Sister Pasqualine Frigo Honored by SJI


Read Sister Pasqualine's acceptance speech.

Sister Pasqualine Frigo's career in deaf education began in 1948 when a little white card arrived with her fate listed as "St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf." 

"In those days, your assignment simply arrived and that's what you were going to do with your life," says Sister Pasqualine.  "I was a little nervous, but then I saw the children and they were so beautiful.  I knew everything would be all right." 

More than 60 years later, thanks to Sister Pasqualine's patient efforts and years of educational services, hundreds of deaf children can now thank her verbally and continue to do so each year.  

On June 4 St. Joseph Institute (SJI) thanked Sister Pasqualine for her dedication to deaf education with the first annual Sister Pasqualine Frigo Remarkable Educator Award.

As the award's namesake, Sister Pasqualine was presented with the honor at the SJI academic awards ceremony. The ceremony was attended with supporters from near and far including current and former students, staff members, board members, and volunteers as well as her family members, Sisters of St. Joseph and current ESL students. All rose to honor her with a standing ovation.

Carrying forth Sister Pasqualine's legacy, this honor will be awarded annually to SJI educators, selected by a panel of their peers, who dedicated themselves to their students, their families and their peers to the highest quality of educational services possible.  

In addition the Sister Pasqualine Frigo Scholarship Fund has been established in her name to assist students that may not be able to receive services without financial assistance.

Sister Pasqualine taught all ages during her 48-year career, largely focusing on language and educational testing. In 1964, 16 years after her mission began, another white card arrived. This one read "principal."  Now with a master's degree in language pathology from Northwestern University, she served as leader of SJI for the next six years. 

She also taught at Fontbonne College for 19 years specializing in classes addressing social and psychological issues of the deaf. 

Of all her accomplishments and contributions, Sister Pasqualine recalls her favorite time at SJI was assisting in the dorms on the weekends. "The little ones were so cute and I just loved them all.  It felt maternal and very much like God's work," she says.

She retired in 1996 but continues to teach as an ESL instructor to foreign families in need of services. 

As a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Pasqualine has fully lived her Gospel call to serve a world in need.

"My motto was borrowed from Matthew 25, ‘whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.'" she says. "I felt that I could always go forward when I remembered this verse." 

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