Our Living the Dream Honoree: Joe Nolan’s CSJ Boston Ties

Gail Donahue, CSJ, in Partnership with the Communications Team

Joe Nolan has been a member of the Living the Dream Dinner Committee from the start, and it is no surprise that he has been chosen as the 2023 Living the Dream honoree – but not everyone knows the intricacies of the connection he shares with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.

Gail Donahue, CSJ, shared her thoughts and memories of Joe one chilly afternoon in January in her cozy apartment at the Motherhouse. As she explained how the sisters became acquaintances of Joe, it became even more apparent as to why he makes such an excellent honoree for this upcoming Living the Dream Dinner.

“He’s a gentle man, but he has a loud voice,” Sister Gail said, as she sought to paint the broad strokes of Joe Nolan’s character. Thoughtful. Energetic. Concerned about people.

Sister Gail has known Joe Nolan for over twenty years. She first crossed paths with him at 8:00 am daily Mass at Boston College, back in 2000. She didn’t realize it then, but later on, he would play an instrumental part in the future of several Catholic schools in Boston.

Jack Connors, another well-known sponsor and friend of the CSJ community, has been close with Joe Nolan for years. Both of them are staunch Catholics with generous hearts and are as passionate about their causes as they are supportive of them. As these two men saw Catholic schools in Boston struggling, they rushed to their aid.

Sister Gail was serving as the principal for St. Angela School in Mattapan when finances within the school, as well as neighboring schools, faced uncertainty. Throughout the past half century, multiple elements have shifted; a rapidly decreasing amount of religious sisters and brothers, a sudden increase in teachers’ wages, and mounting costs for new buildings and equipment have all resulted in the closing of Catholic schools across the country. Even in a dense urban place, such as Boston, Catholic schools have closed. However, at St Ann in Neponset, St Gregory in Lower Mills, Blessed Mother Teresa in Dorchester, St Angela in Mattapan, and St. Mark in Dorchester, the five institutions had the brilliant idea of merging together to form Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy in 2008. Joe Nolan helped this to happen with his generous support.

Along with helping to prevent the collapse of these five schools, Joe Nolan has worked with the sisters throughout the years as they developed the Living the Dream Annual Gala, and has been an ever-present advocate and promoter of this event.

On a personal level, Joe emits warmth and positivity. He’s a family man. Sincere, and ordinary. After being asked what she meant by “ordinary” Sister Gail clarified that, “Despite being the CEO of Eversource, he’s humble.”

“When I heard that we were honoring Joe Nolan for our 150th-Inspired 2023 Living the Dream Dinner, I was ecstatic” Sister Gail said, “He is the epitome of who we are as Sisters of St. Joseph and what we value: excellence, gentleness, and joy.”

Learn more about Living the Dream Dinner below!


Living the Dream Dinner 2023

April 24 2023

 In person at the Seaport Hotel, Boston MA, and virtually

Join us to celebrate the history and past and present contributions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, and honor our good friend Joe Nolan with the Dear Neighbor Award.

To buy tickets or become a donor, click below!

Free virtual tickets are also available.