The capricious winds of an Ohio Valley winter — together with a few inches of snow — resulted in the cancellation of the Feb. 3 liturgy to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. The event, which was to have been held at Holy Trinity Church, also marks each year a special Jubilee Liturgy for area religious.
This year, the event would have marked the jubilees of nearly 70 area women religious and brothers who were celebrating from 25 years to 85 years of service.
Eighty-five years of service as a religious is not a typographical error. Ursuline Sister Mary Thelma Sheehan, who turned 100-years-old last September at Sacred Heart Village, is celebrating her 85th year of religious life. Though she would have been unable to attend the special liturgy, Sister Martha Jacob — herself celebrating 50 years as an Ursuline Sister — was able to provide information about Sister Sheehan’s many years of service.
In a telephone interview last week, Sister Jacob noted that Sister Sheehan entered religious life at the age of 15 — “something that isn’t possible today,” she said.
“The interesting thing is, she became a novice in 1928 and when it came time for the profession of final vows, you had to be 21 years old,” Sister Jacob explained. “There was a class on Aug. 18, but because she was so young, Sister Sheehan had to wait until Sept. 2, 1933.
“You’re not going to find many other sisters who’ve shared that situation,” she noted.
Sister Jacob said that Sister Sheehan spent most of her time in the 1930s teaching at the old St. Vincent de Paul School — which now houses the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Maloney Center. She also taught at St. Elizabeth, St. Ann, St. Therese and Our Lady of Lourdes schools in Louisville and at schools in Evansville, Ind., Morgantown, W. Va., Jackson, Miss., and North Platte, Neb.
“She always taught grades one to five,” Sister Jacob reported, “and she retired to the Motherhouse in 1980, though we should put the word retired in quotation marks.”
That’s because at the Motherhouse Sister Sheehan worked with “various maintenance people making sure jobs that had to be done were completed.” She did that until 1994 when she went to live at the now-closed Marian Home.
“Her’s is a story you’re not likely to hear repeated,” Sister Jacob noted.
The religious who responded to an invitation to celebrate jubilee years at the eventually-cancelled event were:
25 years — Sister Nancy Gerth, SCN; Sister Connie Schoen, O.P.
50 years — Brother Robert Arrowsmith, C.F.X.; Sister Therese Arru, S.C.N. Sister Carol Ann Bonn, S.C.N.; Sister Mary Anne Burkardt, S.C.N.; Sister Maureen Courtney, L.S.P.; Sister Paulanne Diebold, R.S.M.; Sister Janice Downs, S.C.N.; Sister Genevieve Durcan, O.C.S.O.; Sister Lorena Fleischmann, S.C.N.; Sister Mary Gowern, C.S.J.
Also, Sister Martha Jacob, O.S.U.; Sister Rita Joseph Jarrell, O.S.U.; Sister Ann Carol Mann, S.C.N.; Sister Mary Ninette Manning, S.C.N.; Sister Carol McKean, S.C.N.; Brother Jerome Milazzo, C.P.; Sister Mary Lois Speaks, O.S.U.M.S.J.; Sister Maryann Tarquinio, O.P.; and Sister Barbara Von Bokern, S.C.N.
60 years — Sister Johanna Brian, S.L.; Sister Helen Carbol, S.C.N.; Sister Anne Hagedorn, S.C.N.; Sister William Ann Hayden, S.C.N.; Sister Delores Kemper, O.S.U.; Sister Georgia Jean Kruml, O.S.U.; Sister Dolorita Lutsie, O.S.U.; Sister Elaine McCarron, S.C.N.; Sister Mildred McGovern, S.C.N; Sister Kristin McNamara, S.L.; Sister William Marian Meany, S.C.N.; Sister Thomas Joseph Nacy, O.P.; Sister Mary Perpetua Nauert, O.S.U.; Sister Helen O’Brien, O.S.U.; Sister Lucille Phipps, S.C.N.; Sister Charles Marie Pilz, L.S.P.; Sister Mary Quayhagan, S.L.; Sister Louellyn Russell, S.C.N.; Sister Maria Sampson,; S.C.N.; Sister Anthony Mary Sartorius, S.L.; and Sister Dominica Widmer, O.S.U.
70 years — Sister Wanda Banks, S.C.N.; Sister Mary Denis Bruck, S.L.; Sister Lee Connolly, S.L.; Sister M. Annalita Fox, O.S.U.; Sister Ann Francis Gleason, S.L.; Sister Marian Haney, S.C.N.; Sister Anna Jeanne Hardesty, S.C.N.; Sister Patricius Henderson, O.P.; Sister Adrian Marie Hofstetter, O.P.; Sister Eloise Jarvis, S.L.; Sister Barbara MacDonald, S.C.N.; Sister Sheila Ann Madden, S.C.N.; Sister Emily Peetz, O.S.U.; Sister Mary Agnes Richter, S.L.; Sister Barbara Ann Shultz, S.L.; and Sister Teresa Wolfe, O.P.
75 years — Sister Agnes Conway, O.P.; Sister M. Georgine Grabenstein, O.S.U.; Sister Eleanora Mattingly, S.C.N.; Sister Rebecca Rodenbaugh, S.C.N.; Sister Mary Terence Schmitt, O.S.U.; Sister Ann Rita Sullivan, O.P.
80 years — Sister Vincent DePaul Hutton, O.P.; Sister Catherine Marie Melton, R.S.M.; and Sister Alice Eugene Tighe, S.L.
85 years — Sister Mary Thelma Sheehan, O.S.U.