S. Therese Dery
“I walked among those who were the most vulnerable, the abused, the addicted, and the mentally ill – the outcasts of our time,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Therese Dery as she reflects on her 60 years in the Sisters of Charity Community this year. “I find comfort in the words of Jesus who invites me ‘to bring glad tidings to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free.’ This same call and response to it are my hopes for my Congregation and my continued ministry.”
Born and raised in a French Canadian neighborhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, Sister Terry attended Ste. Jeanne d’Arc grade school and St. Joseph High School. Inspired by the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa who taught her, she entered their Community in 1957. She began a teaching ministry that took her to several schools in New England, including St. Joseph grade school in Haverhill, Massachusetts (1959-1962), and in Lowell at Notre Dame de Lourdes grade school (1962-1965), Ste. Jeanne d’Arc grade school (1966-1967), and St. Joseph High School (1968-1972). At this time, she also received her bachelor’s degree in English from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, and her master’s degree in Spanish from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona.
In 1973, Sister Terry transferred to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati after feeling a change in direction of her values and views of religious life. “It was a leap of faith, all in God’s hands,” she recalls. “It was the most difficult decision I ever made, leaving my family, friends, and Franco-American language and culture. I was attracted to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who showed vision, leadership, who were involved in social justice issues, and who were risk-takers meeting the needs of the time. It was among them that I heard the cry of the poor.”
After her transfer, Sister Terry continued her teaching ministry for a short time at Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio (1973-1974), and Resurrection Catholic grade school in Cincinnati (1974-1975) before starting yet another new chapter. From 1976 to 1983, she was a missionary among the Quechua people in the Andes Mountains of Peru, a ministry that she says taught her much about the poor and oppressed, making the experience both her greatest challenge and her greatest joy.
Upon returning to the United States, Sister Terry received her master’s degree in counseling from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, and for the next 28 years, she served as a mental health therapist at Samaritan Behavioral Health, a counseling center connected to Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton (1987-2015). She retired in 2015, and currently resides in Dayton where she continues to volunteer as a counselor at St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter for Women and Families.“My life has been an ongoing journey of abrupt changes, transitions, and terminations with challenges, risks, and opportunities for growth and conversion,” she says. “In gratitude to God and His love for me, I bring all this to my Diamond Jubilee celebration. Alleluia!”
S. Noreen Ellison
While in high school, Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Noreen Ellison was encouraged into a life of prayer and volunteerism that took her to service as a catechist in her parish and to the Daughters of Charity Infant and Maternity Home where she cared for toddlers after school. “These experiences were good background for hearing a vocational call in the silence and inspiration of a three-day retreat during my junior year,” Sister says as she celebrates 60 years with the Sisters of Charity.
Born and raised in Highland Park, Michigan (Detroit area), Sister Noreen (formerly Sister Marie André) attended Shrine Catholic Grade School and Shrine Catholic High School, where she was taught by the Sisters of Charity. She joined the congregation in 1957 at the age of 17, and after graduating high school, went on to study education at the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati, Ohio).
She began her education ministry by teaching second grade at St. Lawrence Elementary School in Cincinnati (1960-1966), San Felipe de Neri School in Albuquerque, New Mexico (1966-1968), and Divine Redeemer Catholic School in Colorado Springs, Colorado (1968-1971). She completed her master’s degree in religious education at Aquinas College (Grand Rapids, Michigan) during the summers, and in 1971, she began serving as religious education coordinator at St. Basil Parish in Detroit, where she and an intercommunity team served the needs of the parish after their grade school closed.
In 1973, she was elected as assistant provincial of the Detroit Province, a position she held for two terms until 1979. Her accomplishments in this position included the implementation of plans to help the Community in changing times and the creation of an intercommunity peace and justice center called Groundwork for a Just World.
