Sister Dolores, the principal of the all-girls Fontbonne Hall Academy [9901 Shore Road] may be tough, but there’s nothing she expects of her students that she doesn’t do herself.
According to a recent New York Times article by Michael Winerip, the daily rhythms of Sister Dolores’ dedication include arriving at the Catholic prep school most mornings by 6 a.m. “If lucky, she’s back at her convent in Park Slope by 6 p.m. for supper and prayers.”
According to the piece, Sister Dolores once jumped out of her 2004 Toyota Corolla to stop a senior from drinking a beer on the street. She reportedly poured the can’s contents into the gutter, explained that as a certified alcohol counselor she could have the girl arrested, and then stood there to make sure the girl called her parents to inform them that she had been drinking.
One tough nun. But one whom is considered to be fair and is beloved by both former and current students.
Stephen Gordon told the Times that after Sister Dolores, his daughter Danielle, class of 2011, was ready for the eight-week basic training program at West Point military academy, known as “Beast.”
And when Danielle Gordon considered dropping out of West Point, it was Sister Dolores’ encouragement that helped kept her going.
“Sister is good at calming you down, she is very big on taking deep breaths,” Alessandra Fodera, a current student who will be attending Georgetown University in the fall, said.
Sister Dolores isn’t above grabbing a plunger for a backed up toilet, or donning a hardhat to inspect a high rise building going up across from the school.
Her salary from Fontbonne, as well as the money she makes from a private counseling practice, all goes to her religious order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph. In return, she receives a living stipend of a few hundred dollars a month as part of the vow of poverty she took upon becoming a nun in 1968.
The Times article speculates that, due to the wide range of opportunities available to young women today – as well as the glass ceiling of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy – “it is unlikely that there are many more Sister Doloreses on the way.”
It will certainly be difficult to find a woman willing to balance a multimillion- dollar budget, manage a full staff of instructors, graduate 132 college-bound young women of good moral character, as well as run a private substance abuse counseling practice, all for room, board, and a few hundred dollars a month.