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S. Louise Zaplitny

“God doesn’t give us what we can handle; God helps us handle what we are given.” Throughout the years, Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Louise Zaplitny has referred to this quote many times and depended on her faith to comfort her in the most difficult of times. Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1945, Sister attended St. Mark grade school and Girls Catholic Central High School, graduating in 1963. This year she is celebrating 25 years as a woman religious.

Sister Louise’s entrance into religious life is unique. She married her husband, Steven Zaplitny, in 1965 and had two sons, Mark and Fred, in 1969 and 1970. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Walsh College (Troy, Michigan) in 1988 and after the death of her husband in 1991, she entered a retreat program called Annotation 19 of the Ignatian Exercises the following fall. It was during this retreat that Sister Louise felt the pull to religious life, and after reading a book on Elizabeth Ann Seton, Sisters of Charity founder, given to her by retreat director, Sister of Charity Kay Tardiff, Sister Louise visited the Motherhouse to talk about pre-entrance.

Sister Louise entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1993, with the full support of her two sons and her sister, Emily. She returned to school and graduated with a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio) in 2001. She also became Board-certified as a chaplain through the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.

In 2003, Sister Louise moved back to Michigan to be closer to her children. She became aware that her younger son was dealing with many emotional issues and though she tried to get him the help he needed, he died in May that year, which was devastating for herself and her older son. Only two years later, Sister’s son Mark died after getting an infection. Though she went through two unimaginable losses, Sister Louise said, “It is my faith in God that got me through the pain of the loss of both of my children and my husband. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton didn’t lose her faith either; she deepened her faith through her losses, and her writing helped me with that.”

Throughout all of this hardship, Sister Louise has had a rich and rewarding ministry as a chaplain in various medical centers in Ohio and Detroit, where she first was chaplain at Vencare Hospice in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then retired in 2015 from Mercy Siena Retirement Community in Dayton, Ohio, after serving 18 years as a chaplain.

Most recently Sister Louise volunteered at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where she visited patients as part of the Anam Cara Program. She currently volunteers with the Brunner Literary Center in Dayton, where she helps adults learn math. She also enjoys spending time with her sister, Mary Ann, who lives in Assisted Living at Bayley, and with her sister’s children.