From 1979 to 1994, Sister Noreen began service as an itinerant missioner in the South with the Glenmary Home Missioner Priests and Brothers. Though based in a pastoral center in Nashville, Tennessee, she and the Sister she served with spent most of their time travelling, staying with whoever offered them hospitality. “The front seat of a small car was often our chapel, dining room, and office,” Sister recalls. In her later time in this position, she also volunteered in the Refugee Resettlement Program, assisting immigrants from Kurdistan, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
After a sabbatical year at the School of Applied Theology (Berkeley, California), Sister became the program and development director of Pueblo S.E.T. for Well-Being in Colorado, a nonprofit organization providing supportive services and healthcare empowerment to the economically disadvantaged, particularly older adults (1995-2004). In 2004, she returned to the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica (Royal Oak, Michigan), the parish she had grown up in, as pastoral associate in Christian service. She developed several outreach services to meet the needs of the large parish, and better organized and assisted the parish’s funeral ministry.Sister Noreen retired in 2015, but continues to serve the pastoral care needs of many in her parish, including some refugee families and those who do not have long to live, along with their family members. Sister hopes to remain involved in her ministry in whatever ways are possible for her in the future, and to “stay engaged on this journey of faith as a Sister of Charity.”
S. Katherine Hoelscher
After being taught by the Sisters of Charity Community at St. William grade school and Seton High School in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Katherine Hoelscher was inspired to join the Congregation 60 years ago, and begin an education ministry. “I was drawn to teaching,” she says, “that’s what I felt called to do.”
Sister Katie received her bachelor’s degree in education from the College of Mount St. Joseph and began an education ministry that would last 35 years. Her first assignment was at Holy Name High School in Cleveland, Ohio, teaching mathematics and acting as moderator of the Pep Club (1961-1968). “I spent seven years there, and loved every minute of it,” she says. “I am still in contact with some of my students from those years.”
She served as assistant principal at Marion Catholic High School in Marion, Ohio, for three years (1968-1971), then returned to Holy Name for one year before starting at Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio, as a math teacher. Alter would become her home off-and-on for 20 years (1972-1973, 1974-1986, 2000-2007). After a year serving as principal at St. Joseph Commercial High School in Dayton (1973-1974) while she attained her master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Detroit (Michigan), she returned to Alter first as math teacher (1974-1976), then as assistant principal (1976-1981), and as principal (1981-1986).
Following a renewal program in New Mexico, Sister Katie went to Carroll High School in Dayton to teach math for two years (1987-1989). She then served in Congregational Leadership as a Network leader and member of the Executive Council from 1988 to 1991. “I gained new insight and grew in appreciation of all our Sisters and their experiences.”Sister Katie returned to Alter once more to serve as the director of alumni relations and recruitment (2000-2005), then as interim principal (2005-2007). She retired from education at the end of her last year there with much love from her Alter family. She now lives in Assisted Living at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph.
S. Ruth Kuhn
“These past years have been extremely happy and fulfilling for me, and I count myself deeply blessed to be a member of such a wonderful, caring community of women religious,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Ruth Kuhn as she celebrates 60 years with the Community this summer.
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Sister Ruth (formerly Sister Jude) attended Holy Family and Immaculate Conception grade schools and Chaminade-Julienne and St. Joseph Commercial high schools. After meeting the Sisters of Charity at St. Joseph and entering the Community, she received her bachelor’s degree in business education from the College of Mount St. Joseph (Cincinnati) and her master’s degree in business education from Xavier University (Cincinnati). She began a 12-year ministry teaching high school business at St. Louis High School in Mount Clemens, Michigan (1961-1963); Catholic Central High School in Springfield, Ohio (1963-1971); and St. Joseph Commercial High School in Dayton (1971-1973).
For the next 12 years, Sister Ruth served as coordinator of continuing education at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton (1973-1985). During this time, she also attained her master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. From Good Samaritan Hospital, she went to the Bergamo Center for Lifelong Learning in Dayton, where she served first as specialist for adult continuing education (1985-1986), then as program administrator (1986-1988).
Sister became the program coordinator of mission effectiveness and education for Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems, Inc. (now Catholic Health Initiatives) in Cincinnati (1988-1994). From there, she went to Bayley (Cincinnati), a residential community for seniors which offers assisted living, nursing care, and respite care. She served as residency coordinator and marketing assistant there for two years (1995-1997). In 1997, she became a team member and secretary for the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati (1997-2001).
From 2001 to 2013, Sister Ruth served as coordinator of the Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment in Cincinnati, a faith-based organization which focuses on problems of social justice. She retired in 2014, and now lives in Assisted Living at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph. She also enjoys spending time with her family as their matriarch, and relaxing with cross-stitch projects.
S. Barbara Padilla
Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Barbara Padilla’s first introduction to the SC Congregation came when she took a summer religion class at her parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a Sister encouraged her to attend St. Mary’s High School instead of the large public school that was frightening the quiet Sister Barbara. Her call to religious life came shortly after when a missionary priest spoke with the students about his work in China. “I decided that God was calling me to be a missionary and go to China. After graduation, I joined the Maryknoll Sisters, but after two years, they decided I did not have a religious vocation and sent me home. Not long after receiving my R.N. certificate, I was working at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Mother Mary Romana Dodd convinced me to join the Sisters of Charity.” Sister Barbara celebrates 60 years with the Community this year.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, Sister Barbara (formerly Sister Elena) attended Los Griegos grade school (Albuquerque). After entering the Community, she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. She served one year as a nurse at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at the Motherhouse in Cincinnati (1959-1960), then three years as nurse supervisor at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio (1960-1963).
Sister Barbara then went to Santa Fe to serve as nurse supervisor at St. Vincent Hospital, where she had been when she was inspired to enter the Community (1963-1968). After five years there, she became nurse supervisor at Mount San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, Colorado (1968-1969), then nurse at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque (1969-1971). She returned to Cincinnati to serve at St. Joseph Infant Home as a nurse for four years (1971-1975), before returning to New Mexico to serve as school nurse for Tierra Amarilla Elementary in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico (1975-1978), and coordinator of religious education at St. Joseph parish in Los Ojos, New Mexico (1978-1980).
In 1980, Sister Barbara lived out the call she had felt as a youth to serve as a missionary, but instead of going to China as she had dreamed then, she went to Guayaquil, Ecuador. She spent a total of 21 years in Guayaquil (1980-1990; 1991-2002), leaving for a year of renewal in Spokane, Washington. Her time in Guayaquil holds some of her dearest memories. For her first 10 years there, she was director of the medical dispensary and started a soup kitchen, and when she returned, she taught English at a junior and senior high school. Her nursing skills came into use even as a teacher, though; when people came to the pastor with physical problems, he sent them to Sister Barbara. “All I can say is this is where God wants me to be,” she said in a letter to the Community upon her return. “Since I have been back, I have met people in church, on the street, and they all say, ‘Sister, it is good to have you back. We missed you and prayed for you.’”
Sister Barbara served as a volunteer at St. Michael Catholic Church on Tybee Island, Georgia, after leaving Ecuador, then went on to teach at St. James White Oak grade school in Cincinnati until her retirement. She now lives in Assisted Living at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph.
S. Carolyn Ann Siebert
“My mom always told me that when I was little, I’d come home from school, go downstairs, and play school. I was always the Sister,” says Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Carolyn Ann Siebert as she looks back on her 60 years with the Community this summer. Adding to her early inspirations to join religious life were visits she made to St. Joseph Orphanage in Northside, Ohio, to see her cousin who served there. “I always thought, I’d really like to care for those children. My first mission was there.”
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister Carolyn Ann (formerly Ann Charles) attended St. John the Evangelist grade school in Deer Park, Ohio, and Regina High School in Norwood, Ohio. After joining the Community, she began her ministry at St. Joseph Orphanage, serving as a group mother and teacher (1960-1966). In 1966, she went to Margery Reed Mayo Day Nursery in Denver, Colorado, and served one year as teacher and the next year as group mother (1966-1968).
