Sisters of Charity Federation Archives

Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC, Interview

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SCHalifax_Browne.jpg

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Sisters  of  Charity  -­‐  Halifax  
Oral  history  interview  of  Sister  Caroleen  Marie  Browne  
Interviewed  by  Sister  Theresa  Corcoran  at  Mount  Saint  Vincent,  Wellesley  Hills,  
Massachusetts  on  November  28  2005.  
Transcribed  by  Mary  Flynn,  Congregational  Archivist  in  2020.    
 
Note:  Sister  Caroleen  Marie  was  supplied  a  questionnaire  to  prepare  for  the  oral  
history.  When  she  reads  a  question  out  loud,  it’s  indicated  by  quotation  marks.  
Any  additions  in  brackets  are  added  by  the  transcriber  for  context.    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    0:01      
-­‐conversation  between  Sister  Caroleen  Marie  Brown,  and  Sister  Teresa  Corcoran  
taped  at  Mount  Saint  Vincent,  Wellesley  Hills,  November  3,  2005.  
 
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    0:08      
I  won't  forget  it's  there.  I'll  turn  my  head  that  way.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    0:10      
Okay.    
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    0:12      
This  is  Sister  Caroleen  Browne.  I  entered  the  community  in  1941,  was  professed  in  
1943  and  have  spent  43  years  in  teaching.  All  aspects  of  all  grades  from  5  to  12.  
No,  from  5  to  12  plus.    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    0:51      
Which  ones  did  you  like  best?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    0:54      
I  liked  Seton  Hall  [Patchogue,  New  York]  best.  The  spirit  there  was...  well  it  kept  us  
going.  And  it  was  not  just  the  spirit  of  the  teachers,  it  was  the  spirit  of  the  
youngsters,  too.  "What  was  the  importance  of  your  mission  ministry  for  you?"  
Well,  it  brought  some  of  those  students  closer  to  God,  help  them  be  a  little  bit  
more  like  good  human  beings.  That  would  be  the  kind  of  thing  that  I  would  be  
looking  for.  I  would  give  you  a  ministry,  stimulate  your  growth.  Physical  growth,  
eating.  [both  Sisters  laugh].  

 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    1:56      
Some  places  fed  better  than  others,  right?    
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    1:59      
Yes.  In  order  to  keep  teaching  well,  I  felt  I  had  to  read  more  and  that  did  stimulate  
my  growth.  "What  has  been  the  impact  of  personal  events  on  your  life?"    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    2:32      
Personal  events  could  be  almost  anything.  Family  events,  community  events.  
Maybe  there  aren't  any  that  you  want  to  mention.  What  about  the  local  or  
national  or  world  events?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    2:48      
Well,  personal  events,  during  the  1980s  almost  everyone  in  my  family  died  and  I  
had  to  take  care  of  all  the  post-­‐death  problems.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    3:08      
Almost  all  these  people,  your  brother?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    3:10      
My  brother,  my  two  aunts,  an  uncle,  cousin.  People  who-­‐  we  were  close,  my  aunt,  
especially.  In  the  impact  of  Church  events,  well,  I  think  Vatican  II  was  a  very  
important  point  in  my  life  as  well  as  in  the  life  of  the  church.  And  I  am  very  
distressed  to  find  that  there  are  some  people  nowadays  who  are  trying  to  
downplay  Vatican  II,  because,  to  me,  it  was,  it  was  the  Holy  Spirit  speaking  to  John  
XXIII.  "Has  your  image  of  God  changed  over  the  years?"  Well  yes.  Not  that  I  had  
much  of  an  image  of  him.  But  it  has  changed.  I  won't  go  into  the  detail.  [both  
laugh]  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    4:21      
The  details.  Okay.    
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    4:24      
"What  have  been  your  greatest  disappointments?"    
 
 

Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    4:31      
You  may  not  have  many.  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    4:33      
No,  I  don't  think  I  had  too  many  disappointments,  really.    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    4:36      
-­‐both  things  happened,  were  there  different  ways  instead  of  coping  with  them?    
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    4:42      
Oh  yes,  well  during  the,  during  the  '80s,  1980s  I  just  kept  going  along.  Moving  
along.  That's  the  way-­‐  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    4:54      
That's  the  way  you've  always-­‐  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    4:56      
Yes.  "How  have  certain  restrictions  affected  you?"    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    5:08      
I  think  by  that  we  mean  the  restrictions  we  used  to  have  in  the  community.  Did  
they  affect  you  very  much?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    5:19      
Not  terribly  much.  I  didn't...  I  minded  them.  But  I  think  we  all  minded  them  to  
certain  extent.  "Are  there  any  other  points  or  comments  you  wish  to  make?"  No,  
except  that  I  had  a  very  happy  life.  A  very  contented  life.  And  I've  made  a  lot  of  
good  friends  and  I  think  that's  one  of  the  great  things  about  religious  life.  We  do  
make  friends  and  good  ones.  And  we  shall-­‐  we  shall  continue.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    6:15      
What  about  when  you  moved  from  let's  say  New  York  to  Halifax  and  back?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    6:22      
-­‐when  I  moved  to  Halifax?  That  wasn't  too  bad  a  move  at  all.  That  wasn't  too  
difficult.  When  I  moved  back  here,  well  that's  a  little  more  difficult  because  this  is  
more  of  an...  old  kind  of,  that  always  goes.  An  old  kind  of  structured  living.    

 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    7:04      
More  structured?  
 
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    7:04      
Yes.  The  little  green  thing?  I  should-­‐  [noises  in  the  background  as  Sister  Theresa  
moves  the  recorder]    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    7:25      
Okay.  I'll  put  that  on  top  of  the  table.  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    7:33      
[laughs]  I'm  sorry.  Hope  it  doesn't  spoil  anything.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    7:37      
The...  you  mentioned  the  impact  of  church  events  in  Vatican  II.  What  about  the  
position  of  women,  did  that  ever  enter  into  your-­‐  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    7:52      
Oh  yes,  that  that  bothers  me  very  much.  And  the  fact  that,  I  heard  on  EWTN  the  
other  day  a  big  long  talk  about-­‐  by  two  priests  taking  turns  about  how  men  are  
being  left  out  because  our  Lord  is  a  feminine-­‐  attitude  of  our  Lord  are  being  
emphasized.  But  I  say,  who  emphasizes  that?  Women,  who  are  they?  I  think  they  
do.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    8:33      
What  do  they  mean  by  that,  I  wonder?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    8:35      
They..  that  kindness  and  relationships  are  so  important,  are  being  made  
important  and  they,  I  guess  they  find  them  too  feminine.  I  was  ready  to  throw  
something  at  them.  [both  laugh]  I  mean,  after  all,  who  has  done  the  greater  part  
of  the  work  in  the  church  for  years  and  years  and  years?  It  hasn't  been  the  men.  
And  nobody  should  be-­‐  no,  no  women  are  trying  to  push  a  feminine  Christ  on  
them.  They  can  make  Christ  whom  they  please.  That  has-­‐  that  bothered  me  a  little  
bit.    

 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    9:36      
Your  work  didn't  bring  you  into  situations  where  you  would  have  found  that  
frustrating  or  would  it  have?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    9:42      
No.  Any,  any  work  I  did,  mostly,  the  most  contact  I  had  with  priests  was  through  
First  Communion  classes  and  things  like  that  and  we  went  out  to  the,  to  the...  the  
church.  Some  of  the  priests  were  very  nice  to  us  and  some  of  them  who  kind  of  
brushed  us  off.  But...  when  we  were-­‐  from  Seton  Hall,  there  was  a  group  of  us  
that  went.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    10:26      
Oh  right,  yeah.  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    10:27      
And  taught  Sunday  school  or  Tuesday  school  or  whatever  school  it  would  be.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    10:41      
So  that  was  probably  the  only  kind  of  parish  work  that  you  really  did?    
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    10:45      
Yes.  I  never  did  anything  more  than  that.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    10:58      
So  as  a  young  person  who  were  some  of  the  people  that  you  would  have  some...  
look  up  to?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    11:03      
Looked  up  to?  Well,  Miriam  Constance,  Frances  de  Chantal.  Now,  Frances  de  
Chantal  had  a...  very,  she  had  a  lot  of  people  who  didn't  like  her  at  all  because  she  
was  very  exact.  And  she  was,  but  we  were  in  St.  Peter's  at  the  time,  we  had  just  
come  out  of  the  novitiate  and  some  of  the  older  Sisters  are  using  us  -­‐  were  using  
us  to  do  their  work.  They  were  very  successful  for  quite  a  long  time  before,  before  
somebody,  Sister  Frances  de  Chantal  found  out  and  then  the  thing  was,  there  was  
a  list  on  the  bulletin  board  of  who  was  to  go  to  take  care  of  confessions  every  
Saturday  afternoon.  They  had  confessions,  one  Saturday  for  the  parochial  school  

