Sister Susan Fitzmorris, born in Olympia, Wash., is a reflection of her parents. She inherited her mother’s respect and caring for everyone. Her delight in reading is a legacy from her father. Theirs was a family of 10 children with love at the center.
Susan was taught by the Sisters of Providence at St. Michael’s School and entered the novitiate at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, in 1948. She professed first vows in 1950. Assigned to teach, she panicked when she taught the week’s lessons in one day. Sister Francella, assigned as her mentor, “the best thing that ever happened to me,” assured her that she could teach the same thing every day all week.
For 23 years, Sister Susan taught a range of grades and subjects in Seattle, Walla Walla, Vancouver and Moxee, Wash., Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, and at St. Finbar’s and Providence High School in Burbank, Calif. Summers at the College of Great Falls while living at St. Thomas Home led to a bachelor of science degree in education.
“There was something about every place that I taught that I enjoyed,” she recalls, but her time in Fairbanks stood out. The Sisters of Providence there, teachers and nurses, formed a large community that shared fun and trips together.
When Sister Susan left teaching in 1974, she began working with elderly sisters at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, and discovered she loved that role just as much. Over the next 20 years she moved from assistant superior to team member/assistant coordinator, then to housekeeper at nearby Mount St. Vincent and later as supervisor of housekeeping and laundry at The Mount.
One of her delights while at The Mount was working in its training program for physically and mentally challenged young people. She was thrilled to see them learn new skills and use them in housekeeping, laundry and maintenance jobs. The reward was in caring enough to help each one learn in the best way for them, she explains.
After her retirement in 1994, Sister Susan volunteered at the Emilie Shop at The Mount for many years. She also managed the storeroom for used furniture at Caritas Court. Now at St. Joseph Residence, Sister Susan enjoys reading and cheering for the Mariners on television.