Winifred Sophia Boyle
Winnie was born in the Bronx, New York on April 15, 1933 (Tax Day) to Michael and Delia McCarthy Boyle and was
the middle of three daughters.
She was baptized on May 7 the same year.
The family moved to New York and Winnie attended St. Simon Stock Church and School where she made her First Communion and Confirmation. It was the beginning of her relationship with the Carmelite Order.
After she graduated high school, she entered the Carmelite Monastery in the Bronx sometime in the 50’s. She made her first profession but not final vows and left sometime in 1956.
She acquired a job at the National Office of The Society for the Propagation of the Faith as a clerk typist in a large room with other women answering the many letters sent to Bishop Sheen by people contributing to the Missions.
She was then promoted to transcribing dictation of some of the bishop’s dictation from a machine, because the lady doing it resigned. Apparently the Bishop noticed good workers and treated them accordingly. He offered to pay Winnie’s tuition in 1964 to attend college. She accepted if she could still work during the day and attend school at night. It seems to me that he felt if someone was a good worker, they would also be a good student. She found out that he had done the same for other people. As time went forward, she told him she was earning enough, so he didn’t need to continue to pay her tuition. That shows her good character. She graduated from Fordham in 1969 then obtained her master’s from Columbia University in Library Sciences in 1971. Meanwhile she had become the bishop’s secretary by 1966.
It was the practice in the office to stop at 3 PM and recite the rosary together and when the bishop was there, he would lead it. He was always the priest. Everyone in the office was aware of his total dedication to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was her priestly son.
In her own words:
“I remember one occasion when Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited Bishop Sheen at the National Office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. It was sometime in the early 60s when she was not as well-known as she is today. He brought her into the area of the office where most of the employees worked. Even then it was an unforgettable sight to see these two holy people together! Little did I dream that day looking at Bishop Sheen and Mother Teresa as they stood in front of the statue of our Blessed Lady in the office that these two people in the future would be on the way to canonization in the church.”
Winnie and her sisters, Eileen and Clare were very close growing up and after their father passed away the three girls and their mother Delia moved to California in 1976. Winnie secured a government position as a Law Librarian in San Diego and worked there until her retirement.
It was in 1985 that Winnie found her way to the Carmelite Monastery in San Diego and began her formation as a Secular Order member. It was like finding her way home again. She made her definitive promise in 1990 and added the virtue of religion by making vows in 1991. She is a cherished member and we all missed her presence when she moved to Temecula and was too ill at times to attend meetings.
Now that the final chapter has ended she is with her entire family once more and I’m sure their joy is complete.
Rest in Peace dear Winnie!