S. Miriam Thomas Busch
S. Miriam Thomas Busch died Feb. 7, 2017, at the age of 101 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Miriam Thomas was born Loretta Busch on June 13, 1915, to Charles and Elizabeth (Ryan) Busch in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the eighth of nine children, appreciating the benefits of having older sisters and brothers. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 83 years.
S. Miriam Thomas attended Holy Family Elementary, Mount St. Joseph Academy and graduated from Seton High School in 1933. She, along with her uncle and all her sisters and brothers, were taught by the Sisters of Charity at Holy Family. She entered the Congregation in August 1933. At the time of her diamond jubilee she remarked that she never once doubted that it was God’s desire for her to be a Sister of Charity. It was the community life and shared call to serve that energized her; she had a special love for the missions and foreign missionaries. They were often the subject of her prayer.
S. Miriam Thomas earned the Bachelor of Science in Education from the Athenaeum of Ohio in 1955. Her ministries brought her to the intermediate classroom for more than 40 years, beginning in 1935 at St. Mary, Jackson, Michigan; from there she went to St. Luke, Detroit, Michigan (1936-’39 and 1942-’44). Next Sister taught at: St. Aloysius, Fayetteville, Ohio (1939-’40); St. Boniface, Cincinnati (1940-’42); St. Leo, Detroit (1944-’45); St. Martin de Porres, Cincinnati (1945-’52); Holy Angels, Sidney, Ohio (1952-’53); St. William, Cincinnati (1953-’56 and 1976-’79); St. Patrick, Cincinnati (1956-’58); St. Albert, Kettering, Ohio (1958-’59 and 1963-’67); Resurrection, Cincinnati (1959-’63); and St. Michael, Findlay, Ohio (1967-’76).
It was in 1979 that S. Miriam Thomas looked beyond the classroom to apply her communication skills as a secretary for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a positon she enjoyed until 1986 when she retired from active ministry and began offering volunteer hours in the public relations department at Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati. She knew all the ins and outs of the hospital, her ready smile accompanied her everywhere - while making deliveries to departments and posting information in all the elevators. In 1989 the hospital recognized her with its Sister Grace Marie Hiltz Distinguished Volunteer Award for her qualities of caring, giving of self, love of humankind and dedicated service to the hospital.
As the oldest of three centenarians of the Sisters of Charity this past summer, S. Miriam Thomas shared her secret for a long life, “To always be happy.” Sister enjoyed art throughout her life and worked in a wide variety of mediums while a resident in Mother Margaret Hall. Each year she received ribbons and awards for her work from AOPHA, the Advocate of Not-for-Profit Services of Older Ohioans Art and Writing Show. She moved to Mother Margaret Hall in 2000 remaining active in activities, music, art and prayer.
S. Imelda Marie Cooper
S. Imelda Marie Cooper died Jan. 31, 2017, at the age of 91 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Imelda was born Imelda Jane on Nov. 16, 1925, to John and Julia (Scheid) Cooper in Cairo, Illinois. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 73 years.
S. Imelda attended St. Thomas elementary school, and Sacred Heart High School in Memphis, Tennessee, graduating in 1943. S. Imelda met the Sisters of Charity in Memphis at St. Thomas; thanks to Bishop Thomas Byrne of the Diocese of Nashville who sought help for his rapidly growing diocese from the Cincinnati community. Earlier in his priesthood he had served as the chaplain for the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati and they honored his request by sending six Sisters in 1907; S. Imelda and her S. Armin became their pupils at St. Thomas. S. Imelda followed in her sister’s footsteps, being the last Memphian to enter the SC Community in 1943. S. Imelda earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the Athenaeum of Ohio in 1952; she received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) in 1957 and later a master’s in religious education from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1967.
S. Imelda’s classroom ministries spanned 30 years, beginning in 1946 at St. Boniface, Cincinnati. From there Sister taught at St. Bernadette, Amelia, Ohio (1953-’56); St. Saviour, Rossmoyne, Ohio (1956-’57, 1966-’68); St. Mary, Cincinnati (1957-’58); St. Michael, Findlay, Ohio (1958-’66); Elizabeth Seton High School, South Holland, Illinois (1968-’72); St. Anthony, Kenton, Ohio (1972-’73); and St. Helen, Saginaw, Michigan (1973-’76).
Having completed her master’s in religious education a few years earlier, S. Imelda felt called to apply her new learning to another setting; the next 16 years she directed her ministries to the parish as liturgist, religious educator, parish administrator and eventually as chaplain in hospital and medical facilities settings. This took her to St. Josaphat, Saginaw and All Saints, Detroit, both in Michigan; Snyder and Omaha, Nebraska; Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, Iowa; and St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee. She worked mainly with oncology patients and led interdenominational prayer services. She served as part of the Pastoral Care Team for the last 11 years before retiring and returning to Memphis. There she spent time with family, enjoyed teaching in a home school program and continued to write poetry. S. Imelda was often called upon to compose poetry for special occasions within the congregation. When speaking about her poetry she stated, “Much of my work is about my own Sisters and my friends. I absorb something of their beauty and richness and that is what is expressed in my words. Some poems emerge from joy; some from pain. If I can receive the first line the rest follows swiftly.”
S. Imelda moved to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in 2006 where she volunteered as a lecturer for Masses in Mother Margaret Hall, enjoyed nature and her Sister friends; she became a resident of Mother Margaret Hall in 2013.
S. Joan Patrice Flynn
S. Joan Patrice Flynn died Jan. 14, 2017, at the age of 84 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Joan Patrice was born Joan Zoe Flynn on Oct. 6, 1932, to Joseph and Mildred (Murray) Flynn in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the fifth child of 10, being named for a Daughter of Charity friend of her mother’s. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 66 years.
S. Joan Patrice attended St. William School and was a 1950 graduate of Seton High School. She was taught by the Sisters of Charity and it was in a play about SC founder Elizabeth Seton in the seventh grade that she was attracted to religious life. She entered the Community on Feb. 2, 1951.
