Sister Susan E. Albert, 56, technology coordinator

March 14, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Sister Susan E. Albert, technology coordinator for the U.S. and Canadian provinces of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, died Thursday of a heart attack aboard a train in Chicago. She was 56.

Sister Susan, an educator and former parochial school principal, was traveling to St. Cloud, Minn., to conduct a North American Major Area Database Workshop for her order when she was stricken.

The Pikesville resident had been academic vice principal for two years of the Institute of Notre Dame in East Baltimore until July, when she was appointed to the post she held at her death.

In her role as technology coordinator, Sister Susan was responsible for the computers and database that link the order's seven provinces in the United States and one in Canada.

Sister Susan was known for her approachable and open style and easygoing demeanor.

"She was a very wholesome person who -- despite her brilliance -- was a well-rounded individual who was gifted with a great sense of humor. She was a gem in the science department," said Sister Mary Fitzgerald, principal of the Institute of Notre Dame and longtime friend.

"She was an excellent teacher and the type of person who loved to challenge students. She encouraged critical thinking and for them to look for creative options outside of the box," she said.

Born Susan E. Albert in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a 1961 graduate of St. Saviour High School and earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1964.

She earned a master's degree in physics from Ball State University in 1981.

She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1966 and professed her vows in 1968.

She began teaching math and science in 1968 at Notre Dame Preparatory in Towson.

In 1970, she joined the faculty of Institute of Notre Dame, where she taught science until 1973.

From 1973 until 1984, she was a science teacher at St. Mary High School in Annapolis and for her last two years there was academic vice principal. She was assigned to Hagerstown, where she was principal of St. Maria Goretti High School from 1987 to 1997.

"She was a highly regarded and concerned teacher who reached out to the slow learners. She had a genuine concern for them," said Sister Bernice Feilinger, who taught with her at Institute of Notre Dame in the 1970s.

"She thrived on teaching," said Sister Constance Baker, who teaches religion at DeLone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Pa., and had been on the faculty of St. Maria Goretti.

"She was very unassuming about her gifts and talents and was the type of person who acted and stood on her principles and beliefs. She had a real and deep concern for all people. She was always calling politicians to talk about children, poverty and violence and what we could do to change those situations," she said.

An insatiable reader, Sister Susan prided herself on preparing fresh and original lectures for her students that were drawn from a wide range of sources.

"She wanted to empower them. She always tried to inspire dreams in others," said Sister Constance.

She was an avid Redskins football fan and enjoyed rail travel, taking every opportunity to journey by train.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 3 p.m. Thursday at Villa Assumpta, 6401 N. Charles St., Baltimore.

She is survived by an aunt, Mary Mosler of Woodside, Long Island, N.Y.; and several cousins.

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