Sister Frances Zajac, FSE
Sister Frances Zajac has the distinction of being the only Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist in a sports hall of fame. In 2008 Francis T. Maloney Public High School, Meriden, Connecticut, inducted her into its elite group of sports stars. She earned a total of ten Varsity letters while playing softball, volleyball and basketball during her high school years. After college and three years as a Peace Corps volunteer, she returned to the school as the head girls’ volleyball coach as well as a basketball and tennis coach.
Sister Frances is even more renowned at her high school alma mater as a science teacher and as the chair of the science department for nine of her 22 years of working at the school.
Retiring from Maloney High School in 2016, Sister Frances was quickly invited to join the faculty of Sacred Heart High School, Waterbury, Connecticut, as a science teacher. Sister Frances’ passion for supporting young men and women through their teenage years is constant as she frequently opens opportunities for positive, life-altering choices when their young lives seem diminished by poverty, family problems, isolation and even homelessness. She has led young Catholics on World Youth Day pilgrimages to join over a million youth to pray with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 2000, in Toronto in 2002, and with Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid in 2011. She participated in Pope Francis’ World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland in 2016.
Sister Frances has a natural curiosity for how things are built and how they work. She thrives on the challenge to fix anything that is broken or not working right, whether it is a riding lawn mower or a delicate time-piece. Sister Frances received a Bachelor degree in pre-medicine and a Master of Science in secondary science from the University of Dayton where she also had an outstanding sports career playing Division I volleyball, basketball and softball. She earned a Sixth-Year degree in Educational Leadership in 2004 from Southern Connecticut State University. She serves on the board of Southington Catholic School.
In 2013 she successfully passed all the courses and internship at the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Connecticut. Sister Frances assists Sister Patricia Glass, the Community’s first funeral director in caring for the Sisters in death.
Sister Frances met the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist through a fellow member of a Catholic young adult group who suggested she volunteer at the Sisters’ work days. She subsequently entered the Order and professed perpetual vows in 2007. She is one of four local Meriden/Cheshire women who have become Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.