S. Joan Patrice received the Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) in 1966 and earned a master’s in theology from Xavier University (Cincinnati) in 1973. She did additional graduate work at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, and the University of New Hampshire.
S. Joan Patrice’s ministries brought her 58 years of classroom experiences, beginning in 1952 at the Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak, Michigan. From there she went to: St. William, Cincinnati (1954-’57); St. John the Baptist, Harrison, Ohio (1957-’60); St. Joseph, Springfield, Ohio (1960-’62); Corpus Christi, Dayton, Ohio (1962-’68); St. Mary, Chillicothe, Ohio (1968-’69); and Holy Redeemer, Kensington, Maryland (1969-’70). During these years S. Joan Patrice became known for her love for music and her creation of plays in which the students could participate.
In 1970 she chose to teach religious studies at Central Catholic High, Lima, Ohio, and then on to work with junior high students at St. Raphael, Springfield, Ohio (1971-’73). She served at Catholic Central High School for the next 15 years as theology teacher, administrative assistant, and dean of discipline. She shared her passion for social justice, incorporating field trips and speakers to enhance the learning environment. It was her belief that, as adults, her students would live their Gospel values, helping to shape a more just world.
In 1989 S. Joan Patrice accepted a position as theology teacher and department chair at Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody, Massachusetts, where she remained until 2003. She considered education the best of both worlds, “I have an opportunity to not only teach the students but to develop positive values as well.” Her focus was social justice. S. Joan Patrice served on the Board of Inn Transition, a shelter for abused women and their children on the North Shore, and sang first soprano for the Chorus North Shore in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
S. Joan Patrice moved to Cincinnati in 2003, teaching at Seton High School for one year until she underwent needed back surgery. Following her recovery she volunteered as an English as a Second Language tutor with the Cincinnati Public Schools and worked at St. William School teaching philosophy to first through fourth graders. It was a joy for her to come full circle, back with the little ones where she first began her classroom teaching. It allowed her creativity and enthusiasm for learning to flourish. She continued to share her voice in song.
S. Joan Patrice was always happy to enjoy time with the Sisters she entered the Community with; she valued the link they shared through faith and commitment. She considered the greatest gifts her parents gave her were her life, faith and music. She said at the time of her golden jubilee, “Singing is the fullest expression of who I am.” In 2014 she moved to Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity.
S. Patricia Ann (Grace Michael) Dempsey
S. Patricia Ann (Grace Michael) Dempsey died Jan. 7, 2017, at the age of 92 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Pat was born on Oct. 19, 1924, to William and Grace (Doddy) Dempsey in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 73 years.
S. Pat attended St. Martin of Tours and St. Lawrence grade schools and graduated from Seton High School in 1942. She first met a Sister of Charity, Mary Alberta Grogan, when making a novena with her mother in Mount Adams when she was 6 years old. Later she said, “Her eyes and her smile radiated such a physical and spiritual beauty that even a young child could see it.” After a family move to Price Hill, she attended St. Lawrence School; on the first day of school in her sixth grade classroom S. Pat found out that S. Mary Alberta was her teacher. “That was the beginning of a love affair with the Sisters of Charity that has lasted a lifetime,” S. Pat recalled at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. She entered the Congregation in January 1943.
Sister earned the Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1959; she received a master’s in education from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1969 and later a Master of Divinity in Scripture from Sts. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan, in 1979.
S. Pat’s educational ministries included both the classroom and administration over a 25-year period, beginning in 1945 at St. Sebastian, Chicago, Illinois (1945-’52). Then she went to St. Bernadette, Westlake, Ohio (1952-’54); St. Mel, Cleveland, Ohio (1954-’56); St. Louis, Mount Clemens, Michigan (1956-’58 and 1964-‘65); St. John Baptist de la Salle, Chillum, Maryland (1958-’64); St. Mary, Lansing, Michigan (1965-66); Queen of Martyrs, Birmingham, Michigan (1966-’68); and St. Robert, Flushing, Michigan (1968-’70). She served as assistant principal and principal at St. Louis, St. Mary and St. Robert.
It was in 1970 that S. Pat looked for a change of experiences, finding it in healthcare; she joined her grade school friend S. Myra James at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colorado, serving as staffing coordinator, 1970-’72, and provided the same service at St. Joseph Hospital, Mount Clemens, Michigan, before enrolling in the scripture program at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. After earning the master’s of divinity in 1979, S. Pat joined the pastoral team at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Indialantic, Florida, where she ministered as the director of adult spirituality for the next 14 years, serving as the parish’s director of liturgy for six of those years. She enriched the lives of participants in all phases of parish life, improving appreciation and understanding of the richness of the Catholic faith.
When S. Pat moved to the Motherhouse in 1993, she didn’t retire, she just chose artistic endeavors which could be expressed through her talents as a seamstress. She created liturgical hangings as worship aids at her local parish, St. Robert Bellarmine, for All Saints School, Bayley, and the Little Sisters of the Poor. She taught scripture in the LifeLearn Program at the College of Mount St. Joseph and was an early advocate for DePaul Cristo Rey High School, opened by the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati in 2010. She volunteered at the school as a front desk receptionist, answering phones, greeting guests and helping to prepare mailings; she loved the students and staff.
S. Rose Marita Arnold
S. Rose Marita Arnold died Jan. 1, 2017, at the age of 92 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Rose Marita was born Mary Rose Arnold on Nov. 7, 1924, to Aloysius and Emma (Noll) in Zanesville, Ohio. She was the fifth child of six, being named for her grandmothers. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 73 years.
S. Rose Marita attended public schools in New Concord and Findlay, Ohio, graduating in 1941. She met the Sisters of Charity in Marion, Ohio, when she was 16 and took piano lessons from S. Marie Celeste Rabaut. What she came to value most about her life as a Sister of Charity was the “opportunity to live a vowed life with other Sisters, enjoying many friendships and much support.” She entered the Congregation in January 1943.
