Recipient of the 2015 Mother Clelia Merloni Award, Abbey was commended by President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71 as “an outstanding Christian woman… known for her dedication and commitment to the mission, vision, and core values of the Academy and the Apostles. Administrators, faculty members, and fellow students have witnessed her compassion for others, her leadership ability, and her passion for service.” While at Sacred Heart, Abbey was a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK), musical, and served as president of Book Club. She was a member of the varsity cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams. A Kairos Retreat leader, Abbey traveled to Clelian Heights School on a mission trip, was as an altar server, and founded and co-chaired Sister-to-Sister to provide an opportunity for students to interact with the older Sisters at the Manor.
A 2019 graduate of Fairfield University’s Egan School of Nursing, Abbey has been working as a patient care associate at Smilow Cancer Hospital and plans to pursue a career as an oncology nurse. During her time at Fairfield, she has served as a Eucharistic minister, been a member of the Student Nurse Association and a student representative for the National Student Nurses’ Association, and mentored younger nursing majors. She participated in spring break service trips to communities around the country—experiences that left her with an understanding of the importance of being aware of and serving the needs of the people around her.
"Sacred Heart Academy has always played a significant role in guiding my life, even after I graduated. I was introduced to the Sisters at the Manor during a visit in high school and fell in love with how wonderful they all were and how each of them led faithful, service-filled lives even in their final days. My best friend, Cara Walsh ’16, and I decided to form a link between the students at Sacred Heart and the retired Sisters at the Manor, and named it Sister-to-Sister. Overwhelmed with the number of students who signed up, we organized themed parties once or twice a month, and brought groups of students to the Manor to play party games, enjoy baked goods, and build friendships.
These Sisters soon became my most significant role models; I often turned to them for life advice and I still do to this day. They helped me discover my desire to be a nurse and have been my biggest supporters throughout my four years in nursing school. Once I started at Fairfield University, I was hired at the Manor as a student nurse intern and was able to gain experience working with the elderly Sisters—work that has been one of the blessings in my life. The Sisters taught me to have patience in stressful situations, to be an active listener, to always look on the bright side, and to care from the heart. They also taught me the difficult lesson of how to compassionately care for those close to death. This final lesson has been one of the most difficult for me as I have had to learn to let go of so many of them as they reached their time to go to the Lord. But it has instilled in me the importance of providing palliative care throughout the end of life progression and encouraged me to maintain the best possible quality of life for them.
I cannot believe that four years have passed since I graduated from Sacred Heart! I am honored and humbled to be thought of as someone who lives Mother Clelia’s charism. She exemplifies living out the Catholic faith and leading a life of service. I am inspired by her every day and hope to be able to live by her example."