Two profess vows as Ursuline Sisters

Ursuline Sister Carol Curtis, left, and Ursuline Sister Mary Theresa Burns are pictured at Sister Burns’ vow transfer Mass on Jan. 27. The sisters were formerly Discalced Carmelites. Photo Special to The Record.

Record Staff Report

Two former discalced Carmelite Sisters have professed vows as Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.

Ursuline Sister Mary Theresa Burns transferred her vows on Jan. 27 and Ursuline Sister Carol Curtis, formerly Mother John Baptist, transferred her vows on Nov. 15, 2019.

Both had spent about a quarter of a century cloistered in the Carmelite Monastery of Mary Immaculate and St. Joseph on Newburg Road until it closed in 2015. At the time, the monastery housed just eight sisters, most of whom were aged and had health concerns.

Sister Curtis, formerly the prioress of the Carmelites, and Sister Burns moved into the Ursuline Motherhouse.

An announcement from the Ursuline Sisters said the Carmelites were welcomed.

“I received a call out of the blue one day in 2015 from Mother John the Baptist, who explained that, ‘The Carmelites were moving out of their building, and would we happen to have any room for a few of them to move in?’” said Ursuline Sister Janet Marie Peterworth, president of the community.

Realizing, “this could be us” and that there was space for them, the Ursulines welcomed the Carmelite Sisters, said an announcement from the Ursulines.

Sisters Burns and Curtis eventually began a three-year transition to become Ursuline Sisters.

Sister Burns was born in Germany and later moved to Louisville, where she graduated from Assumption High School. She entered the Carmelite Monastery in October 1990, after graduation from Bellarmine University.

Sister Burns is now earning her master’s degree and is serving at Nazareth Home-Clifton as a chaplain, where she has formed community with the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville who live there.

Sister Curtis was born in Illinois and entered the Catholic Church at age 20 while in Taiwan as a Dartmouth University student. She served in the Peace Corps and later entered the Carmelite Monastery on her 26th birthday.

During her transition, Sister Curtis has earned a master’s degree and worked with Shively Area Ministries and St. John Center for Homeless Men.

“There is a lot of common ground,” Sister Curtis noted in the announcement. “We are all in this together and God is with us all.”

The Carmelites came to Louisville in 1930 from Philadelphia at the invitation of then-Bishop of Louisville John A. Floersh.

The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville were founded in 1858. They now serve in three states — Kentucky, Iowa and Nebraska — and in two areas of Peru.

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