Eight Ursuline Sisters mark significant anniversaries

ursuline_sisters_lou-7.27.16-wEight Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, who served as educators and pastoral ministers, are celebrating significant anniversaries this year. And three are celebrating 70 years in religious life.

They are:

70 years

Sister Mary Brendan Conlon, a native of Cumberland, Md., joined the Ursulines in 1946. She began religious life as a teacher, but turned her service to the poor in the 1980s.

She taught in Nebraska, West Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland. In Louisville, she taught at Sacred Heart Model School, St. Elizabeth School, Ursuline Academy and Sacred Heart Academy.

After leaving education in 1982, she became the director of Christian Help, an emergency assistance agency in Morgantown, W.V. She was also involved in work for peace, which included protests in Washington, D.C., and a year with Witness for Peace in Nicaragua. After 12 years she and Sister Janet Marie Peterworth moved to Mingo County, W.V., and opened a Christian Help center in Kermit, W.V.

She returned to Louisville in 2014 and volunteers at area organizations.

Sister Evelina Pisaneschi taught in elementary schools for 22 years and served as a principal for 19 years at schools in Pittsburgh, Penn.; Morgantown, W.V.; and Louisville.

For a short time, she held a part-time teaching position at Ursuline College and taught full-time at Bellarmine-Ursuline College for four semesters.

She retired from teaching in 1991 served for 14 years as assistant to the director of Campus Services on the Ursuline Campus.

She resides at the Motherhouse and volunteers at Sacred Heart Home and the Motherhouse, offering to do little acts of kindness for the sisters there, such as cleaning veils, polishing shoes and decorating for Christmas.

Sister Mildred Mae Rueff, a Louisville native, entered the novitiate the day after World War II ended.

She taught at elementary schools in Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi and Nebraska and often juggled class work with cooking for the sisters.

She shifted to counseling and became a counselor in public schools, addressing her students’ diverse challenges, such as discipline, malnutrition, violence at home and busing.

In the early 1990s, she shifted to pastoral ministry at the fledgling St. Patrick Church in Eastwood, starting the religious education program, a women’s Bible study and a ministry for senior citizens. Her ministry to the elderly expanded to include Catholic seniors living at The Forum Senior Living Community.

Sister Rueff, who is in her 90s, now stays busy at Sacred Heart Home.

60 years

Sister Rosella McCormick entered the Ursuline novitiate in 1956.

She taught at and served schools in Kentucky and Nebraska, including working as a part-time professor at Bellarmine University, Jefferson Community and Technical College and Indiana University Southeast.

She later moved into pastoral ministry in Kentucky parishes, including a position as adult education director. Sister McCormick has served as the Ursuline Sisters’ director of novices, vocations director and president.

Sister McCormick currently facilitates RCIA, retreats and days of prayer, and teaches classes for the archdiocese’s Office of Lifelong Formation and Education.

Sister Rose Ann Muller, a native of Evansville, Ind.,  became a novice in 1956 and took her temporary vows in 1958. Her first assignment was as a first grade teacher at St. Raphael in Louisville.

She taught at schools in Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana  and Mississippi.

She then served in pastoral ministry in Mississippi and Indiana. She also served as co-coordinator of Marian Home, the now-closed Ursuline nursing home.

She retired in 2004 and began volunteer work.Today she resides at Sacred Heart Home.

Sister Mary Martha Staarman, who was one of four missionary sisters sent to Peru more than 50 years ago, has garnered the title “abuela” (grandmother) for guiding mothers through pregnancy and the births of more than 500 children.

She made her final vows in 1963 and the following year she completed her college degree and left for Peru.

The Ursulines established a school, Colegio Parroquial Santa Angela Merici in Callao, Peru, and she taught grade school there.

She worked with the community and studied liberation theology.

She returned to the United States in 1978 and served in pastoral ministry at parishes in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland. She currently ministers with a Spanish-speaking community in Pennsylvania.

40 years

Sister Loretta Krajewski was raised on a farm near Ogallala, Neb., and began her postulancy in Louisville in 1975.

In Louisville, she taught at St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph, St. Jerome, St. Therese, St. John Vianney and St. Simon and Jude schools. In 2005, she returned to Ogallala where she serves as a principal and teacher. She is in her 40th year as an educator.

20 years

Sister Yuli Oncihuay, a native of Peru, entered the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville in 1996.

After formation in Peru with Sister Sue Scharfenberger and the other sisters in Callao, Peru, she made her final profession there in 2005. She served as a kindergarten teacher at Colegio Parroquial Santa Angela Merici, the school founded by the Ursulines in 1965.

She came to Louisville this spring and currently lives at the Ursuline Motherhouse while learning English and visiting with other Ursulines and their places of ministry.

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