S. Rose Marita earned the Bachelor of Science in Education from the Athenaeum of Ohio in 1951; she received a Bachelor of Arts in social studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) in 1955 and later a master’s in education from Xavier University (Cincinnati) in 1963.
S. Rose Marita’s ministries brought her to the classroom and principal-ships over a 27-year period, beginning in 1945 at St. Boniface, Cincinnati. From there Sister taught at St. Mary, Cincinnati (1950-’51 and 1953-’54); St. Mary, Greenville, Ohio (1951-’53); Corpus Christi, Dayton, Ohio (1954-’55); she served as principal at St. Louis, Mount Clemens, Michigan (1955-’56); Cure of Ars School, Cincinnati (1956-’61); St. Albert, Kettering, Ohio (1961-’64); Holy Name High School, Cleveland, Ohio (1964-’67); and Shrine High School, Royal Oak, Michigan (1967-’72).
It was at this time that S. Rose Marita felt a call and change of direction in how she wanted to serve God’s people. While at Shrine High School she became familiar with emerging opportunities for Sisters to serve in Michigan parishes; she felt she possessed those gifts and welcomed the challenge. She went to Sacred Heart, Oscoda, Michigan, as the director of religious education (1972-’75) and then to minister as a pastoral associate at St. Louis, Mt. Clemens (1975-’99), a parish she loved. She worked with the elderly, sick and homebound as well as Catholic residents in area nursing homes, visiting and bringing the Eucharist. She coordinated the parish nursing program, enlisting professional nurses who volunteer their time to provide health assistance to fellow parishioners. At the time of her Diamond Jubilee she remarked, “Just being available to people is the most important part of my life at the parish.” S. Rose Marita was also a supporter of the Sisters of Charity Associate program.
S. Rose Marita was honored to attend the canonization of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Rome in 1976, a trip given to her by the Sacred Heart parishioners in Oscoda. A favorite annual retreat location for her was the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. As she looked back on her pastoral ministry experiences she remarked, “I feel that I receive more than I give; the deep spirituality and great faith of the elderly in times of suffering is an inspiration to me.”
Associate Robert (Bob) Stephens Maxwell
Associate Robert (Bob) Stephens Maxwell died Dec. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bob was born on Oct. 21, 1929, in Lexington, Kentucky. He had one brother, John, and a sister, Nancy. In 1956 he was ordained a Maryknoll priest and for the first several years did fundraising for the Maryknoll Community in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
Few people know of Bob’s musical solo on the Ed Sullivan Show where he played “Red River Valley” on the accordion. Years later he played the harmonica at Masses in the Vatican at Pope John XXIII’s tomb, at Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem and on the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in Jerusalem.
For five years Bob served as a missionary in Guatemala. There he met Mary E. “Liz” Bruening, a Maryknoll Missionary. Both left religious life independently and met again in the United States. They married and lived the next 45 years seemingly led by the Spirit. They had a brief stint with Cesar Chavez in California. Bob was put in charge of the print shop, printing flyers and signs for all of the boycotts that were happening and shipping them across the country.
Bob earned a master’s in social work and was a licensed clinical social worker. In his 50s he worked full-time as a woodworker. He joyfully designed and made fine church and home furniture, prayer benches and pine coffins.
Bob firmly believed that God led him and Liz to spend their final years happily at Bayley, the Sisters of Charity retirement village in Cincinnati in 2002. They became active with the Western Wildlife Corridor.
Bob and Liz served as leaders in a couples’ spirituality movement. They began a daily practice of Centering Prayer and were active in forming Centering Prayer groups who met weekly for about 30 years. Several of those groups were at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse.
In his preparation for Associate commitment, which he made on June 8, 2003, Bob wrote, “I am in awe of Elizabeth Seton and Margaret George, astonished at their vision and their courageous pursuit of it. They were very Christ-like in their refusal to be diverted by their personal pain, or intimidated by the boldness of their tasks. Having changed states of life myself and experienced the deep grief entailed, I feel somewhat akin to them. I admire their ongoing warmth and wisdom in the midst of their pain, something I never managed. I also reverberate with their following their own star even when it put them at odds with ecclesiastical authority.”
S. Jeannine Selzer
S. Jeannine Selzer died Dec. 26, 2016, at the age of 87 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Jeannine was born Jean Antoinette Selzer on June 28, 1929, to George and Mary (Stagge) Selzer in Cincinnati, Ohio, the fourth of five children. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 69 years.
S. Jeannine attended St. Matthew Grade School and St. Mary High School, graduating in 1947. She felt drawn to the Sisters at an early age, attracted by their dedication, loving concern and cheerful spirit; both schools were staffed by Sisters of Charity. She entered the SC Community in September 1947.
S. Jeannine earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1962 and a master’s in administration from Xavier University, Cincinnati, in 1969. In 1975 she completed a degree in theology from Trinity College, Washington, D.C. These degrees contributed to her varied gifts and skills in the ministries to which she was assigned or drawn in her 50-plus years of service.
S. Jeannine began her ministry in the classroom as a music teacher at St. Teresa, Springfield, Ohio, in 1949, followed by three years at St. Boniface, Cincinnati. It was in 1954 that she assumed regular classroom duties: St. Michael, Findlay, Ohio (1954-’55); Resurrection, Cincinnati (1955-’57); and Corpus Christi, Dayton (1957-’63). She moved to elementary administration at St. Louis, Mount Clemens, Michigan (1963-’64); St. Brigid, Xenia, Ohio (1964-’70) and St. Mary, Cincinnati (1970-’73), serving as the last Sister of Charity principal there. Wherever she ministered S. Jeannine was often called on to play the piano or the organ, a gift she was grateful for, one received from her parents.
Her ministries became more varied as S. Jeannine completed her program at Trinity College with a concentration in pastoral ministry; she served as novice director for the congregation, 1975-’78. She was director of services at the SC Motherhouse, served in network leadership, and directed a renewal program for priests and parishes in the Steubenville Diocese from 1986-’90. In 1990 she received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award from Pope John Paul II for distinguished service in the Church of Steubenville, an honor which humbled her. She worked with parish retreat directors locally and gave four years to the pastoral associate ministry at Good Shepherd parish, Cincinnati.
In her retirement years S. Jeannine continued to offer her musical gifts, playing the organ in Mother Margaret Hall for daily Mass, visiting the Sister residents, listening to music and reading; card playing was a frequent way to gather for an evening of enjoyment.
S. Rose Patrice Beck
S. Rose Patrice Beck died Dec. 22, 2016, at the age of 82 at Mother Margaret Hall. S. Rose Patrice was born Patricia Marie Beck on June 6, 1934, to Wilbur and Minnie (Kreck) in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the middle child of 12. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 64 years.
S. Rose Patrice attended Holy Name Grade and High School, Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated in 1953, finishing high school at Mount St. Joseph. The Holy Name schools were staffed by the Sisters of Charity and she felt called to join them from an early age. She had the full support of her family.
S. Rose Patrice earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1962 and completed a master’s in education from Xavier University, Cincinnati, in 1970. She began her 41-year ministry in elementary education in the classroom at Holy Cross, Cincinnati, in 1955; from there she went to Sacred Heart, Denver, Colorado (1956-’57); Cathedral, Denver (1957-’58); St. Mary, Cincinnati (1959-’65); Holy Ghost, South Holland, Illinois (1965-’66); St. Rose, Lima, Ohio (1966-’68); and St. John Baptist de la Salle, Chillum, Maryland (1968-’70). It was at this time she moved from the classroom to serve as principal at St. Brigid, Xenia, Ohio (1970-’75) and then at St. Bernadette, Westlake, Ohio (1975-’80).
In 1980 S. Rose Patrice went to St. Joseph/St. John, Cleveland, Ohio, followed by serving as principal at St. Mary of the Falls, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, 1981-’86. She came to her beloved Holy Name in 1986, remaining there for 10 years. The familiarity of the city and its people seemed the perfect setting for her retirement in 1996 where she volunteered at Marymount Hospital, Garfield Heights, Ohio, and visited senior citizens at Jennings Manor where she also resided. In 2012 she moved to Mother Margaret Hall.
S. Rose Patrice was principal at St. Brigid, Xenia, Ohio, when the tornado of 1974 completely destroyed their church, school and convent. She found that experience to be her greatest life challenge. She reflected on this in 2012 when she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee as a Sister of Charity. “We had 496 children with no place to go. I was able to find a closed school in Dayton, Ohio, and for four years we transported students via church buses to Dayton; finally we could move back to Xenia when the new school was built. During that time we lived with different parish families until we were able to rent a home outside of Xenia, five months after the tornado,” Sister said.
S. Ruth Hunt
S. Ruth Hunt (formerly William Marie) died Nov. 28, 2016, at the age of 89 in Mother Margaret Hall. S. Ruth was born on May 23, 1927, to William and Emily (Chinnock) Hunt in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 70 years.
S. Ruth grew up in Cleveland, the eldest of three children. She attended Holy Name Elementary and graduated from Holy Name High School in 1945. The last two years of high school and the year following she worked for the Bureau of Internal Revenue. She was taught by the Sisters of Charity, who made a great impression on her. In September 1946, she, and five other Holy Name graduates, entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
S. Ruth earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1960 from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a master’s in education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1969. She taught elementary school students in Ohio, Maryland and Michigan for more than 27 years as teacher, principal and assistant principal, beginning in 1948 at St. James, Bay City, Michigan. Next she went to Little Flower School, Royal Oak, Michigan (1951-’53); then to St. Leo, Detroit, Michigan (1953-’54); St. Robert, Flushing, Michigan (1954-’61); St. John the Baptist, Chillum, Maryland (1961-’65); Holy Family, Cincinnati, Ohio (1965-’68); St. Mary, Lansing, Michigan (1968-’69); and Holy Cross/St. Casmir, Lansing, Michigan (1969-’71). In 1971 S. Ruth returned to Holy Name as elementary principal (1971-’72), and then to St. Brigid, Xenia, Ohio (1972-’75).
S. Ruth looked in a new direction at this point and ministered as a ward clerk at Good Samaritan Hospital, Dayton, Ohio, until 1979. It was then that she made a sabbatical program, An Active Spirituality for a Global Community, which she termed as “a highlight of my religious life and ministry.” She believed that her life actually began then as she became aware of the talents she had and what she could offer to ministry. In 1980 S. Ruth went to Washington, D.C. and served on the administrative team of NETWORK, a social justice lobby, for three years; the next five years she spent as the executive secretary and team member for the Active Spirituality for a Global Community Program at the College of Mount St Joseph. When the program closed S. Ruth was invited to go to work for LCWR (Leadership Conference for Women Religious) as the assistant to the executive director, a ministry she truly enjoyed. Intercommunity living among six different Catholic organizations while in Washington, D.C. provided opportunities for shared liturgies, celebrations and good times together as a team. This brought new insights, creativity and new life for S. Ruth. After the death of her mother in 1997 she found a new position, as team member at The Women’s Connection in Price Hill, Cincinnati; using her managerial skills, she was able to help women and their children find solutions for many of their difficulties.
In 2002, as her health began to decline, S. Ruth moved to Assisted Living at Mother Margaret Hall, but still found many areas in which to volunteer; she appreciated daily Mass and enjoyed discussions with friends. She continued to be counted on as a writer for Sister of Charity publications, focus groups, and social justice issues, especially immigration and the death penalty.
Associate Kathryn (Kate) Chantry
Associate Kathryn (Kate) Chantry was born on Feb. 2, 1930, in Delancey, New York, to Veyrill and Kathryn (Flynn) Laidlaw. She had one sister, Elizabeth, and one brother, John. A graduate of Traphagen School of Fashion Design in New York City, Kate briefly worked in a dress shop before working in radio (WKOP) in Binghamton, New York. In 1952, she married David “Dave” Chantry. They had 10 children, David, Stephen, Mark, Mary Ellen, Kathryn, Agatha, Jeanette, Peter, Sarah and Priscilla, who kept Kate and Dave very busy over the following years.
When they moved to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Kate and Dave met Sisters of Charity Margaret Marie Anthony and Mary Kay Bush. She became an Associate in Mission on Jan. 4, 2002, and joined the wonderful group of Associates in the area. She was active as a lector and Eucharistic Minister for many years at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.
Kate was an avid golfer, storyteller, seamstress and baker. She also enjoyed watercolor and oil painting and calligraphy. But her family and her faith were the most important parts of her life. She was a very active parishioner wherever she lived, organizing Christmas fairs, teaching CCD and making significant contributions in many other ways.
Kate died on Nov. 22, 2016, in Richmond, Virginia. She had 26 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
S. Marie Virginia Lovato
S. Marie Virginia Lovato died Oct. 9, 2016, at the age of 82 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Marie Virginia was born on Sept. 25, 1934, to John R. and Virginia (Mondragon) Lovato in Sopris, Colorado. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 62 years.
S. Marie Virginia attended St. Thomas grade school in Sopris and graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Trindad, Colorado, in 1953. In her growing up years she wanted to be a missionary and work with the poor. Meeting the Sisters of Charity in high school helped her to see that she could fulfill both desires by becoming one of them. In February 1955 she came to Cincinnati and entered the congregation.
S. Marie Virginia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1969. She earned a master’s in religious studies from Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, in 1988. For 28 years she ministered as teacher or administrator, all in the West followed by 15 years of pastoral ministry and retreat work.
S. Marie Virginia began teaching at Loyola, Denver, Colorado, in 1956 where she remained for eight years. From there she ministered at Sacred Heart, Denver, 1964-’68; St. Mary, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1968-’72; and Sacred Heart, Denver, 1972-’83, serving as principal seven of those years. Next S. Marie Virginia taught at San Felipe, Albuquerque, 1983-’84. While at Sacred Heart she offered her presence to young inmates at the Gilliam Youth Correctional facility which was located in the parish. She responded to unmet needs as she advocated for the poor, taking on landlords who were unfair in the housing offered to single parents.
It was in 1985 that she completed a bilingual master’s degree in religious studies and sought to do pastoral work at St. John the Baptist parish, Roswell, New Mexico, where she remained until 1992. She formed and trained an evangelization lay core group that developed the Baptismal preparation program. S. Marie Virginia was given permission by the bishop to conduct the baptisms at St. John’s which she did in Spanish as well as English. From there she ministered at a homeless shelter for women and children before moving into fulltime retreat ministry at Madonna Retreat Center, Albuquerque, serving as its director until 1998; it was a ministry she loved. The center, overlooking the Rio Grande River, drew multi-cultural groups from all over the world providing a place of peace, comfort and support.
As her health caused her to be less vibrant S. Marie Virginia became semi-retired and chose to offer volunteer hours at St. Anthony Hospital, Westminster, Colorado, where she remained until 2015; her smile and welcoming personality was a very familiar presence to visitors and patients alike over those 17 years. She frequently served as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking patients and their families.
S. Rosemary Gornick
S. Rosemary Gornick died Oct. 14, 2016, at the age of 89 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Rosemary was born on Nov. 19, 1926, to Frank and Frances (Delesimunovich) Gornick in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of 10 children. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 71 years. She was given the name S. John Ann, but later returned to her given, baptismal name of Rosemary.
S. Rosemary attended Holy Name Elementary and South High School both in Cleveland, graduating in 1944. She was taught by the Sisters of Charity, and took piano lessons from S. Frances Miriam Kirchner. It was Sister’s influence, her caring and sharing ways, “her compassion and love for everyone,” S. Rosemary said, that brought her to enter the Sisters of Charity the following fall in 1945. Her academic education continued at the College of Mount St. Joseph where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1958.
S. Rosemary’s ministries brought her to the classroom and principal-ships over a 30-year period, beginning in 1947 at Holy Trinity, Pueblo, Colorado. From there Sister taught at St. Francis Xavier, Pueblo, 1948-’52. In 1952 she moved across the country to St. John the Baptist, Chillum, Maryland, where she remained until 1956. From there she taught junior high students at Resurrection, Cincinnati, 1956-’57; St. Joseph, Springfield, Ohio, 1957-’59; and St. Albert, Kettering, Ohio, 1959-’60. In Aurora, Colorado, in a new parish, St. Pius X, S. Rosemary opened an elementary school of 700 and became its first principal, 1960-’65. She spent the next 11 years teaching religion at Holy Name High, Cleveland, Ohio, 1965-’76.
It was at this time that S. Rosemary saw the needs of the elderly, in her own family and in the parish, as needs that women religious could address. She went to a rapidly growing area, All Saints parish, Mesa, Arizona, in 1976 and became the director of religious education. Eight Sisters from five different congregations ministered there, offering the care and attention needed; the young parishioners were viewed as a singular blessing for the elderly and the young families appreciated the ‘wisdom figures’ in their midst. It was a ministry S. Rosemary loved, especially bringing Holy Communion to those in nursing facilities and visiting the sick; she remained there until 1990 when she went to a neighboring parish, Holy Cross, serving first as a pastoral minister, 1990-’92, and then as their director of religious education, 1992-‘96. She retired from active ministry in 1996 to care for her sister Mary Russell. In her retirement years S. Rosemary enjoyed playing the piano and organ, found extra time for prayer and especially liked watching baseball and college basketball on television.
S. Rosemary stated at the time of her Diamond Jubilee that one of her happiest moments as a Sister of Charity was her visit to Medjugorje in 1988 when she was able to trace her Croatian roots back to Yugoslavia, where both her parents were born. “I was privileged to speak with the visionaries of Medjugorje and to be in the same room with them during one of the apparitions,” S. Rosemary said.\
S. Ann Martin Klee
S. Ann Martin Klee died Oct. 13, 2016, at the age of 89 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Ann Martin was born Loris Patricia Klee to Martin A. and Verda (Brackney) Klee on Nov. 9, 1926, in McCracken, Kansas. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 72 years.
S. Ann Martin grew up in Denver, Colorado, and attended Cathedral grade and high schools; she graduated from Notre Dame High School in San Francisco, California, in 1944. It was through the influence of the Sisters of Charity who taught her at Cathedral that she entered the congregation in September 1944.
S. Ann Martin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1958 and a master’s in administration from St. Mary College, Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1965. She later returned to earn a nursing degree from the University of Albuquerque in 1972. In her ministry as a classroom teacher S. Ann Martin taught junior high and intermediate grades, serving in Ohio, Colorado and New Mexico, a ministry spanning more than 20 years.
S. Ann Martin began her ministry in education at San Felipe School, Albuquerque, in 1946, followed by St. Francis Xavier, Albuquerque, and St. Mary, Albuquerque; in 1952 she was sent to St. Francis Xavier, Pueblo, Colorado, where she remained until 1954. Holy Name, Cleveland, Ohio, was her home from 1954-’56; then Loyola, Denver, 1956-’57, and 1965-’66; St. Patrick, Pueblo, Colorado, 1957-’59; Cathedral, Denver, 1959-’61; St. Francis Xavier, Albuquerque, 1961-’62; Sacred Heart, Denver, 1962-’65; St. Therese, Pueblo, 1966-’69; and St. Rose of Lima, Denver, 1969-’70.
In 1970 S. Ann Martin was able to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse; she began her studies at the University of Albuquerque and completed a degree in 1972. For the next 15 years she ministered in health care at St. Joseph Hospital, Albuquerque, and at various health care facilities in the Greater Denver area including public health and nursing homes. From 1988-’94 S. Ann Martin served as a receptionist at the Gardens of St. Elizabeth, Denver, Colorado; she was fond of this ministry which brought her in contact with the elderly. She retired from full-time work in 1994 and moved to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, Delhi Township, Ohio, in 1998.
S. Ann Martin was known for her untiring care and compassion for those in need throughout her life. In her retirement years she enjoyed meeting the Sisters in the East since she spent most all of her ministry years in the West; she liked to paint, pray and practice yoga. In 1992 she fulfilled another one of her dreams, that of visiting the famous shrines of Europe; she went on a pilgrimage to Rome and visited both Lourdes and Fatima.
S. Kateri Maureen Koverman
S. Kateri Maureen Koverman died Oct. 5, 2016, at the age of 73 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. S. Kateri Maureen was born Nancy Jean Koverman on Jan. 13, 1943, to William and Theodora (Poeppelmeier) Koverman in Pocatello, Idaho. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 55 years.
S. Kateri grew up in Centerville, Ohio, attended Centerville public schools and graduated from Centerville High School in 1961. She was familiar with the Sisters of Charity Congregation from family visits with her two great aunts who were members, Sisters Mary Naomi and Mary Walburga. The desire to be a missionary in a foreign land attracted her to religious life and in September 1961 she entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
S. Kateri earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1966 from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. She later earned the Master of Social Work in 1968 from The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. and a master’s in pastoral ministry from Mount St. Mary Seminary, Cincinnati, in 1980. All prepared her for the varied service opportunities ahead.
S. Kateri began her adventuresome ministries as a junior high teacher at Holy Family, Cincinnati, 1965-’66, but then took a two-year break to earn her master’s in social work. Upon returning she was assigned to Santa Maria in Cincinnati doing public welfare social work, 1968-’70. It was then that she was learning of the crisis situation in Vietnam; she felt certain she was being called to Southeast Asia. She sought permission and connected with the Catholic agencies involved. She said of herself, “Yes, I was both pushy and prayerful, feeling certain God was calling me to serve there.”
The five-year ministry in Vietnam, 1970-’75, included working with orphaned and abandoned children, helping to evacuate them from Saigon and secure homes in the U.S. through Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. A novel has been written about her heroic work, bringing more than 350 Amerasian children from their war-torn conditions. This became known as Operation Babylift.
In 1976 S. Kateri answered the call to go to Sierra Leone, West Africa, and then to Ethiopia in 1977 with Catholic Relief Services. She brought those experiences to the college classroom when she became a teacher of theology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, 1977-’86. The foreign missions called again when civil war in El Salvador caused agencies to respond, 1986-’88.
After seeing the devastation of war and poverty in these countries she saw the great need for therapists in the Cincinnati area with returning veterans who had seen hate and fear, war and poverty; they needed to see that their weaknesses could be turned into strengths. After five more years of teaching theology at the College of Mount St. Joseph, she co-founded St. Joseph House in 1993 in Cincinnati, serving as its clinical director the organization provided group therapy and one-on-one counseling. It continues to serve chronic, mentally ill homeless addicted veterans today.
In 2000 S. Kateri saw a new kind of pain among those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; she founded and directed Them Bones, taken from Ezekiel 37:1-14, to provide help for those returning vets suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Them Bones offers a 12-step program for war trauma recovery, a program for panic attacks, and educational outreach for those returning from Iraq as well as interested civic groups who desire to help the veteran community. In 2001 S. Kateri also accompanied some veterans to visit ‘the site of their trauma’ as a form of effective therapy. Jail diversion is another key aspect of her organization; she was a well-known visitor at the Justice Center.
In 2005 S. Kateri was called upon to assist in relief efforts for tsunami survivors in India. She has also hosted three reunions of survivors of the Vietnam Babylift and their adoptive parents, with the first occurring in 1990. The more recent ones, 2015 and 2016, brought together the now 40-something-year-old adoptees who appreciated the opportunity to learn more about their rescue and culture, along with hearing stories of their parents’ deep desire for them to live. S. Kateri recently expressed her hope, “Now they can be a blessing in their own way, by meeting others who were with them at the time; may they offer to others an increased understanding of the effects of war.”
More recently when her health caused her to slow down, she continued to visit those in jail, offering encouragement, as well as acknowledging the vets’ suffering. She believed that the whole person – spiritual as well as psychological – must accept the traumatic memories of war. Her work helped to fill a tremendous gap as well as meet the grace of the moment.
S. Kateri was honored with the Community Caretaker Award in 1999, a national award from the Shaklee Corporation as an advocate for veterans. In 1997 she received the Scholar of Life Award for establishing St. Joseph House as a way of helping others; they honored her for previously living through war, famine and homelessness. The Veterans of Foreign Wars presented her with the Gold Medal of Merit in 2006 for her work in battling PTSD among returning veterans. Mount St. Joseph University has twice awarded her; in 2011 she received the Sister Mary Lea Human Service Award, given to an alum who has lived out the mission of the university through a life of service to others, and in 1997 she was presented the Faculty Appreciation Award as a teacher touching students’ lives and a true advocate for justice.
S. Teresa Margaret Hurr
S. Teresa Margaret Hurr died Sept. 21, 2016, at the age of 93 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Teresa Margaret was born Margaret Francis Hurr on Sept. 18, 1923, to Irvin and Helen (Zeier) Hurr in Middletown, Ohio. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 74 years.
S. Teresa Margaret attended St. John grade school in Middletown and graduated from Notre Dame High School, Hamilton, Ohio, in 1941. Faith was an integral part of her family life and she responded to God’s call by entering the Sisters of Charity in September 1942.
Sister earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) in 1961 and a MSN in administration in 1963 from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
S. Teresa Margaret’s first mission was as group mother at St. Aloysius Military Academy in Fayetteville, Ohio, 1944-’53. In 1953 she enrolled in nurse’s training at Good Samaritan Hospital, Dayton, Ohio, and in 1956 Sister Teresa Margaret began serving as nursing supervisor at Good Samaritan, Cincinnati. By 1958 she was sent to the Southwest, to St. Joseph Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico; after three years she enrolled in The Catholic University’s master’s program. Gradually she moved West again, this time to St. Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1963-’68 and to St. Mary Corwin, Pueblo, Colorado, 1968-’73. Sister Teresa Margaret next went to St. Joseph Hospital, Mount Clemens, Michigan, ministering in in-service education and then as assistant administrator, 1977-’84.
At St. Joseph’s she directed the ambulatory care services and helped establish new concepts in medical care; four Family Care Centers were established in the Mount Clemens area to alleviate non-emergency cases at the ER. They also began planning shopping mall “hospitals” finding that a physician, a registered nurse and two medical receptionists could serve 40 people a day with costs comparable to other physician offices in the area. Sister Teresa Margaret also arranged for outpatient tours of the hospital for senior citizens to alleviate any fears regarding hospitals. In 1982 the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Mount Clemens named her “Woman of the Year”.
She returned to Cincinnati in 1984 when Eldermount Adult Day Care had started a ministry for elderly in the immediate Delhi area at the Motherhouse; Sister brought her nursing skills to that setting. In 1989 she moved to night duty nursing in Mother Margaret Hall, gradually doing it on a part-time basis. In 1995 she retired and began devoting her services to the wellness program at the Motherhouse, a program she continued until 2001. She offered exercise sessions with a treadmill, chair routines and walking, throughout the day, several times a week. In warm weather months the outdoor pool offered water exercise opportunities. “After being in hospital ministry all my life, this added a new dimension to my life and I’m enjoying it,” Sister stated at the time of her Jubilee in 2002.
S. Martha Ann Conley
S. Martha Ann Conley died Sept. 16, 2016, at the age of 99 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Martha Ann was born Mary Martha Conley on July 2, 1917, to John Henry and Mary (Paul) Conley in Middletown, Ohio. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 73 years.
S. Martha Ann attended Holy Trinity Grade and High School in Middletown, graduating in 1935. There she was taught by the Sisters of Charity and continued on to attend the College of Mount St. Joseph, again having Sisters as her instructors. Following her graduation in 1939 with a BA in English she taught at Seton High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, and then at Julienne High School, Dayton, Ohio. She entered the Sisters of Charity in September 1943, having had her sister, S. Regina Mary Conley, enter the Congregation two years ahead of her. Being greatly influenced by S. Marie Corona Molloy while at the College, she was presented with an application for entrance by Sister while attending an alumnae meeting; it was time to respond to God’s call. “It was a culmination of my family’s faith and respect for Catholic education. It was time to say yes,” S. Martha Ann stated in her diamond jubilarian autobiography.
S. Martha Ann earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1958. In her ministry of secondary education S. Martha Ann taught at Central Catholic (Bishop Flaget) Chillicothe, Ohio (1945-’59), followed by St. James, Bay City, Michigan (1959-’60), and Lima Central Catholic High School, Lima, Ohio (1960-’66).
It was at this time that S. Martha Ann was invited to begin a new direction in her ministry of education. She went to the College of Mount St. Joseph as director of admissions, 1966-’71, and then as director of financial aid, 1971-’87. While she missed teaching she came to realize how important it was to help the students fulfill their dreams, by using wisely the grants and other aid funds available; she learned to research and seek out all forms of aid for which the student could qualify. While in this ministry S. Martha Ann broadened the scope by studying endowments, further developing the planned giving/donation pool and alerting students to apply for a variety of grants. “It was a joy to offer the completed financial aid package to the family; it helped them see there really was a way for their dreams to be realized,” S. Martha Ann said.
After 44 years of living and working at the College, S. Martha Ann moved from the College of Mount St. Joseph convent to the Motherhouse in 2000, but continued to volunteer in the financial aid office part-time until 2003. As she moved into retirement S. Martha Ann was happy to have extra time to pray and to visit Sisters in Mother Margaret Hall.
A former student of S. Martha Ann’s in Chillicothe, Ohio, S. Mary Kathryn McFerrin recalls how interested she would be when she shared any news that she received from home. “I think Martha Ann loved Chillicothe as much as I do. I was happy to get to know her as an adult. She was always sweet and kind,” S. Mary Kathryn remarked.
S. Margaret O'Connor
S. Margaret (formerly Jean Vianney) O’Connor died August 4, 2016, at the age of 87 in Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. Sister Margaret was born on March 12, 1929, to Charles and Bertha (Neu) O’Connor in Middletown, Ohio. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 68 years.
