Women Crush Wednesday-Sr. Susan Thornell

Woman Crush Wednesday
Every Wednesday for the remainder of the semester, 1804 Society members will be highlighting a Sister of Notre Dame De Namur that is currently present on campus. These remarkable women will be sharing more about their ministries and involvement with Emmanuel College.

Sr. Susan Thornell
Associate Dean of Academic Advising

Sister Susan 

*What led you to join the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur?

I attended SND schools from kindergarten through high school, and entered the SND’s right after high school.  I think what drew me to the SNDs was the happiness that I saw every day among my teachers.  In my 12 years of pre-college education, I was taught only by sisters.  I loved my classes and I particularly enjoyed working at projects outside of the classroom with the sisters.  They were fun people, but REAL people and who drew me!


*Why did you choose the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur over another religious order?

I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and so it was natural to start with the best teachers I knew- the SNDs.  I really never consider any other community.


* What is your personal mission/ministry? How has Emmanuel College been a part of your mission/ministry?

We often use St. Julie’s quote, “Education is the greatest work on earth!”  For me that is a real and living quote.  I was fortunate to receive an excellent education, and I wanted to provide that same opportunity for others.  I taught in suburban schools, and in inner-city schools before coming to Emmanuel.  The best part is when a former student calls to share a success or a life-milestone.  I’m not sure how much of the classroom learning is remembered by my students, but I hope they keep the life-lessons of generosity, kindness and reaching back to help the next generation of learners.


*What is your favorite part about Emmanuel?

No question about this… it’s the students.  The summer is so very quiet and offices are open, but the life of the college is missing.  I love fall move-in day – students are back!  Emmanuel students are appreciative- lots of “thank you’s” as they leave my office- and they want to create change in the world.  How could I not love them!


*How do you think the Emmanuel College community can best embody and live out the mission of the SNDs?

I think this is a very personal decision.  Sometimes it may be a BIG thing, such as organizing a fund-raiser or committing to weekly service at a shelter.  Other times it may be something simple- reaching out  (maybe looking up from the cell phone!) to another student who looks a bit lonely, or seems to need someone to talk with.  Embodying the mission doesn’t have to mean huge sacrifices or giant deeds, it can be quiet concern for another.


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