileen Connors and her family with the Dear Neighbor Award at the sisters' annual Living the Dream Dinner.

Sister Rosemary Brennan, CSJ, president, presented the award saying, "We present this award in recognition that Eileen, throughout her life, has truly lived the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph by her continued outreach and care for the dear neighbor and the manner in which she does ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Eileen has done this through her social work and counseling in the more needy areas of Boston, by being a foster care and adoption advisor, by generously serving on numerous non-profit boards and by raising four wonderful children with her husband Jack."

Guest speaker, Mark Waters of ReMARKable Cleanouts, was enthusiastic and entertaining. Waters spoke from the heart as he told his story of his connection to many Sisters of St. Joseph saying, "This is a story of a young man who was lost but found himself because the Sisters of St. Joseph never gave up on him. The Sisters of St. Joseph have been giving so much to so many for all these years. Let none of us ever forget them. Thank you, Sisters, for never giving up on me. I am living the dream and also touching people's lives as the sisters touched mine."

The dinner took place at the Seaport Hotel where Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV, emcee for the evening, remarked on the sisters' incredible 143 years of history, of lives touched, schools opened, and changes seen.

"It's a night to reflect on these sisters who are committed to community, connection, and family, these sisters who rally around people in need without judgement," Hughes said.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was also present and expressed gratitude for the scores of Catholic schools the sisters have staffed and the thousands upon thousands of children whose lives have been touched. "We're here to thank them," Cardinal O'Malley said.

Another special moment was the premier of "Serving the Dear Neighbor," a short video featuring the experience and ministries of five "retired" Sisters of St. Joseph. The video demonstrated just a few of the ways in which sisters continue to recreate themselves in order to be of service where there is a need or where they can build relationships and forward the mission of Jesus in today's world.

At the conclusion of the evening, Sister Gail Donahue, a member of the CSJ Leadership Team, began to thank the 350 dinner attendees for their ongoing support when Jack Connors made a surprise appearance on stage. Connors challenged those present to expand this generosity and within minutes the $705,000 that had been raised increased to $750,000.

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