Home » Obituaries » Remembrance of the Life of Sandy Ardoyno SL

Remembrance of the Life of Sandy Ardoyno SL

Posted on October 5, 2015, by Loretto Community

Sandy Ardoyno SL
Sandy Ardoyno SL
Aug. 27, 1943 – Oct. 5, 2015

Sandy Ardoyno lived fully and with much enthusiasm all the days of her life!

Sandy followed her twin sister, Susie, into the world, making her the third of the four children of Sidney and Sally Leech Ardoyno. With their brother Jack and sister Sheila, the twins grew up in Mobile, Ala. At the time of her Golden Jubilee, Sandy described her early years in these words:

“Hi, y’all, as we say in the South. My name is Sandy and I was sent to Mobile, Alabama, as an art teacher when we were still sending sisters to their missions. I love it here so much I have never felt the need to relocate. Should I also say that I was born in and went to school in Mobile? That is true too. I met the Sisters of Loretto when I went to Bishop Toolen High School … and that has made all the difference!

“When I was in grade school, I felt a call to do something of service to other people. And at that time, the only way women usually could do some service was through being a Sister. … The reason I came to Loretto is because I saw what I wanted to be in the individuals who taught at Toolen. They seemed to encourage individuals in doing what they wanted to do.”

Sandy entered Loretto in September 1961. On May 31, 1962, she received the habit and the name Sister Mary Susan, in honor of her twin. She made her first vows two years later and moved to the House of Studies to complete her education at Webster College. In an interview three years ago, Sandy described her eagerness to serve:

“From the beginning, I knew what I wanted to do, and I just was hoping it was what they wanted me to do too. I was looking forward to finishing school and getting out there; I was thinking [like that saying of Father Nerinckx’] gain souls, hunt souls, gather souls, get souls, whatever.

“In the novitiate and the House of Studies, if anything came up dealing with art, I got to go to it. I spent the last two years at Webster doing nothing but art … which was fine with me. It was lovely. … And in fact, at Bishop Toolen, where I went for high school, they had just added a new art room. And they were kind of holding it for me, which was really very nice. And so, I taught there for almost forty-five years. I think of service in lots of different ways, but if you encourage your students to do the best they can in whatever it is they decide they want to do, I consider that a service.”

Asked in 1974 about her work interests, Sandy wrote: “I am interested in anything in the art field, and women’s sports, and anything that needs organization. I’m open to a lot of different possibilities — there seems so much to do — I don’t quite know what to tackle first. … or second!”

By that time, Sandy was already teacher and chairperson of the art department at Bishop Toolen High School and assistant coach of the girls’ volleyball team, “the Dirty Dozen.” She had helped initiate La Casa de Amigos Head Start Day Care Center in 1970 and was its director by 1974. From early May through July each year, she ran the center. The rest of the year, she recruited young adults to serve as teachers and counselors for the center. At the same time, she was president of the Sisters’ Senate of the Mobile Diocese and served on both the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the parish council for St. Francis Xavier Parish, where she also participated in the People of Peace parish group.

Mobile, Sandy liked to say, was her first and only mission. Through the 1970s and ’80s, she expanded her activities in Mobile and Baldwin counties and continued all of them until 2005, when loss of a funding source caused her to close La Casa after 35 years. She continued another half dozen years at McGill-Toolen.

To her teaching and organizing responsibilities Sandy added a steady stream of various tasks for and with the Loretto Community. She served 1979-80 on the Motherhouse Church Renovation Committee. From 1977 through the 1980s, she served on various committees concerned with new members. In 1998, she assumed the job of Coordinator of Loretto’s Volunteer Program for a couple of years, saying, “I get energized every time I think of working with these young volunteers.” In 2000 and again in 2003 Sandy was elected to the Loretto Executive Committee. Responding to a questionnaire in 2010 Sandy wrote, “I’ve been on most of the Loretto Committees and they are all fantastic when you think about it. I especially liked working on Special Needs with Mary Mangan — we often forget that working on a committee means working with others, whom we get to know and respect.“

Sandy’s name appears in many back issues of Interchange as a member of planning groups for assemblies and special meetings. Not only her endless energy and enthusiasm but especially Sandy’s personal art work has enhanced and illuminated Loretto for more than 50 years. Our lives have been graced with her banners, posters, designs on programs, logos for special projects, assemblies and mailings. Each year for more than three decades, Sandy designed and produced wall calendars for an increasingly large number of Loretto members and friends. In 2012, Sandy’s novitiate classmates celebrated their Golden Jubilee with a booklet titled “Voices from Silence,” interpreted by Sandy’s art work.

Late in 2006, Sandy was diagnosed with kidney disease; she began dialysis which continued on a nightly basis for nearly two years until a transplant was possible. Somewhat earlier she showed early signs of Parkinson’s disease and developed increasing pain in her back and legs. A woman of great energy for life, Sandy just kept going with smiling determination. In 2012 she celebrated her Golden Jubilee with her students, friends and family in Mobile and then retired to the Motherhouse, joining the Novitiate Second Floor community.

Sandy brought all her creative energies and a vast amount of art supplies with her from Mobile. She quickly applied her artistic talents to transforming a farm wagon into a Christmas float for the parade through the town of Loretto. She organized and staffed an art room in the Novitiate building, drawing many Motherhouse residents and employees into her web of creative enthusiasm. Her most recent efforts included a PowerPoint presentation for the Mary Rhodes Awards at the 2015 Loretto Assembly in celebration of the many women who staff the Motherhouse and Infirmary services.

McGill Toolen High School had not forgotten Sandy. Just last month, Sandy went happily back to Mobile to be inducted into the School’s Hall of Fame. Typically, she worked until the last minute to prepare handmade gifts for each of the other inductees. It was a weekend of accolades and loving remembrances from colleagues and students, praising Sandy for “making the world a better, brighter, more colorful place, particularly for young people.”

— By Eleanor Craig


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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Marie Revere on November 18, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Sandy, I know you are with Susie, Jack and your parents. I will always remember you and the fun we had on those trips to visit “Aunt Dot” in New Orleans when we were seniors in high school. May you rest in peace.

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