Sister Therese Marie Morales, O.P.
Elena Helen Morales
Sister Therese Marie was born in Whittier, California to Guadalupe and Margarita Morales. She spent her childhood years in Whittier with her parents and five siblings, living right across the street from St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church and school. “I have been attached to the Dominicans since I was born.” Sister Therese Marie attended St. Mary’s through the eighth grade and attended Sacred Heart of Mary in Montebello for high school. After high school graduation Sister Therese Marie moved to Houston, Texas, where she entered Sacred Heart convent.
Sister Therese Marie attended Dominican College, graduating with a Bachelor degree in Education and Spanish. She attended the University of California in Riverside, receiving additional certifications in Elementary and Secondary Education.
Sister Therese Marie’s first teaching assignment was at St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Houston, Texas. “I love to teach. I have taught all of the grades, first grade through high school.” Sister Therese Marie has taught at schools in Houston, Port Neches, Beaumont and Austin, Texas. In 1968 she moved to California. During her years there she taught at St. Mary of the Assumption in Whittier, California, St. Francis de Sales Catholic School and Notre Dame High School in Riverside, California and St. Paul Catholic High School in Sante Fe Springs, California.
Sister Therese Marie has many wonderful memories of her years teaching. “One year I was assigned to teach the yearbook class at St. Francis de Sales. The kids taught me.” She continued as the teacher in this class for many years. While teaching at St. Paul Catholic High School, she participated in the Sister City Organization and accompanied students to Mexico and Germany on several occasions. “It was a wonderful experience. We made life long friends.”
Sister Therese Marie currently lives in Whittier, California. She is happy to be with family and in a place that is familiar to her. She retired from teaching full time in 2004 and from substituting in 2010. Today, she continues her ministry, serving as Eucharistic Minister for St. Mary of the Assumption. “I absolutely love it. I go to the hospital and visit the sick and homebound. There is a family I have been ministering to for several months. You get to know them. It is wonderful.”
In Whittier, Sister Therese Marie lives the Dominican charism, just as those Dominican sisters did those years ago as she was growing up. “I loved the sisters. They were part of my family. It is hard to put into words what being a Dominican sister means to me, being a Dominican sister was always something I thought I would do.”
Interview with Sister Therese Marie Morales, O.P. September 2014.