Sister Michel Rodgers, OP, a member of the Caldwell Dominicans for 70 years, was a proud Irish woman with a wry sense of humor and the gift of storytelling. She was faithful and present to family and friends, especially during their times of need, and her gentle heart will be her lasting gift.

Sister Michel had a long, successful ministry in education as an engaging teacher and exceptional administrator, working with students from first grade through college. Initially coming to Caldwell College (now University) as an instructor in sociology, she ministered over the years as director of academic advisement, assistant dean of academic affairs, director of residents in Mother Joseph Residence Hall, and vice president and dean of student life. After retiring from the latter position, she volunteered as a tutor in the Academic Support Center. Sister enjoyed assisting students with their research and writing and then celebrating their successes. In 1992, she received the Outstanding Program Award from the ACT/NACADA Program for Academic Advising and, in 1995, she was awarded the Caldwell Cup by the university in recognition of her unique contribution to the campus. Sister’s years at the university were sandwiched around a ministry as teacher and principal at Saint Francis de Sales School in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas, and she had many fond memories of those years. Prior to these ministries, Sister Michel served as teacher and basketball coach at Saint Mary High School, Rutherford, and also taught at Saint Cassian School, Upper Montclair; Mount Saint Dominic Academy, Caldwell; and Saint Aloysius School, Caldwell. Following her retirement from the university, Sister served as assistant resident manager at Marian Manor.

Sister Michel was an avid supporter of Caldwell University’s intercollegiate athletic programs and one of Caldwell’s most vocal cheerleaders, seldom missing a basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, or sprint football game. In 2010, Sister Michel was selected as a member of the inaugural class of the Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame for her significant role in supporting these programs. She often had critiques for the coaches, letting them know who should get more or less playing time and what coaching moves they should make. And she had her spiritual journal—her basketball scorebook—to prove she was right. Yet that tough, no-nonsense mind was accompanied by a soft, generous heart and a marvelous sense of humor, which she often used at her own expense. She had a great interest in politics and was an avid newspaper reader, absolutely devouring the daily sports section and obituaries.

A true woman of the gospel, Sister Michel preached the love of God and neighbor in both word and action. She is now united with her God and with her mother, Grace, her father, William, and her sisters, Ruth and Rita. Anyone who knew her can close their eyes and see her in her red jacket, a glass of bubbly in hand, itching to get out on the dance floor for the Electric Slide or sit in the bleachers to cheer on the athletes. We raise our own glasses in a toast to a life well lived, and we pray: “May God hold you, Michel, in the palm of His hand.”

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