Eleanore McCarthy was born on the Feast of St. Scholastica, February 10th. Little did she know that her entire life would be touched by the spirit of Scholastica and Benedict--the co-founders of the Benedictine tradition.
Even before Eleanore's birth, her mother had taken piano lessons from the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago. When Eleanore was six years old, her family moved into the neighborhood of St. Scholastica Monastery. She attended St. Scholastica Academy, graduating in 1944. Later, she married John McCarthy and they had ten children including five daughters (Kathleen, Margaret, Sheila, Eleanore, and Ruth), all of whom would follow in her footsteps and attend their mother's alma mater.
Eleanore, true to the strong spirit of St. Scholastica, graduated from Marquette University and became the first speech therapist in the Glenbrook-Northbrook school system of Illinois. She developed a method of combined dance and speech therapy which was very popular with students and parents alike. She was also a long-time volunteer at soup kitchens, Resurrection Hospital, and St. Paul of the Cross Parish.
It was later in her life that she returned to the monastery to study again. This time, she studied to become a Benedictine Oblate. She made her "oblation," or her profession, in 1990.
Eleanore passed away in December. An honoree at the monastery's 2008 Testimonial Dinner, she said, "I love the spirit of the Rule," referring to the Rule of St. Benedict that is the foundation of the Benedictine tradition. Indeed, Eleanore not only loved its spirit, but lived it throughout her life. For the Feast of St. Scholastica this year, we not only remember the saint, but also Eleanore who lived in her footsteps.