SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Sister Rose Thering was a tough act to follow; she was a deeply passionate upstander who devoted her life to the fight against anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church. Honoring Thering’s memory and those who follow in her footsteps, inspirational presenters and performers — representing the Jewish, Catholic and Baptist communities — participated in the Sister Rose Thering Fund’s 25th annual Evening of Roses on Tuesday, June 5.
The fund’s major fundraising vehicle, this year’s event honored Darrell Terry Sr., president and CEO of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, as well as an alumnus of the university’s Master of Healthcare Administration program. Also honored at the event was Marilyn Rosenbaum, longtime Sister Rose Thering Fund trustee.
Following opening remarks from university President Mary Meehan, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark delivered a keynote address in which he compared Thering to Pope Francis.
“Both allowed themselves to be enlightened by God to see people’s faces and, in those faces, recognize common humanity,” he said. “But she could also see how elements of our church had disfigured the faces of the Jewish people.”
He then drew parallels between religious conflict during the days of Thering and that of today, using statistics to illustrate that “the fund is needed now more than ever.” He concluded by prompting the audience of nearly 200 to consider: “What will be your role in extending the reach of the fund’s mission over the next 25 years?”
After a brief video presentation reflecting on the history of the fund, the audience was treated to a musical performance by the choir from the Christian Love Baptist Church, of which Terry is a member.
Rosenbaum received the Sister Rose Thering Fund Lifetime Achievement Award. A founding member of the fund, Rosenbaum recounted how she first met Thering and how together they helped bring the fund to fruition. She then echoed Tobin’s sentiments about how critical the mission of the fund is to this day.
“Most survivors of the Holocaust aren’t here anymore to tell their story. That’s why what we do is so important. We’re telling their story,” she said.
Terry received the Rev. Ron Christian Award for Community Leadership; the award’s namesake had an energetic style and compassionate approach to ministry that helped transform the Christian Love Baptist Church into one of the Newark area’s most vibrant houses of worship. He was, and still is, a mentor to Terry, who has pioneered award-winning initiatives to improve the overall health and wellness of the communities served by Newark Beth Israel.
Terry called this award “the most meaningful I’ve ever received. Both Sister Rose and Rev. Ron shared similar qualities: They were passionate human beings, they were leaders and they were visionaries. I believe Rev. Ron is still working through me and through many others from heaven.”
Photos Courtesy of Seton Hall University