The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Commemorating Sister Lillian’s jubilean journey: 75 years of devotion

Photo courtesy of Sister Lynn Winsor
Sister Lillian Lila, far right, stands with other Jubilarians and Bishop John P. Dolan on October 28 at an Oktoberfest celebration held at Founders Hall. This year Sister Lillian celebrates 75 years as a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sister Lillian Lila has been a Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 75 years. Her commitment to the sisterhood was celebrated on October 28 in Founders Hall at Xavier College Preparatory. To celebrate this occasion, the Xavier BVM sisters joined many other sisters from across the diocese to meet for a traditional Oktoberfest. 

Sister Joan Fitzgerald, president of Xavier, said, “The Oktoberfest was fun to just get together to hear what everyone is doing at the beginning of the school year.” The sisters were celebrating the Jubilee award winners of 2023, which is an award that recognizes a nun for her dedication to her faith for a number of years. 

Bishop John Dolan presented Lila and six other women with a Jubilee Award to commemorate the time they have spent with their order.

Lila entered her life as a sister when she was 20 years old. She was influenced by the nuns that she followed growing up. “I went to Immaculata, a BVM high school in Chicago where I met the sisters. I wanted to be close to Our Lady the Mother,” Lila said.

After leaving Chigaco, Lila spent time in Iowa to begin her life as a BVM. She also went to California to serve and often attended Disneyland.

While in Arizona, Lila has worked at St. Matthew’s Catholic Grade School. She brought a loving presence and taught many children while there. “I taught kindergarten and I liked the little people because every time I read them a story they’d ask me to do it again,” she said.

Lila is patient, and after leaving St. Matthew’s she joined the other BVM nuns at Xavier. She now lives in the convent and often takes care of household duties while the others are at work. She says her favorite thing about being a sister is “the group with whom I live and share prayer.” 

Sister Lynn Winsor, vice principal of activities, shared that Lila is a large help around the convent and often spends time with their shared dog, Socks. “Socks takes care of us,” Lila remarked. 

Winsor describes Lila as “very prayerful. She spends a lot of time in the chapel praying every day. We are very happy to have her, and she certainly deserves awards for 75 years of being a sister.”

The students around Xavier know Lila for her daily walks to Mass at lunchtime. She is often accompanied by Sister Isabel Conchos to worship daily at the Xavier chapel. “I like to go every day they have Mass,” shared Lila. 

She “likes the quiet of the chapel at the Xavier Convent and at Xavier’s Chapel of Our Lady at Xavier.” When the Xavier Chapel does not hold a daily Mass she attends St. Francis Xavier Church.

Lila is also known by the other sisters as being a beautiful artist and puzzlemaker. She loves to share her artwork with others. “I did a lot of oil paintings, some very big ones, and it is nice when I go visit my relatives and I see some of my artwork and my big paintings,” she added. Lila often donates her oil paints to the Xavier Art Department to help the continuing education of young artists. 

She is currently working on a committee that is put together by Winsor and the diocese as an interim Vicar of Religious, but this committee is really about connection. “She’s [Lila] working with the other sisters, mostly for socialization, to get together and do fun things with others instead of working all the time,” said Fitzgerald. 

Lila is a great example of a woman of faith pursuing excellence, which she has done for over 75 years. She continues to be a prayerful and loving presence in the Xavier community. 

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