Siser Mary Irene Cecil Reconnects with Students

The small town of Earlington, Ky., has a Facebook page, and one day Susan Garland Jones noticed a woman posting about reconnecting with her first teacher, Ursuline Sister Mary Irene Cecil.

“I said ‘She was my first teacher too,’” Jones said.

She and two of her 1964-65 kindergarten classmates from Immaculate Conception School in Earlington planned to get together to celebrate 50 years of being friends. As part of those plans, they decided to visit their first teacher, Sister Mary Irene, who lives at the Motherhouse in Maple Mount.

On a beautiful sunny day July 30, Jones, who lives in Hanson, Ky., not far from where she grew up, was joined by Jan Troop Carlton of Owensboro, Ky., and Sunni Stokes Mauk of Paducah, Ky., as they sat on the front porch of the Guest House at Maple Mount and visited with Sister Mary Irene.

Graduating from kindergarten was quite a celebration in 1965. Jones brought Sister Mary Irene the class graduation picture with everyone in cap and gown, a list of the graduation exercises, a description of the play they put on and her report card.

“They dramatized ‘The Gingerbread Man,’” Sister Mary Irene said. She taught at Immaculate Conception on two occasions, from 1948-50, and from 1962-65.

The planning the women did resulted in another surprise.

“They also found out they are cousins,” Sister Mary Irene said.

The three had all been researching their family histories, when Mauk mentioned having a Sisk in her family, Jones said. “I said I have Sisks in my family too,” Jones said. “We learned that back in the 1800s, we all had a common set of grandparents.”

Sister Mary Irene said there were three Ursuline Sisters who were Sisks, who were from Morton’s Gap, in the same county as Earlington. Sister Benedict Joseph (who died in 1955), Sister Mary Angelica (1970) and Sister Mary Martin Sisk (1968).

The connections may be continuing.


  1. Marianne hayes

    I also graduated from Immaculate Conception kindergarten my teacher was Ms Diane. I don’t know her last name. I attended until the sixth grade. My last teacher was Sister Helen Leo.

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