Great Irish Fair

Kathleen Slattery Woman of the Year Award 2016

Sister Teresa (Tesa) Fitzgerald, C.S.J., executive director of Hour Children, is receiving the Kathleen Slattery Woman of the Year Award.

Sister Tesa
Sister Tesa

The daughter of Irish immigrants who worked on a Long Island estate, she attended St. Joachim School in Cedarhurst, L.I., and then Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, L.I., where she met the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, L.I.

She entered the congregation after high school and spent much of the next three decades in education. She taught at Catholic elementary schools, was principal of St. Vincent de Paul School, Williamsburg and was responsible for N.Y.S. curriculum oversight in the Brooklyn diocesan Catholic Schools Office.

She was involved in the founding of Hour Children when she became a foster parent in 1989 to eight children of incarcerated mothers at the convent where she lived. In 1996, Hour Children became a 501 (c)(3) organization offering supportive services to other children of incarcerated mothers and the mothers themselves.

In addition to being an educator, she is a certified foster care trainer.

Sister Tesa was named a CNN Hero in 2012, and a White House Champion of Change the following year. In 2014, she received the Opus Prize, the world’s most prestigious faith-based humanitarian award. Last year, she received the Papal Honor of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross.