I was born in Monroe, Louisiana. I began my faith journey as a Presbyterian, switching briefly to Episcopalian, and finally converting to Catholicism in 1957, the year I graduated from high school.
I joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady in 1958. I received an undergraduate degree from Marillac Sister Formation College, and I later received both my Masters Degree and Doctorate in nursing and psychology from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., through the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health grants for graduate and post-graduate study.
In the late 1960s I taught psychiatric nursing at Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing when it was a diploma school. I served as a psychiatric/mental health research professor and head of graduate research in nursing at The Catholic University. Between 1983 and 1993, I worked in a variety of positions and consultancies in Europe to help develop the discipline of nursing.
I served in the World Health Organization’s Copenhagen and Geneva offices as a consultant for nursing and behavioral science/psychology development. I also consulted for the British Council working with a medical team to Bangladesh. In this position as Visiting Professor to The Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, I assisted in the development of the psychiatric/mental health programs, the behavioral science content in the medical curricula and in the administration of the nursing program, all at the graduate level. I also directed two doctoral dissertations at Louvain.
I achieved the highest research grant monies while at the School at the University of Edinburgh during a research grant assessment exercise from 1989 to 1994. In 1989, I was presented an award from Queen Elizabeth II to be the Honorary Welfare Commissioner of Scotland, and in 1990 was awarded The Catholic University of America Alumni Achievement Award. I have lectured and helped with graduate program developments in many overseas countries and throughout the United States.
I believe that the essence of nursing can best be explained by the line from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s famous novel, The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
After returning from Europe, I continued to use my expertise in both the nursing and education fields.