2015 Jubilarian – Virginia Pfau
Sister Virginia (Ginny) Pfau was taught by the IHM Sisters when she was growing up outside of Philadelphia with her younger brother and parents.
She had an active social life at Villa Maria Academy High School and had no interest in becoming an IHM, but God had other plans for her. She experienced the call to religious life while driving in her car.
After visiting a friend’s sister, Sister Ginny had an overwhelming sense that she was being called to enter the community. She resisted, but the sense persisted. Her mother adamantly did not want her to join. Her father insisted that they support her, and eventually her mother came around.
Sister Ginny joined the Philadeplphia IHM community right after high school graduation. She equates the training during postulancy and novitiate to boot camp, but having five of her high school classmates with her made it easier.
While with the Philadelphia IHM Sisters, she taught first grade at the Pennsylvania schools of St. John of the Cross in Roslyn; St. Mark Ephrem in Bristol; St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr; and then taught second, third and fourth grades at St. Katharine of Sienna School in Wayne. From there Sister Ginny taught in South Carolina and was also director of religious education for five counties. During this time, she attended graduate school at St. Charles Seminary. She returned to Pennsylvania and taught at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in West Grove.
Sister Ginny transferred to the Monroe IHMs and taught at the Meadow Montessori School. From there, she ministered as principal at St. Patrick School in Carleton, Mich., for six years before serving as principal at Our Lady of Mercy School in Potomac, Md., for 11 years. Afterward she took a sabbatical year and attended the School of Applied Theology at Berkley.
Following her sabbatical, she was elected as president of the IHM community. When her six-year term ended, Sister Ginny headed to Wilmington, Del., where she has been principal of St. Ann School for the past nine years. In June, she will leave that post for clinical pastoral education at Wilmington Hospital.
Being an IHM has been Sister Ginny’s greatest joy. “Being elected to office was unbelievable,” she says. It was an affirmation of her acceptance by the Monroe community, and she is most grateful for that gift. “Representing the community in office was a real privilege.”
Sister Ginny is most inspired by the commitment to religious life. “I just think we should have gratitude to God for everything … for God’s presence in our lives.”