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The O’Connell Sisters - Class of '74 and '75

Kateri O’Connell Delaplaine, RN BSN and Jeanne O’Connell, MD, graduated from Saint John’s just one year apart - Kateri in 1974 and Jeanne in 1975.  Back then, they probably never anticipated all these years later they would be working together, but that is exactly how it has worked out. In 2006, the two sisters founded Sylvana Institute Med Spa, along with a third sister, Meg Comer, who also attended Saint John’s. Jeanne serves as the Medical Director, Kateri is the Clinical Director and Meg is the Chief Operations Officer. Sylvana Institute provides state-of-the-art medical aesthetic services in Frederick.

The O’Connell’s father was a Navy physician who attended Mount St. Mary’s after WWII, and fell in love with Frederick County. So, while both Kateri and Jeanne were born in Philadelphia, the family relocated to the Frederick area in the early 1960’s, and their father continued his career at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Once the O’Connell family settled in Frederick, Saint John’s was lucky to have many of them attend the school. Kateri and Jeanne remember their years at Saint John’s fondly and were happy to share some of those memories. While at Saint John’s, Kateri enjoyed playing volleyball, and Jeanne played basketball, softball, and soccer. Kateri remembers all the school dances being a great time, but one stands out to her – October 14, 1972. As they were preparing for the dance, the trees on the front lawn of the Prospect Hall mansion were fabulously red and gold in the setting sun – a memory that has stuck with her through the years. Jeanne remembers her wonderful years at Saint John’s: smoking in the sunken gardens, Mrs. Semler’s cupcakes and veggie soup, Dr. Ladino “a mole is a number, to be sure”, “If anyone can, Mrs. Mullican can!”, Sr. Theresa Marie’s (“Turk’s”) 8:30 History class, and Mrs. O’Connor’s hall passes.

Upon graduation from Saint John’s, Kateri went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UMBC. She worked as a hospital nurse for 13 years, followed by working in various sales positions for Abbott Laboratories and Hospira Worldwide until 2006 when she and her sisters opened Sylvana Institute. Kateri has two daughters and three granddaughters – her eldest daughter is an Internist at the Veteran’s Affairs outpatient clinic in Hagerstown and her younger daughter is a Business Applications Specialist at Wells Fargo. Kateri is married to Buck Delaplaine and lives in Frederick. In her spare time, she likes to read and watch vintage movies. She still gets together with former classmates and even helped to organize a multiyear reunion in 2010 and 2014. We are blessed to have Kateri as a member of the Saint John’s Catholic Prep Board of Trustees.

A degree from Saint John’s was just the beginning of Jeanne’s educational journey.  She took some classes at FCC and then finished her undergraduate degree at Towson, completed her Masters in Medical Virology, and received her Medical Doctorate from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Jeanne spent the better part of her adult life in Emergency Medicine before transitioning in 2006 to her medical aesthetic practice, Sylvana Institute. In 2012, the business expanded to include Restorasis Health, and she recently launched an international skin care product called 3 Sisters Restorasis.  Jeanne is married and has a son who is a mortgage banker, a daughter who is a Resident, pursuing Neurology, and a stepson who is following in his father’s footsteps as a small business owner. It is hard to believe Dr. O’Connell would have any spare time, but when she does, she enjoys reading scientific journals and gardening, but her grandbabies are the joy of her life. Jeanne has stayed in touch with her former classmates and calls them “the best friends of my life!”

We are proud Kateri and Jeanne are part of the Saint John’s family and we thank them for sharing their story with us. If you would like to share your story since graduation, contact Michele Rogers.