Many families at Bishop O'Connell know Mrs. Cathy Carroll, who has served in the academics office for 28 years, and who has lovingly transported hundreds of children over those years in her yellow school bus from her neighborhoods in Southern Maryland to Bishop O'Connell. Only some of the O'Connell families also know her as the mother of five daughter, four of them are Bishop O'Connell alumni.
All five Carroll daughters are registered nurses. Together they have given 67 years to this profession.
Christina (Tina) and Regina (Gina), both graduated from O'Connell in 1995 and pursued degrees in nursing from Marymount University. Gina now has BSN, RN and CPEN behind her name. She has been a nurse for nearly 21 years and currently leads an emergency room team in a Southern Maryland hospital. "What I love most about being a nurse is the satisfaction of helping others through their worst moments," Gina said.
Gina's twin, Tina, served as a pediatric nurse before she passed away in 2008. "I know she would have been one of the first to stand up in these times right now and say, 'I am here and I am NOT afraid,'" her sister, Kimberly added.
Like her older sisters, Ashly (BSN, RN, and O'Connell class of 2003) also studied nursing at Marymount. She currently coordinates and provides care for those in the community in need of complex spinal surgeries. "I became a nurse because I have always been passionate about the betterment of human life," Ashly said.
The youngest sister, Courtny (BSN, RN, and O'Connell class of 2009) is another Marymount nursing graduate. She lives in California where she works as a traveling ICU nurse. Courtny is finishing up her Nurse Practitioner studies in May and will be first in the family to add AGACNP-BC to her title. "Nursing is not just a career to me; it is my passion—the love of helping people, and the challenge of not knowing what I will face each day," Courtny said. "This is a trying time for every nurse, but I cannot imagine being anywhere else but in a hospital helping others. I am thankful I have a job, blessed to have my health, and extremely proud to be a nurse."
Kimberly is the oldest Carroll daughter. She attended La Reine High School in Maryland, an all-girls Catholic high school which merged with McNamara in the 1990s. She has been a nurse for 25 years in the service of all facets of women's and children's healthcare including labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care, mother and infant care, and pediatrics. Kimberly's ties to O'Connell go beyond her sisters or her mom. Her daughter, Skylar, is a 2018 O'Connell graduate who is following the family career path and currently pursuing a nursing degree at James Madison University.
"I can say this about each of my sisters without reservation: They show up to work every scheduled shift, roll up their sleeves and fight; fight for those who cannot," Kimberly said.
"Despite our different nursing backgrounds, we have each stared this virus in the face—the faces of men, women and children," Kimberly added. "This virus does not discriminate, but instead it is a grand equalizer hurling us to our knees, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We fight because it is our calling; we fight because some of you cannot. We fight for ALL of humanity, because it is OUR passion. However, at the end of the day, we risk no more than our parents; our father who served for 27 years in the United States Army and our mother who has worked for Bishop O'Connell for the last 28 year, as she served her family 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Needless to say, Mrs. Carroll and her husband, Michael, are extremely proud of their children. "As all five daughters were starting their careers, we were regaled with stories of how our children were helping others—babies, children, mothers and adults," Mrs. Carroll said. "During these difficult times today, we have had our apprehension, but we stick by our belief that God has a plan for all. We have raised our children and watched them become strong women who give their lives every day to serve others in need."
Pictured above (L to R): Carroll sisters, Gina '95, Courtny '09, Ashly '03 and Kimberly.
UPDATE - The Carroll sisters made national news! See them featured on CBS This Morning (May 14, 2020)! View the segment (after a 30-second commercial) HERE or below: