The Catholic School Community of the Archdiocese of New York deeply mourns the loss of Seán Sullivan
The Catholic School Community of the Archdiocese of New York deeply mourns the loss of Seán Sullivan, Associate Superintendent of Secondary Schools. Download the PDF announcement here.
Seán’s career as a Catholic educator, administrator and coach spanned 47 years – nearly all of them at one storied institution, All Hallows High School in the Bronx. A legacy in his own right, Seán impacted the lives of thousands of young men as they made their way into college and beyond as productive members of society, guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Upon graduation from Iona College, Seán joined the faculty of All Hallows as a math teacher. In time, Seán would serve as chair of the math department, and in short order would be named vice-principal for student affairs. In 1996, he assumed the role for which he will always be remembered, serving for 23 years as principal of All Hallows High School.
Looking at Seán’s service, one must wonder if he made it more than a few blocks from the school. In addition to his duties within All Hallows High School’s classrooms and executive offices, Seán coached the baseball and hockey teams to multiple CHSAA championships, was Director of the Archdiocesan Inner-City Jobs Opportunity Program at All Hallows, served on the Archdiocesan Math Committee, and led the St. John’s University College Advantage Program. The role most dear to Seán was as Coordinator of the Foròige Leadership for Life Programme, National University of Ireland at Maynooth University.
Seán Sullivan – teacher, coach, principal, leader of young men – was first and foremost Irish. He was a particular brand of Irish, indigenous to his home heath. Seán was a Bronx Irish Catholic. Seán seemed incapable of relating a story from his ancestral home of County Cork without adopting a brogue – lilting for a slight fellow or a lady, gruff for a working-class tough. Seán Sullivan was all things Irish: funny, unassuming, self-effacing and so very kind with a sweet, helpful manner.
Ireland is called the land of happy wars and sad love songs. Seán embodied this as he battled these past months with a smile on his face, still telling funny stories from the auld sod, while every now and then tearing up as he remembered happy moments and old friends.
Given Seán’s aversion to attention and near-absence of ego, this excerpt of Irish prose for the departed by Henry Scott Holland seems to fit the moment and the man:
Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are.
Seán, may the Angels lead you into Paradise and may Light Eternal shine upon you. And, until we meet again may God hold you in the hollow of his hand.