Nine Ursulines celebrate 50, 60, 70 and 75 years

ursuline_sisters_logo-wNine Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, who have served in a variety of ministries, are celebrating jubilees of 75, 70, 60 and 50 years.

They are:

75 years

Sister Pat Marcian Lowman, 93, is a native of Orangeburg, S.C. She served as a professor at Ursuline College in 1965. In 1966, she received a Fullbright Scholarship for summer studies in India. Sister Lowman taught at Bellarmine University for 28 years, where she led summer trips with students to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Norway. At Bellarmine she also served as coordinator of women’s sports and was the official scorekeeper for the women’s basketball team for 29 years. Earlier in her teaching career, Sister Lowman taught at St. Rita School and Sacred Heart Academy. She also taught in Omaha, Neb., and Columbia, S.C. “I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. It’s been wonderful,” she said in a news announcement from the Ursuline Sisters. Sister Lowman now serves as a volunteer at Mercy Sacred Heart.

70 years

Sister Isabel Lehmenkuler, a Louisville native, grew up in Holy Trinity Church. An educator, she served as a teacher in Nebraska, Indiana, South Carolina and Kentucky. She preferred being in the classroom, but was called on at times to serve as principal as well, according to the announcement. In the early 1980’s Sister Lehmenkuler went into pastoral care ministry and served as a chaplain at a hospital in Columbia, S.C for 15 years. “I don’t think it’s possible to get closer to God than to be with families who have a loved one dying,” she said. “The presence of God is overwhelming then.” Sister Lehmenkuler now serves as a volunteer at Water with Blessings, a non-profit that educates and provides equipment for producing clean water in under-developed countries.

Sister Annunciata Muth has been an Ursuline Sister for 70 years. Sister Muth said growing up in the country not only limited her religious formation but also made her more grateful for it. “I think being deprived of access to religious education in those early years made me more grateful and loving of the church,” she said. “All the things we do in church and the prayers mean a lot to me.” Sister Muth studied at Creighton University in Omaha. Neb., and served as a teacher in Nebraska, Indiana and Kentucky. She now serves as a volunteer at United Crescent Hill Ministries.

60 years

Sister Regina Bevelacqua is the executive director of St. Mary’s Center, which serves adults with intellectual disabilities. She grew up in West Virginia and, early on, inherited a devotion to the Blessed Mother from her father, an Italian immigrant who worked as a coal miner, according to the announcement. Sister Bevelacqua knew in high school that she had a vocation and wanted to join the Ursuline Sisters, but her mother initially refused to let her go. “I kept on praying,” she said. “I knew what I wanted to do.” She has served at what is now Pitt Academy and, in 1994, she co-founded St. Mary’s Center. She also serves as a director and coach in the Special Olympics.

Sister Janet Marie Peterworth serves as president of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. She served as a teacher in Louisville, Pittsburgh, Omaha and South Carolina. In 1967, she became the director of the Ursulines’ Office of Education. Sister Peterworth served as principal of St. Joseph School in Butchertown from 1971-1975. She began pastoral work in 1975 and continued through 1984. She and Ursuline Sister Mary Brendan Conlon established ABLE Families, an educational agency to address the systemic causes of poverty in Mingo, W.V.

50 years

Sister Margaret Ann Hagan, a native of Louisville, taught high school for 10 years at Holy Rosary Academy, Angela Merici High School and Sacred Heart Academy. Following her teaching career, Sister Hagan earned a master’s degree in theological studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology, where she later became director of seminarians’ field education and dean of lay students. In 2007, she became the first woman to be honored by St. Meinrad as Distinguished Alumna of the Year. She now serves in the Ursuline Leadership Circle, as a spiritual director and as a retreat facilitator.

Sister Ruth Ann (Mary Carla) Haunz is one of eight children and her family’s farm in Oldham County still operates today. Her family formed its own community of faith, because there were so few Catholics in Oldham County at the time said Sister Haunz in the announcement. She served as a pastoral associate at St. Martha and St. Gabriel churches for three decades and has served on the Ursuline Leadership Team. She also served as a religion and math teacher during her early years as an Ursuline. Today Sister Haunz offers spiritual direction and works with incarcerated women.

Sister Paula (Paul Mary) Kleine-Kracht served as a teacher and principal at Angela Merici High School and as principal of Sacred Heart Academy. In 2003, Sister Kleine-Kracht helped establish Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, an independent Catholic middle school for low income children. She also has served as an assistant professor for the University of Delaware and taught briefly in South Carolina. She now serves on the Leadership Circle for the Ursulines and plays the organ.

Sister Rita Ann Wigginton has spent her time as an Ursuline working with people who are hearing impaired or deaf, which she said was a calling. In the Archdiocese of Louisville, she served as pastoral minister in the now-closed Deaf Office. She also served as an interpreter for the deaf in a number of places — churches, doctors’ offices, courtrooms and schools, including the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She later went on to serve as a coordinator for ministry serving people who are deaf or blind and those who are both deaf and blind at an Ohio parish. She became a certified interpreter through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Sister Wigginton also served for a term on the Ursuline Community’s Leadership Council. She continues to serve the deaf community through a part-time position with the Ministry Formation Program.

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