Sister Carolyn Ann came back to Cincinnati in 1968 to serve for 21 years at St. Joseph Infant Home (1968-1989). From 1968 to 1977, Sister served as group mother, then became coordinator of volunteer services for the rest of her time there. In 1976, the home began a program for children with significant developmental disabilities and medical fragilities; Sister regards the time spent thereafter with these children as some of the most rewarding. “My years working with God’s very special children there was a blessing for me,” she says. “They taught me patience, God’s love, and what tremendous gifts he has blessed us with. What a gift I received from them.”
In 1989, Sister Carolyn Ann went to serve as an administrative assistant with Glenmary Home Missioners in Cincinnati, a Catholic organization dedicated to serving small towns and rural areas of the country (1989-1995). She went to St. Gertrude School in Cincinnati to serve as secretary of their religious studies office (1996-2001), then served as a teacher aide at St. Peter and Paul School in Cincinnati (2002-2006). Sister then served for 10 years as a teacher aide at St. Margaret of York in Loveland (2006-2016). Sister is currently retired and lives in Assisted Living at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility at Mount St. Joseph.
For her jubilee, Sister Carolyn Ann’s dearest wish is that those who she served and who served by her side are aware of the important role they played in her life. “Hopefully, they realize my love and what an inspiration they have been to me. I have been so blessed.”
S. Martha Walsh
While attending the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Martha Walsh felt called to be a Sister, but not a Sister of Charity. “I denied it until about three days before graduation. I was in the Motherhouse chapel one afternoon, asking the Lord which community I should join – it is one of two or three times when the message was very clear: Martha, you belong here. I have never regretted for one minute,” Sister Martha says as she celebrates her 60th anniversary with the Community.
Born and raised in Xenia, Ohio, Sister Martha attended St. Brigid grade and high schools before receiving her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of Mount St. Joseph. After joining the Community, Sister began her nursing ministry at Mother Margaret Hall nursing facility in Cincinnati as nurse supervisor (1959-1960). From there, Sister served as nurse supervisor at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado (1960-1961), then at Good Samaritan Hospital as head nurse (1961-1964) and nurse supervisor (1964-1971).
After serving in obstetrics during her time at Good Samaritan Hospital, Sister Martha felt called to further her education in the field, becoming the first Sister in the Community to study nurse-midwifery. She received her master’s degree in nursing and a certificate in nurse-midwifery from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, and completed an internship year at Booth Maternity Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1973-1974), followed by a year there as nurse.
Sister served from 1975 to 1977 as a nurse-midwife at Simpson Center in Springfield, Ohio, then went to the College of Mount St. Joseph to serve as an assistant professor from 1977 to 1980. Sister was next missioned to Trinity Hospital in Malawi, Africa, to teach nursing and midwifery (1980-1986). “These six years were some of the best of my life,” Sister says. “I cannot see anything without the African experience being in my memory.”
After serving as director of precertification programs at Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky (1987-1990), Sister Martha returned to Malawi as a senior lecturer at the University of Malawi (1990-1993). She then served as nurse-midwife at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati (1993-1994) and St. Claire Medical Center in Morehead, Kentucky (1994-1995). From 1995 to 2003, Sister served as councilor to the Sisters of Charity Leadership Team, an experience she calls “satisfying, challenging, and sometimes difficult.” She taught for two years at the College of Mount St. Joseph (2003-2005), and served for several years on the Stewardship Board of Trustees of Catholic Health Initiatives and on its investment committee. In 2005, she became director of the Seton Enablement Fund, a fund established by the Sisters of Charity to share, through loans, resources with nonprofit organizations whose mission is to improve the quality of life of the poor and marginalized. She recently retired from this ministry, and lives at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse in Cincinnati.