Sister Rosemary Boyd retires after a 44-year career

AIKEN – After 24 years as the principal of St. Mary Help of Christians School, Sister Rosemary Boyd is retiring at the end of this academic year. The people who know her best are not happy about it.

Cathy Green, school secretary for the past eight years and a former Parent/Teacher Organization president, Donna T. Waters, a teacher at St. Mary for 28 years, and Jean F. Cook, a 20-year teacher and assistant principal at the Catholic school, all stated that they expect to miss Sister Rosemary profoundly.

“There are going to be a lot of tears,” Green said. “She is a very humble and compassionate person, and we all worked together in a spirit of mutual respect and affection.”

Sister Rosemary Boyd is a Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. With her retirement and the earlier retirement of Sister Clement Fine, another educator, the OLMs will close their convent in Aiken; the two sisters will return to their order’s motherhouse on James Island.

The parish of St. Mary Help of Christians will hold a special Mass and reception on June 8 dedicated to the 95 years of service to the area by the Our Lady of Mercy congregation.

Sister Rosemary Boyd professed her final vows as a Sister of Charity in 1957; she was a teacher at Sacred Heart School in Charleston for four years by then, with a baccalaureate degree and a masters from Seton Hall University.

The sister taught at Our Lady of Mt. Virgin in Middlesex, N.J., for five years before returning to the Diocese of Charleston as an English teacher and principal at St. Angela’s Academy. She was there for 10 years and came to St. Mary Help of Christians in 1971. She went back to St. Angela’s for 1984-86, and then returned to St. Mary.

Sister Rosemary has had such an impact on St. Mary Help of Christians School over her two-decade tenure that a campus building, Boyd Hall, is named after her.

Donna Waters said that the retiring principal’s special talent over the years of her service was in nurturing young teachers and in supporting the faculty.

The veteran teacher said that she will always treasure the spiritual guidance she received from Sister Rosemary. She was looking forward to the special Our Lady of Mercy Mass.

“What a wonderful way to end their years of dedication to education,” Waters said. Dedication was the word on Father Tom Evatt’s mind also when he was asked about Sister Rosemary’s decades of work. The pastor of St. Mary said that some people view education as a job, but the retiring principal treated it as her life.

Father Evatt said he was privileged to have worked with her for the past three years.

Jean Cook said that Sister Rosemary Boyd was always a considerate employer, but one who demanded excellence, especially in academics.

Even so, the vice-principal said, teachers enjoyed autonomy in their classrooms and are proud of their school’s reputation for excellence.

The proof is in the longevity record of the faculty.

“Our turnover is almost nonexistent,” Cook said. “The teachers teach at St. Mary’s because they want to be here.”

They want Sister Rosemary Boyd to be there, as well, but she is going to retire.

The students at the Aiken school held a special assembly in her honor on May 16.Keith Darr, formerly principal at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, will take over her life’s work next year.