1961

From Br. Terence McLaughlin’s 2008 book The Passing of the Baton:

“The entire world was consumed with World War II when as a young woman entered the University of Naples in Italy, planning to become a college professor. Since the Italian universities do not have a campus as one might find in the United States, my parents rented a room for me at La Casa della Giovane Studente (The House of the Young Student), an expensive residence for female university students, located near the university and under the guidance and care of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.

After I completed my graduate studies in four years at the University of Naples, I transferred to the University of Bari for my Ph.D., majoring in Latin and Ancient Greek. While a student at Bari, I met an American soldier, George W. Deal, who was stationed in Italy for 3 years with the Corps of Engineers, and he kindly asked me to teach him some conversational Italian. He was a very nice young man and although he was ten years older than I, I accepted him as a student. I taught him for a year and then he proposed. We were married in a Catholic church in Bari on December 10, 1945; my son was born a year later in Foggia, Italy. The last 18 months that we spent in Italy, we lived in Rome because George was in the Civil Service and was assigned to the United States Embassy.

We left my homeland and arrived in the United States on Thanksgiving Day, 1948. After visiting George’s family in Ohio, we finally settled in Memphis the following year. In 1961, our son, Tony, enrolled as a freshman in the high school program at Christian Brothers College (at that time a combined high school and college on East Parkway). I was very disappointed when I realized that Tony was not placed in a Latin Class. I knew Brother Alfred Moroni and I asked him to introduce me to Brother Stephen O’Malley, the principal of the high school. I met with Brother Stephen and requested he place Tony in a Latin class because of my own classical education and the value I personally placed on the importance of the languages. During my conversation with Brother Stephen, I noticed that he was taking notes and I wondered why. Little did I dream that he was thinking about a possible job for me. 

A few days later, to my astonishment, I received a call from Brother Lambert Thomas, president of the College division, inviting me to come to the campus for an interview. Brother Stephen had shared with Brother Lambert that I had an earned doctorate degree. During our meeting, I showed Brother Lambert all my original credentials and he immediately offered me the position of College Registrar and asked me to teach a few Latin classes as well.

I had been happily teaching Latin and French at Sacred Heart High School for six years and had enjoyed working with the Sisters of Charity. However, because of their wonderful reputation in the city, I was intrigued by the thought of working with the Christian Brothers. I agreed to take the position and although I knew nothing about being a registrar I learned the ‘ropes’ very quickly. I was very proud to become the first female faculty member to be hired at Christian Brothers College, and I immediately developed a wonderful friendship with the Brothers, one that has lasted a lifetime.

I remained in the registrar position for only two years and gradually began teaching more classes, later becoming an associate professor of Latin, French, Italian and European History, I served as the first coordinator of foreign languages, a position I held for 15 years. I retired in 1994 as Professor Emerita of Christian Brothers University, School of Arts.

The University was from the very beginning a big family to me; I have always appreciated the religious spirit and Lasallian tradition. I enjoyed working with the Brothers, my colleagues, and I loved teaching my students each day. I have grown to deeply love the school and the Brothers who were always very kind to me, making me one of their very own as an affiliated member of the Order. I believe my long friendship with the Brothers and with the University will last until the end of my days.”