May 05, 2021

Carole Tabano Marks 60 Years as School Sister of Notre Dame

Carole Tabano, SSND, celebrated her 60th Jubilee as a School Sister of Notre Dame on May 1. The Zoom/live stream event reached viewers in Italy, England, Canada, and the United States. S. Carole was honored to give the opening address.


“Sisters, we have all experienced some type of storms, fears, and losses during our journey as SSNDs, but we have also known the wonderful joys, the religious experiences, the ‘WOW’ moments, and the unconditional love, forgiveness, and embrace of our God as we journeyed to this day of Jubilee,” S. Carole stated. “Our losses of sister Jubilarians, the sufferings endured during the pandemic, the challenges and transitions that have been part of our lives have not been easy, and yet we are here today as signs and witnesses of God’s love. We are signs of women of faith and dedication. We are signs that we have walked through the storm, held our heads up high, and have seen the sun!” She added that she and the other Jubilarians are part of Christ’s ongoing love story.


S. Carole’s celebration continued May 2 at an early morning Mass at the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River. S. Carole’s long-time friend, S. Henrice Eckert, SSND, worked with their parish to arrange for the jubilarian to renew her vows and receive a special blessing from Presentation’s pastor, Father Bob Stagg, and celebrant Monsignor Ed Ciuba during the liturgy. The honoree was already scheduled to serve as lector, since the morning Mass was being offered for her family.


Fr. Bob and Fr. Ed honored S. Carole for continually saying “yes” to God’s call. Fr. Ed referred to the honoree several times during his homily about the vine and the branches and our interconnectedness with God. The congregation applauded S. Carole multiple times in appreciation of her dedicated service as an SSND.

S. Carole entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the Holy Angels Chapel in Fort Lee after her 1959 graduation from the Academy of the Holy Angels. A true Angels, S. Carole was involved in all aspects of life under the AHA dome in Fort Lee. She played softball, served as co-captain of the varsity basketball team, and belonged to the Athletic Association Board. She also participated in the theater program, was active with the Sodality of Our Blessed Mother, and wrote for the school newspaper.


During her celebratory Mass, Church of the Presentation Music Director Ed Ginter chose a bilingual (Spanish/English) version of “I Say Yes, My Lord,” an apt reminder of S. Carole’s 58-year teaching career.


In 1961, when S. Carole finished her training in Baltimore and went to teach in the mountain village of Aguas Buenas, she did not realize she had uttered the words, “Digo sí, Señor.” At the time, she did not speak a word of Spanish. This consummate educator quickly set to work teaching herself. She learned her new language so well that she spent many years helping others follow suit.

Her work in Aguas Buenas involved teaching 65 fourth graders, organizing the church music, and coaching the volleyball team and the boys’ track team. After five years, she moved to Notre Dame High School in Caguas, where she taught English, served as moderator of an award-winning Forensic League Club, produced and directed musicals, and was featured on TV and radio. Three years later, she moved to Garden, City, Long Island, where she taught Spanish to seventh and eighth graders. She also continued to produce and direct musicals. During this time, S. Carole received an undergraduate degree at Seton Hall University and a master’s degree in Spanish at Iona College.


S. Carole then went on to teach religion and Spanish at Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She moderated the drama club, and developed ways to keep the inner city students involved and safe after school. Her students appreciated her efforts, and shared cherished memories of their former teacher during a 25th class reunion.

In the late 1980s, S. Carole returned to New Jersey. She began teaching at her alma mater, which had moved from Fort Lee to Demarest in 1965. Before she retired in 2019, she invested 30 years teaching all levels of Spanish. She spearheaded the Spanish Club and National Spanish Honor Society’s fundraisers, which netted thousands of dollars for the education and care of students at an SSND school in Honduras. S. Carole was Advanced Placement Teacher of Year for helping Spanish AP students learn the language and achieve top scores on the exams for 10 years. She was also National Sponsor of the Year for her work with the National Spanish Honor Society, community building, fundraising for those in need, and for her students’ publications in the Spanish magazine, Albricias. She is a member of the AHA Athletic Hall of Fame.


Since her retirement, S. Carole has continued to be active at church, where she is a lector and Eucharistic Minister. She has also served as a guest speaker, and assisted with talks for the sacrament program. Before the pandemic, she was teaching English and Spanish at her library.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County.