Sacred Heart School Players to present ‘Jewel of India’

Original play about St. Teresa of Calcutta written and directed by teacher Karen Nerney


EAST PROVIDENCE — Just before the pandemic, Karen Nerney, a fourth grade teacher at Sacred Heart School and director of the Sacred Heart Players, felt called to write a play about St. Teresa of Calcutta for the drama students she was working with at the time.
“We were weeks away from the performance, when everything came to a crashing halt,” she explained.
Now, the Sacred Heart Players of East Providence are ready to take the stage in the inaugural performance of ‘Jewel of India’ this coming weekend.
The Catholic educator and playwright, who has enjoyed creating saint-inspired scripts, felt inspired to write ‘Jewel of India,’ feeling a closeness with Mother Teresa. Over the years, she has written plays on St. Joan of Arc, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Kateri Tekawitha, Blessed Miguel Pro, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Dorothy Day.
As opening night approaches, Nerney said that her young performers are both excited and anxious. As the characters develop, and the play takes shape, she added that she is personally elated to see the students rehearse under the newly added lights.
“Drama can be unpredictable at this level. Our youngest member is playing Mother Teresa. She is in the fifth grade, and our oldest player is in the seventh grade. The reality that this is production week is filled with great anticipation and last-minute challenges. It all makes me wonder how much I am willing to ‘Let go and let God.’”
Nerney believes that it is vital for Catholic youth to make friends with the saints.
“For me, I believe the words of the play that I wrote, but hearing them repeated over and over during rehearsals, begs the question: “Am I willing to live what I believe?”

Performances will take place in the Sacred Heart Church hall, 118 Taunton Ave., on September 16 and 17 at 6 p.m., and September 18 at 1 p.m. This original play was written and directed by faculty member Karen Nerney. This performance is free for SHS students.

To purchase tickets, call the school at 401-434-1080 or email