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Congressman Lynch Gives Newton Nun Ticket To See Pope

BOSTON (CBS) - One-third of the members of congress are Roman Catholic, and before the historic joint session Thursday they each had a big decision to make. Who would get the hottest ticket in Washington - their one extra ticket to sit in the gallery for the pope's speech?

Some members gave them to relatives. Others, like Congresswoman Katherine Clark, had essay contests. But many of the members gave that seat to a special nun in their life.

Despite being inundated with calls from constituents, Congressman Stephen Lynch chose a nun with a very unique background. The decision was a no-brainer.

"We have angry constituents because we have one ticket and that has gone to Sister Barbara," Lynch explained.

That's Sister Barbara Rogers, headmistress of Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. When it comes to nuns she doesn't exactly fit the expected profile. After receiving her MBA from Yale School of Management, she chose to focus her life on educating Catholic girls for the twenty first century.

Lynch believes, "[Rogers] could be a Fortune 500 CEO if she chose to go in that direction. But instead she has, through her self-sacrifice, been a blessing to so many hundreds of young women who have had the benefit of her teaching and her guidance."

"I'm thrilled about it absolutely thrilled!," Rogers says,

Rogers understands the significance of being a nun in the modern age.

She believes, "it is a great way to live your life and it is not about 'going away from' - it is going more deeply toward the reality of the world."

The reality of the world is what she expects congress to hear from the politically astute pope.

"He has a deep respect for what America stands for so I expect tremendous affirmation of the values of our country. I think he will also challenge the congress to live up to the ideals of our country and his concern for the poor - I expect that to be at the heart of what he says," Rogers remarks.

Her school motto is courage and confidence, words that could also describe the pontiff himself.

"It's been an amazing response from the very beginning and what's been remarkable is he keeps surprising us by being a full person," she explains.

Just to illustrate the kind of influence and reach Sister Rogers has had on women - WBZ-TV's own Christina Hager had Sister Rogers in high school in the Washington, D.C., area!

Sister Barbara Rogers is just one of the Americans who will be in the gallery to hear the pope's historic message.

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