The Sister/Associate relationship was established in 1972 so that individuals – lay women and men – could partner with the Sisters in responding to the Gospel in the spirit of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Close to 200 Associates reside throughout the US; in 2014 we will take the opportunity to get to know a few of them.
Associate Spotlight – Irene Diesel
By Josh Zeller, Communications student intern
Associate Irene Diesel (right).
Where do you currently live?
I currently live in Hyde Park.
Are you currently employed? If so, please describe your responsibilities and how long you have been there.
No, I retired 12 years ago. But I was a librarian for about 15 years. I taught first grade for 15 years, and then I decided to become a school librarian and loved it! I really enjoyed working with the children, and reading to them.
Tell us a little about yourself, including your hobbies, interests, or volunteer activities.
When I retired, I thought I would do all the things I couldn’t do when I was working, and I belonged to about three or four clubs—we played cards or dominos. I love to read; I like mysteries! I enjoy crafting, knitting, and embroidery. I dedicate all of my volunteer time to working here in the Resource Center at the Motherhouse; I’ve been in the Resource Center for two or three years. I also sing in the choir at St. William. I love music! If I didn’t have music in my life, the world would be really dull. I’ve been singing with the choir for 10 years.
How did you become acquainted with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati?
I was educated at St. William and Seton High School. I went to school with S. Joyce Brehm. We had been friends for years and years, and through a school reunion we got better acquainted. She knew I was a retired librarian, so when she found out that they needed help in the Motherhouse library, she asked me if I’d come and help.
How long have you been an Associate?
I made my commitment as an Associate this spring (2015).
What compelled you to become an Associate of the Community?
The people who I work with in the library are Associates: Kathy Vogelpohl and Patty Broughton. They talked about [being Associates] a lot, and I really enjoy being out at the Motherhouse because the Sisters hold dear to a lot of the things that I hold dear to—they think the same way.
How have some of the Sisters or your fellow Associates touched your life?
I have absolutely loved getting back with friends, people I was friends with in grade school and high school. It’s just phenomenal because we have so much fun. I can’t get over what kind, loving people they are. The Sisters here at the Motherhouse are also nice, welcoming, and pleasant—it’s just very calm here, and a wonderful place to be; you’re so appreciated.
Do you see yourself touching others’ lives similarly?
I try—I don’t see myself doing that, but apparently I must because people tell me that I do! If people understood how happy you can be in giving rather than taking, then more people would be giving.
In what ways do you feel you carry out the spirit of Elizabeth Seton in your daily life?
Elizabeth Ann Seton was a teacher, and I was a teacher. I was always at the elementary school where I was very mothering, and caring, and loving, thinking that I could make a difference in that child’s life if I was just kind to him, and understood him, rather than just trying to teach him the ABCs. I would like to think I am doing a lot, but compared to Mother Seton, I’m hardly doing anything!