Love, Laughter and Learnings: A tribute to Seton Hall
Employees (current and past) as well as Sisters hold fond memories of years spent in Seton Hall. They recall times ‘under the roof’ as well as ‘on the roof.’ In the following article S. Andrea Koverman, retired employee Diane Purcell and current, longtime employee Vicki Humphrey share remembrances that have stayed with them.
S. Andrea Koverman
“The roof was a place of deep reflection and respite for me during novitiate and into the years I was in Cincinnati after making my first profession. The view was always stunning; I found great consolation and a feeling of communion watching the birds soaring over the trees and river and thinking about all the Sisters that came before me laying at rest in the cemetery below. I always descended the stairs from up there feeling much more peaceful. I went often when my feathers were ruffled knowing it would do my heart and soul much good and it always did.
“Seton Hall was also where I spent a fair amount of time with my cousin, the late S. Kateri Koverman. I helped her get her office (first floor near the front doors) all fixed up the way she wanted – climbing on top of a chair on top of her desk to hang precious artifacts from people she had helped in healing their PTSD. I met her many times to plan the Vietnamese Adoptee Reunions, her presentations for different groups, and our Palestine trip with HOPE, but most of all, just to spend time together. Generations apart, we were kindred spirits and I learned more from her than I could ever express. Even after she was gone, S. Brenda Busch (a mentor) and I would meet in “Kateri’s corner,” the little sitting room just outside her office, for our check-ins, which usually included sharing a pizza for dinner. Before it became the office for S. Joan Deiters’ spiritual direction, I would sometimes go sit in the empty space just to feel Kateri’s spirit. There is much to celebrate and be grateful for when I think of Seton Hall. It was like the cozy family room in a very large house where I felt safe and loved and learned a lot about who I am and who we are.”
Diane Purcell, retired Seton Hall housekeeper
“I have many good memories of working for the Sisters of Charity. I worked for 10 years at Bayley when it first opened. Then I moved to the Motherhouse when there was an opening in the laundry service area. Most of my 25 years of working with the Sisters were as a housekeeper in Seton Hall. There I prepared rooms for all overnight guests – people making retreats, those visiting Sisters, family members and friends living at a distance. We kept all bedrooms in order on three floors, especially when large groups of Sisters came for the weekend or week-long meetings. I also kept all bathrooms (including 18 showers) clean and prepared bedding as seasons changed. I enjoyed meeting the different people who came and am proud of the work I did for the Sisters. It was a good place to be! Working on the second floor in the Finance Offices I made good friends with Laurie Stultz, Debbie Perry and Sisters Thelma Schlomer and Patrick Ann O’Connor. On third floor I got to meet the Sister students from Africa and South Korea who were living with Sisters Sandy Howe, Benedicta Mahoney, and Marie Irene and Mary Dolores Schneider. My years there were very good ones. Thank you, Sisters!”
Vicki Humphrey, senior director of finance and accounting
“I have so many memories from working in this building for almost 27 years. Honestly, it is not so much the building but all of the Sisters and coworkers I have spent time with along the way. I was raised Methodist and converted to Catholicism in 1990 when I married my husband, David. Three years later I accepted a job with the Sisters of Charity. I feel like I have grown up in Seton Hall (as has my family.) Our first daughter, Megan, turned 1 just a year after I started here and Ashley was born in 1995. Early on after Ashley was born, there were times when our babysitter had to cancel last minute and none of the grandparents were available to help. So, David and I had to divide and conquer. He took Megan to work with him and I brought baby Ashley with me. I fondly remember Ashley nestled in her pumpkin seat under my desk sleeping away. There was always an abundance of help when needed. I can remember S. Rita Schmutte as well as other Sisters volunteering to hold her and comfort her any time it was needed.
“All of the Sisters I have worked with during my years here have provided me with such wisdom and perspective. The willingness to help, take on new challenges and provide insight all while being caring and compassionate have provided me a great example on how to live my life. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is age is purely a number. The energy and stamina of ‘retired’ Sisters working in the Finance Office has proven that to me again and again. Although it will feel strange after all of these years to work in a building other than Seton Hall, I will always cherish all of the memories created while working with such a wonderful group of people. Blessings abound!
“Some of those generous Sister volunteers include: Sisters Helen Berson, Marion Agnes
Boeddeker, Shirley Dietrich, Marie Antoine Humbert, Ann Koebel, Rita Margaret Kroger, Grace Murphy, Barbara Muth, Patrick Ann O’Connor, Rosina Panning, Francis Clare Pavioni, Therese Ann Reis, Maria Fidelis Ritter, Agnes Schaumleffel, Thelma Schlomer, Rita Schmutte, Ann Rosaire Simon, Mary Assunta Stang and Pat Wittberg. What a wealth of generous hearts!”