A Sister to 1,000 Brothers

Sister Mary Rogers officially retired on June 30, 2015 after a distinguished 15 year career as a drug and alcohol counselor at Fr. Alfred Center.  For thousands of people, she was the first face they saw when making the life-changing decision to seek treatment for their addiction.  For many more, she was a critical link in their journey to remain clean and sober. “If you told me 25 years ago I’d be doing THIS, I’d say you were crazy,” she chuckled.  ‘THIS’ describes the experience of being an 80 year old nun and the only female counselor in a drug and alcohol recovery program for 60 homeless and low-income men. Nearly 39 years ago, Sr. Mary took her last sip of alcohol and never looked back.  At the time, she and her husband Jack checked into a recovery program for alcoholics in Santa Barbara, determined to find their own sobriety.  Two years later, in 1978, Jack died, leaving Sr. Mary widowed, newly sober, and searching for a way forward in life. When I asked, what influenced her to become sober?, Sr. Mary responded with a resounding, “Ugh.  That was so long ago.” After a thoughtful pause, she elaborated and said, “Finally, some part of me surrendered enough to let God in.”  This surrender eventually led her to religious life.  She joined the Sisters of the Holy Names in 1991. Sister Mary first heard about St. Anthony’s from Fr. John Hardin in the late 1990s.  At the time, she was working as the secretary to the Provincial for the Franciscan Friars in Oakland.  She had just completed a Master’s Degree...