Dominican Sisters of Peace: Our Lady of the Elms Teachers Remembered in New York Times Column

Akron, OH – Imagine finding your name in the New York Times! That’s exactly what happened to two Dominican Sisters of Peace, retired from years of teaching at Our Lady of the Elms in Akron, OH.

Sister Irene Eckerman, now living at the Dominican Sisters of Peace Motherhouse in Akron and Sister Betty Baltrinic, who resides at the Regina Health Center, taught first and second grade at Our Lady of the Elms for decades. Not only were they teachers, according to Yeshiva College Writing Program Director and a Fulbright scholar Liesl Schwabe, of Kolkata, India, they were also living, breathing models of equality, self-sufficiency and cooperation.

In her February 16 column in the New York Times, Everything I Know About Feminism I Learned From Nuns, Schwabe describes learning that women can do anything – including help the poor, pray for the sick, and pursue truth and justice – from her first and second teachers at the Elms, Sister Irene and Sister Betty.

Read Schwabe’s column in the New York Times here.

“It was such a delightful surprise to read my name in the New York Times,” said Sr. Betty Baltrinic in a letter to Schwabe after the editorial was published. “Sometimes you wonder whether the things you have said and done for the little children in the classroom have had any effect upon their lives. Your article shows that they do. It also shows that teaching them about the causes of poverty opens up areas of compassion and generosity in their young lives.”

Always the conscientious teacher, Sr. Irene Eckerman told Schwabe how well written her column was before saying, “Sr. Betty and I are so proud of you, and look forward to seeing you soon.”

Writer Liesl Schwabe is planning a visit back to the Elms to speak to students, and of course, to reconnect with her former teachers, Sr. Irene and Sister Betty, later in 2019.