While many people hold fond memories of the Olympic Games, Sister William Aloysius’s reminiscence isn’t one of a competitor’s or a fan rooting on the USA to Gold.
It was in 1996, that the then 72-year-old Sister of Saint Joseph, carried the Olympic Torch through Amsterdam as part of the Olympic Torch Relay en route to the games in Atlanta, Ga. Today, a replica of that torch sits behind a wing-backed chair at the St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, N.Y.
The longtime staff member in the maternity ward at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam was selected to serve as a torchbearer through a search conducted by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and facilitated by United Way member organizations. My first thought was “wow, me?", Sr. Aloysius said. “It’s still a source of wonder today that I was selected.”
She was nominated by the hospital’s vice-president of corporate development.
As a torchbearer, wearing a veil on her head and a pair of Reebok sneakers on her feet, she carried the 32-inch high, 3.5-pound torch for six-tenths of a mile and admits to walking most of the way. “I recall seeing the people and my family coming from hither and beyond with the Red, White and Blue Patriotism’’ said the 90-year old nun, from Coxsackie, N.Y. who graduated from the Nursing Program at the College of Saint Rose in 1944. “I know they didn’t pick me for my athleticism. That’s for sure.”
Upon entering her room with many religious relics displayed, tucked behind her dresser is a pair of snowshoes. In upstate New York she still hopes to get use out of them. How’s that for a lack of athleticism?