DOWNINGTOWN (September 23 – As Catholic families throughout the region prepare for the arrival of Pope Francis, students, faculty and parents at Bishop Shanahan High School took time this week to honor their departing principal, Sister Maureen McDermott, IHM, Ph.D.

Pictured (from left to right) are Mary Kate McCracken, Student Council Treasurer; Michael Vanic, Student Council President; Sr. Regina Plunkett, President of Bishop Shanahan High School; Senator Dinniman; Sister Maureen L. McDermott, Principal; Julia Krieman, Student Council Vice President; and Matthew Holowsko, Senior Class Officer.

Pictured (from left to right) are Mary Kate McCracken, Student Council Treasurer; Michael Vanic, Student Council President; Sr. Regina Plunkett, President of Bishop Shanahan High School; Senator Dinniman; Sister Maureen L. McDermott, Principal; Julia Krieman, Student Council Vice President; and Matthew Holowsko, Senior Class Officer.

Sister Maureen, currently in her 18th year of total service at Bishop Shanahan and her 15th as principal, was recently selected after a nationwide search to become the Superintendent of Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In her new position, which begins October 1, she will oversee 17 Catholic high schools in the Philadelphia region.

As her days as principal of Bishop Shanahan draw to a close, Sister Maureen reflected on her time at the Catholic high school located in Downingtown – the only Archdiocesan school in Chester County – with a sense of pride and achievement.

“Bishop Shanahan is a wonderful school. I will certainly leave part of my heart here at Bishop Shanahan,” McDermott said. “It’s a crown jewel of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

This week, state Senator Andy Dinniman visited Bishop Shanahan to personally thank Sister Maureen and present her with a special Senate Citation recognizing her service to the school and its students. He also took the opportunity to congratulate the Bishop Shanahan community on its marching band being selected to play for Pope Francis upon his arrival in Philadelphia this Saturday.

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Senator Dinniman with Sister Regina Plunkett (left) and Sister Maureen McDermott (right).

“Sister Maureen has consistently proven herself to be an academic leader, an innovative instructor, and a passionate advocate for Catholic school students, families and teachers in Chester County,” Dinniman said. “During her tenure at Bishop Shanahan she oversaw a period of unprecedented growth, while personally touching the lives of countless students. I wish her the best in her new leadership position with the Archdiocese.”

Earlier in the year, the administration, faculty, staff, students and parent representatives of Bishop Shanahan honored Sister Maureen at the school’s opening liturgy. The student body surprised her with a video presentation which spanned her tenure at Bishop Shanahan. The video was followed by a presentation of gifts, including a spiritual bouquet, which is an offering of prayers for Sister Maureen from members of the school community, and a promise to do acts of charity and service in her name.

Mr. Christopher Mominey, Secretary for Education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was also in attendance and thanked Sister Maureen for her service to Bishop Shanahan and the IHM community and for her commitment to Catholic education. Those attending the Mass bid her farewell with a standing ovation.

Sister Regina Plunkett, IHM, president of Bishop Shanahan, asked for continued prayers for Sister Maureen and said, “Sister Maureen did such a good job at Bishop Shanahan that she was given 16 more schools to oversee.  Sister Maureen will always be a part of our school community.”

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