Being Part of a Catholic Education
I was blessed to have a Catholic education growing up and also blessed to be a small instrument in the education of students who attend Mount St. Joseph University. Having been educated by the Sisters of Charity at St. William Elementary School and Seton High School, both located in Price Hill, I was fortunate to have been taught by people who cared about me as a person and always encouraged me to do my best. Not only did we learn our regular lessons but we also got to do some fun things.
S. Alice Therese Mengel at St. William taught me how to weave a small purse on a large loom she kept in her fourth grade classroom. The Sisters and teachers there also supported our lunch-time volleyball matches and sports teams. The faculty would even attend some of our games. This created a sense of family and pride at our school. The P.T.A. would hold an Advent Luncheon every year where Mr. Dave Allen, our music teacher, and the students would put on a Christmas pageant. And what is amazing is that Dave Allen is still the choir director at St. William! His devotion to St. William is so inspiring.
At Seton High School, under the direction of Sisters Judith Metz and Marie Christopher Keane, I was selected to be an exchange student to Western Hills High School (a public high school) for a day. It was indeed an eye-opening experience for me and one that I have never forgotten. Life-long friendships made at Seton continue today with their mission of “Sisterhood” for all students. Even my daughter, Betsy, and her daughter, Maggie, have experienced the value of the Seton “Sisterhood.” The preparation I received from Ms. Linda Huelsman at Seton studying in the business department was second to none and helped me secure my first job at AT&T upon graduation.I have been working at Mount St. Joseph University for almost 32 years and have been inspired by the many faculty and staff members who work there as well as the Sisters of Charity who sponsor the University. My Catholic education and working at a Catholic institution have taught me to live and embrace the University’s mission as well as the Sisters of Charity mission. I thank the Sisters for their dedication to Catholic education and for touching my life in a most positive way!
Kathy Rogers Owens
St. William, class of 1970
Seton High School, class of 1974
Mount St. Joseph University, School of Arts & Humanities, Administrative Assistant
Teaching fulltime at the Mount St. Joseph University for nearly three decades has allowed me to do what good teachers do, according to Parker Palmer: “join subject and self and students in the fabric of life.” Because I am at a Catholic institution, I am free to be me, not only to instill in students essential habits of mind but also to be vulnerable enough to share my deepest values, ones rooted in the heritage of the Sisters of Charity as well as in the social justice tradition of the Church.
I expose my students to a “fabric of life” they may have never encountered, by having them read about the Sisters of Charity, and visit the Motherhouse, in my Common Ground course. I ask them to dig deeply into the lives of icons, dead and living, who promote the common good–a Dorothy Day or Desmond Tutu or Helen Prejean. As they mature I accompany them to New York to explore global issues that surface as part of a United Nations class, then ask them to return to Cincinnati and serve local people affected by poor education, food deserts, or poverty. These classes reflect my spiritual core. I am privileged to work at the Mount where I can share who I really am with my students.
Elizabeth Bookser Barkley, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Chair, Department of Liberal Arts
Mount St. Joseph University