DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For Sister Jean Messaros, putting others first is a way of life; her her passion, her purpose. Taking that belief and turning it into action has transformed the lives of many.
“I found it very difficult to manage to work, running my household, going to school, and raising a daughter,” said Judith DeLuca, the first graduate of Women with Children Program.
Twenty years ago, life was very different for Judith DeLuca.
“Having to choose between paying bills and eating and going to school,” said DeLuca.
She faced life challenges as a single mother. She knew getting an education was essential, so they could have a better life. Many other single mothers face those similar challenges, which led Sister Jean to create the “Women With Children Program” at Misericordia University.
Those accepted receive free housing meal plans and scholarships, as they work to finish their degree – while taking care of their children. All possible, because of Sister Jean.
“It’s remarkable. To see a woman freed up enough that she can continue her education. Something that she believed she couldn’t do,” said Sister Jean Messaros, RSM.
Two decades ago, Sister Jean took Judith under her wing – moving her and her daughter into an house on-campus.
She became the first person to graduate from the program. Since then, dozens of other women have followed in her footsteps.
“It’s very easy to talk about the program and to talk about all the statistics that go along with it. But behind the scenes is Sister Jean. She’s very humble, and she’s the heart of the program. She’s the one who taught all of us to walk and live with grace. Not by what she said, but how she lives her life. And how she interacts every day with each of us,” said Judith DeLuca.
The program is now expanding. A fourth house will be utilized this fall, providing housing for 20 families total.
It’s work started by Sister Jean that has broken the poverty barrier, and shows future generations the power of education and perseverance.
“I know she’s remarkable, and she’ll never admit that she’s remarkable. But she’s impacted so many people, beyond just the attendees of the program. It’s generation upon generation of people that she’s impacted,” said Judith DeLuca.
“Oh my God. I’m so proud of what we’ve done here. And I hope that this continues when I’m gone. I think it will,” said Sister Jean, adding “It’s probably one of the most outstanding things that could happen to me in my life.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Women with Children Program at Misericordia University, click here: https://www.misericordia.edu/page.cfm?p=583