boys,  one  for  the  parochial  school  girls,  one  for  the  public  school  boys,  one  for  the  
public  school  girls.  And  we  were  assigned.  Everybody  in  the  house  was  on  the  list.  
Well  one  Saturday,  one  Sunday,  Sister  Frances  de  Chantal  called  me  and  said,  
"where  were  you  yesterday  afternoon?"  I  said,  "I  was  at  church,  confession."  And  
she  said,  "but  it's  not  your  turn."  I  said,  "No,  but  we're-­‐  most,  most  Saturdays  they  
asked  Margaret  McGaughey  and  myself  to  go  over  because  they,  they're  going  
home  to  visit  their  parents."  [laughs]  Yeah,  so  she  said,  "you  don't  have  to  go  
anymore.  Anymore  when  they  ask  you,  you  just  say  no."  And  heard  that  she  got  a  
hold  of  all  of  them,  without  us  knowing  it,  you  know.  Because  nobody  ever  asked  
us  again.  [both  Sisters  laugh]  I  can  see  how  they  didn't  like  her  because-­‐  but  she  
was  good,  she  was  good  to  us,  she  was  trying  to  be  fair  to  us.  Peter  Claver,  I  
admired  her  very  much.    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    11:03      
Were  you  teaching  with  her  or  was  she  principal?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    13:41      
No,  she  wasn't  principal.  I  was  teaching  with  her.  And,  she...  she  would  always  
say,  "every  youngster  had  good  in  him.  You  have  to  look  for  the  good."  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    14:10      
Sometimes  you'd  look  out  at-­‐  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    14:12      
Yes,  but  she,  she  always  looked  for  the  good  in  every  single  youngster  she  taught.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    14:18      
Now  was  this  at  Patchogue?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    14:20      
Seton  Hall,  yes.  And  she  always  looked  really  good  and  she  always  found  it  and  
they  would  do  anything  under  the  sun  for  her  because  they  thought,  they  trusted  
her  entirely.  Completely.  So  I  learned  a  lot  from  her,  from  being  with  her.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    14:58      
-­‐just  as  a  colleague,  really.  
 

S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    14:59      
 Yes.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    15:09      
Are  there  any  people  that  you  still  keep  in  contact  with  in  New  York  or  in  Halifax?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    15:16      
Well,  I  keep  writing  back  to  Walsh  House  [Halifax,  Nova  Scotia].    I  admire  
Margaret  very  much.  Margaret  Molloy.  And...  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    15:41      
Of  course  a  lot  of  those  people  that  we  knew  in  those  days  have  gone  too.  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    15:44      
Yeah.  That's  true.  The  ones  who,  in  the,  had  in  the  earlier  days,  they're  not,  
they're  not  around  anymore.    
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    16:18      
Do  you  have  any  other  comments  you  want  like  to  make?  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    16:18      
I'm  grateful  for  everything  that  was,  that's  ever  been  done  for  me.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    16:24      
Of  course  you've  done  a  lot  of  things  yourself  for  people.  
 
S.  Caroleen  Marie  Browne    16:26      
I  try  to  do  something.  [both  laugh]  I  thank  you  for  all  you  did.  
 
Sister  Theresa  Corcoran    16:40      
I  didn't  do  too  much,  you  were  doing  more  for  me.  
 
 

Dublin Core

Title

Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC, Interview

Subject

Sisters of Charity of Halifax; Teaching; Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC

Description

Sister Caroleen Marie Browne (1923-2007) describes her life as a Sister of Charity - Halifax, including her entrance to the community in 1941, her 43 years missioned as a teacher of grades 5 to 12, family, and Sisters she admired.

Creator

Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC; Corcoran, Sister Theresa, SC

Source

Sisters of Charity - Halifax Congregational Archives

Date

11/28/2005

Contributor

Flynn, Mary (Transcriber)

Rights

Online access is provided for research purposes only. For rights, reproduction, and use requests or more information, please contact the Sisters of Charity – Halifax Congregational Archivist.

Format

00:17:03
Audio/mp3
Audio/cassette
Application/pdf

Language

English

Type

Oral History

Identifier

SCHalifax_Browne

Coverage

1941-2005

Citation

Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC; Corcoran, Sister Theresa, SC, “Browne, Sister Caroleen Marie, SC, Interview,” Sisters of Charity Federation Archives, accessed April 22, 2024, https://www.scfederationarchives.org/items/show/98.

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