Spotlight on Ministry – Cathy Pickerel

In this article, Cathy Pickerel reflects on her connections with the Sisters of the Presentation as a teacher and Associate, and her relatively new means of continuing connections with former students through Facebook. We are very glad she “landed at Pres” too.


“I was hired at PHS-San Francisco almost 46 years ago. I taught there, led retreats and days of prayer, organized liturgies, for 15 years. 15 years shaped by the spirit of the Presentation Sisters that infused and informed the school, and shaped, of course, by the hundreds of students I taught and got to know.

Challenging years. Wonderful years. Years when my mind and heart were stretched in ways I never expected.  Influenced and encouraged by the commitment of the Sisters to social justice led me on a journey that continues to this day. It was easy to say yes to the invitation to become an Associate (more than 20 years ago, I think).

Fast forward to 2022. I would have never imagined the wonders of computers and social media!  Would have never guessed I would be reconnected with so many of my former students via Facebook!  But here we are, and here I am blessed to get to know the amazing women Pres grads from my years there have become!  It was because of a couple of those grads that my current ministry came to be.

I am still “Ms. Pic” to them – the nickname I acquired my first year at Pres.  One of the things they remember (fondly) is the morning prayer I offered as Campus Minister. Early in the pandemic, a couple of them decided they needed that coming together in prayer that they experienced at Pres, and encouraged me to do a live prayer on Facebook!  I gave it a try – with some hesitation – and it continues to this day.

It inspired some to make special requests for prayer that I would then post on my Facebook page. That grew to become our “Prayer Family.”

What humbles me is that the mix of folks who connect with the morning prayer or who respond to the prayer requests. Former students from the three schools I taught at (the majority being Pres grads), former colleagues, classmates of mine from high school and even grammar school, cousins and other family members. Humbled, too, by the very strong bond among the variety of Pres grads. The family spirit of “Not words but deeds.” The unconditional willingness to support whoever asks for prayers. The trust they have in sharing their concerns. Humbled and grateful for my personal spiritual growth because of all of this. So, so grateful I landed at Pres!”