S. Margaret attended Holy Trinity School and was a 1947 graduate of Middletown High School. With her early education provided by the Sisters of Charity, she came to appreciate the gift of the fine education and concern exhibited by the Sisters. She wanted to be part of this pathway for her own life, thus she entered the Sisters of Charity in September, 1947; she was given the name S. Jean Vianney, but returned to her given name in the 1960’s.
S. Margaret earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 1961 and an M.A.in history from the University of Dayton in 1971. Her 27 years of ministry in education took her to Michigan, Maryland, and Ohio.
S. Margaret began in the classroom at St. Leo, Detroit, Michigan, in 1949, where she remained for seven years. In 1956 she moved to teaching at St. Helen, Saginaw, Michigan, (1956-’61); Guardian Angels, Detroit, (1961-’66); Corpus Christi, Dayton, Ohio, (1966-’67); St. Luke, Detroit, (1967-’69); St. James, Bay City, Michigan, (1969-’70). It was junior high ministry, Holy Redeemer, Kensington, Maryland, (1970-’72) and then two years in Dayton, Ohio – Carroll High School, (1972-’73; St. Charles junior high, (1973-’74). In 1974-’76 she taught at Seton High School, Cincinnati.
On the encouragement of her brother Richard, S. Margaret looked into and received the ok to begin full-time study at the University of Cincinnati in business administration. After two years and 36 credits in accounting she went to the nation’s capital as an auditor for the U.S. Department of Taxation for the next twelve years. When working with the federal government she appreciated the opportunity to live with Sisters from 20 different congregations of women religious at the Notre Dame Residence of St. Julie Billard while in the Washington, D.C. area.
In 1989 S. Margaret returned to the Cincinnati area, serving as the bookkeeper for the Franciscan Friars Province of St. John the Baptist. She continued to use her skills of business and accounting in this position, a rewarding ministry she enjoyed for nine years. When she retired to the Motherhouse she remained active as a front desk volunteer and assisted many with their computer problems. Reading, walking and college football were favorite retirement activities.
Sister Margaret looked back on her ministries when writing her autobiography for her diamond jubilee and commented: “My life as a Sister of Charity has been tremendously happy. It has been filled with graces and many blessings from God.” She was proud to be from a large Irish Catholic family with their roots in Middletown.
S. Paula Gonzalez
S. Paula Gonzalez died July 31, 2016, at the age of 83 at Mother Margaret Hall, the nursing facility of the Sisters of Charity. S. Paula was born Mary Regina Gonzalez on Oct. 25, 1932, to Hilario and Emilia (Sanchez) Gonzalez in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati for 62 years.
S. Paula was born in St. Joseph Hospital and graduated from St. Vincent Academy, both in Albuquerque, all staffed by Sisters of Charity. She went on to accept a scholarship from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio; upon earning her BA degree in biology, S. Paula went back West, teaching for a year and a half in the nursing school of St. Joseph Hospital, Albuquerque. By then her parents were willing to let her enter the Sisters of Charity which she did in February 1954.
S. Paula earned advanced degrees from The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.; first receiving a Master of Science degree in biology in 1962 and a Ph.D. in cellular physiology in 1966. She began her ministry in the high school classroom at Seton High School from 1955-’60, after which she went to full-time study at The Catholic University. From 1965-’80 S. Paula taught biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph.
In 1980 she found herself moving in new directions, offering talks and reflections on futuring and alternative energy; it was at this time she also began to build La Casa del Sol. This she did by designing and directing the retrofitting of an old chicken barn on the Motherhouse grounds; it became a passive-solar, super-insulated apartment by 1985. Most of the construction took place on weekends, with volunteer help, re-using and recycling materials. Money for new materials was raised completely by recycling activities. It was a project in community-building, modeled on the cyclical processes in nature. She presented papers and workshops at the Center of Concern as well as the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, on such topics as ‘Faith and the Cosmos’ and ‘Sacramental Universe’ during those years. It was a 1969 picture of the Earth from space that completely influenced this new direction in her life. The spirituality immediately took root in her and she became a global citizen.
Workshops, retreats, lectures became full time for her in the late 1980s along with energy consulting. She spent time at the Mondragon Cooperatives in Mondragon, Spain, learning alternative economic systems and participated in the Environmental Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 as well as Johannesburg, South Africa. She was also designing and building EarthConnection, completing the occupancy permit in 1995. This facility is a center for learning and reflection about ‘living lightly’ on Earth. It is a solar-heated model of energy efficiency which houses programs and tours for learners and guests. She was always quick to give visitors a lesson on energy conservation and recycling. On the topic of Eco-Spirituality, a topic dear to her heart, S. Paula would say: “If we gave visible witness to the sacredness of everything in the universe by simplifying our lives, we would be on the cutting edge. When people see it, they want to change their behavior in ecological matters and it becomes a deeply spiritual and contemplative endeavor.”
Over the past 15 years S. Paula has given more than 1,800 talks throughout the world to women and men religious, and parish and Earth-conscious groups desiring to live more simply. She is referred to as a futurist, educator, environmentalist, and global citizen.
S. Paula was honored as a 2014 Woman of the Year by the Cincinnati Enquirer at the annual recognition luncheon; she was one of 10 women to receive this honor for their contributions to the Greater Cincinnati community. As a religious response to global warming S. Paula co-founded the Ohio chapter of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light. She pushed for $1.4 million energy-efficient projects in our city parishes and Catholic schools as a volunteer for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Climate Change Task Force. In 2002 the College of Mount St. Joseph awarded her the Alumni Career Achievement Award for her contributions to the progress of Earth awareness and promotion of the idea of the self-sufficient Earth.
S. Paula Gonzalez is survived by her brother, Larry, and several nieces, nephews and grandnephews.
A Memorial Mass will be offered for S. Paula Gonzalez on Thursday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m. in the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse Chapel. Burial has already occurred.