Meet Sister Molly: Teacher, storyteller

Storyteller sees need to help students learn language

By Sister Barbara Ann Mayer, OSB

Sister Molly BrockwellSister Molly Brockwell grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is the second youngest of seven children. Her parents, Mary and Bill, both passed away this past October in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

A graduate of Benedictine College in 1984, when it was still on two campuses, Sister Molly was influenced by many sisters including Sister Irene Nowell, Connie Krstolic, Jo Ann Fellin, Julia Wilkinson, Sharon Murray, Nicole Engler, and Maria Larkin. After working as a youth minister in Tulsa for a year, she entered the Mount community in 1985.  

From 1990-96 she taught religion at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan. For two years she did graduate studies in Scripture at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, which included three months in the Holy Land. When she returned from CTU, she worked in the business office at the monastery for two years where she learned to appreciate how our employees are cared for and become a part of the Mount family.  

For the past 12 years she taught Scripture at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kan. “I’m a storyteller, so I love telling stories from the Bible,” Sister Molly said. “I come from storytelling stock, especially my dad.”

While teaching at Bishop Ward, she realized that 50 percent of the students don’t speak English at home. She also lived with our two Tanzanian sisters at Peace House for a time and began to appreciate the difficulty of learning another language. She started looking into English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to help her be a better teacher. Last September she began a master’s in ESL program at Avila College in Kansas City, Mo.  

Sister Molly also works during the day for Assisted Transportation, transporting children to and from school. The children are in foster care, homeless shelters, or have other unusual circumstances. 

She belongs to the St. James knitting group who knit caps and scarves for the needy. “We have a weekly bus stop ministry, giving out warm gear to bus riders,” she said. “I love to knit and try new patterns.” 

Sister Molly was an oblate director for the group in Kansas City, Kan., for five years and enjoyed working with oblates. “I was so inspired by their living the Rule (of Benedict) in the work world,” she said. “I hope to return to that someday.”

She has lived at Peace House in Kansas City, Mo., for the past 16 years, with six other sisters. “We’re large enough so that when someone is gone, we can still pray and have community together,” she said. “This year we also have a young woman living with us who teaches at Christo Rey and wants to live in a community.”  

Sister Molly appreciated the support of her Benedictine sisters during the challenging times of caring for her aging parents. “I am proud of our community, of our ability to be faithful to who we are, to prayer, to living the gospel, and growing in love and forgiveness,” she said. 

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Threshold magazine.