St. John Family

In an unprecedented move, the 1999 Calegari Award was bestowed not on a individual, or even a couple, but an entire family: the St. John Family. Sheila St. John was overwhelmed by the honor, and and delighted her supportive family was recognized as well. Present at the Statewide Conference held in Salinas to receive the award with Sheila were her husband Les, their six children Heather, Dylan, Laurel, Keenan, Colin, and Caitlin, and three grandchildren, Brandon, Ashley and Sara. Cheering on from the audience was Sheila’s mother Catherine Keenan, her sister Mary Keenan Schoch, and her sister in law Susan Keenan.

St. John FamilySheila was the moving force behind planning the conference, so keeping the identity of the recipient of the award secret from her was no small task. In her remarks upon being announced as the recipient, Sheila said she accepted on behalf of all the NFP teachers in the audience, and throughout the state, who were equally deserving of being recognized for their dedication in persevering in sharing the good news of NFP, often against great obstacles. She thanked her family for their tireless support over the years, often providing hands on assistance in planning events and bringing various NFP projects to completion. When young, the children would help with mailings and folding brochures and such, and as they got older they could often be seen working registration tables, or assisting with their technical skills on computer tasks or audiovisual needs. She acknowledged  there were often sacrifices made, and many many blessings received.

calegari sheilaSheila has been teaching NFP in the Monterey Region since 1982, and for much of the time was the only NFP teacher in the entire Diocese. Perhaps this is what in part helped her to see immediately the value and need of a statewide organization of NFP teachers, users, and advocates, to support one another and collaborate in making NFP more widely available to all. Sheila was on the founding board of CANFP, and serving as President when honored with her family with the Calegari Award.