Sister Boyle remembered for commitment to Catholic education

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SAN DIEGO — Sister Breege Boyle, a former associate director of the Diocese of San Diego’s Office for Schools, died July 6.

She devoted 55 years to Catholic education in California.

Born on Dec. 5, 1938, in Dublin, Ireland, Sister Boyle entered the Sisters of St. Louis on Oct. 3, 1956. The eldest of eight children, she delayed entering the convent by a month because she wanted her youngest brother to know and remember her.

Sister Boyle was missioned to the United States in 1959. She taught elementary school at St. Cyprian, Long Beach; Our Lady of Malibu, Malibu; Cathedral Chapel, Los Angeles; St. Robert, Sacramento; and St. Pancratius, Lakewood.

She returned to Cathedral Chapel, Our Lady of Malibu and St. Cyprian as principal before spending her final 15 years of ministry in the Diocese of San Diego, where she served from 2000-2015 as associate director of the Office of Schools.

“Sister Breege will always be warmly remembered as a staunch advocate of our Catholic schools,” said John Galvan, who has served as director of the Office for Schools since August 2014. “She was joyful and gracious in her approach to this educational profession as ministry. She will be missed.”

Among other things, Sister Boyle led an annual Beginning Teachers Academy for teachers starting their first year in a Catholic elementary school classroom. The program, which included a one-day summer work-shop with follow-up sessions over the following months, was designed to help the new teachers to understand the significance of teaching in a Catholic classroom, to collaborate with and support one another, to share resources and expertise, and to learn to problem-solve and prioritize.

She also oversaw Catholic preschools during her years of service in the diocese.

“She was the inspiration behind our new ‘Preschool Director of the Year’ award due to her tireless support of our youngest students,” said Dr. Julie Cantillon, associate director of the Office for Schools. “Additionally, she oversaw federal programs and ensured all students, particularly those on the margins, received the services they were entitled to.”

In 2015, Sister Boyle retired to Louisville Convent due to serious illness and, when her health declined further, she moved to Holiday Manor skilled facility, where she passed away peacefully.

Sister Boyle was a true lover of the Irish language and poetry. Every night, she would bless those around her, making the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads and giving the blessing in Irish.

She was also extremely committed to anti-trafficking. She supported Mary’s Guest House in San Diego, where women who have survived trafficking find a place to rehabilitate and return to health and life. Even when she left San Diego, she continued to make sure this project could be supported.

A memorial Mass for Sister Boyle will be held at an undetermined date in the future when restrictions on travel and large gatherings have been eased.

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