Misericordia University will honor Sister Therese Marie Marques, RSM, of Shavertown, executive director of the Catherine McAuley Center, by presenting her with the esteemed Mother Catherine McAuley Medal at the University's second annual winter commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16 in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on campus.
The McAuley Medal is the university's highest honor. It recognizes significant service to the institution and to the values to which it aspires.
A native of Georgetown, Guyana, Sister Marques had an aunt who was a Sister of Mercy and attended Sisters of Mercy-sponsored schools while growing up. She made the decision to enter the religious community in 1958 and immigrated to the United States to enroll at Misericordia for her academic and religious training.
She graduated in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in French and a minor in English. She later earned a Master of Arts degree in English and American Literature and a Master of Science degree in human resources administration, both from The University of Scranton.
Sister Marques began her career as a teacher of adult students at Misericordia and also taught at Catholic high schools in Wilkes-Barre, Plymouth and Freeland.
After determining that her personal mission was to help those most in need, she returned to her homeland of Guyana in 1966 as a teacher at the high school she attended, St. Joseph High School in Georgetown. She was named principal in 1971 and served in that capacity until 1984.
While in Guyana, she was appointed a council member and subsequently took on the leadership role as coordinator of the Community of the Sisters of Mercy, Guyana. She later was named chief executive officer of St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, also in Georgetown.
She returned to the Wyoming Valley in 1989 where she took the position of educational coordinator and later director of educational and library services at the Sisters of Mercy-run Mercy Hospital, Wilkes-Barre.
She was named executive director of the Catherine McAuley Center, Scranton, in 1995, upon the retirement of founder, Sister Anne Paye, RSM.
The Catherine McAuley Center was established in Scranton in 1984 as a single guest home for women and children. Under the leadership of Sister Marques, it has expanded and today it is recognized as a vital resource for the community, providing seven safe and drug-free facilities for single, low-income women and women with children in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. There is also a transitional living center – the Catherine McAuley House – in Plymouth.