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Evansville, Indiana
March 27, 1998     The Message
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March 27, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Christine to the Church has fulfilled her during past 40 years ANN HUGHES Message staff writer as principal of St. Matthew this summer, Benedictine f will be ending a 40-year her adult life to serving her a Benedictine Sister, then as a )al in schools throughout the a life that was "always ful- she was "helping people the Church." grew in the small town of .Spent her pouring over gazine, dreaming of sister in far-away places. a time in her life when a religious sister, but after )n she took a factory job any satisfaction," she remem- any fulfillment in wlaat I was ects all day made her to do "something with service." 21 years old, she told her par- to become a Benedictine Sis- "My mother was so glad. I Was going to go to China, so she somewhere closer." in 1955, and after her she was assigned to St. years to get a bachelor's degree, because I was teaching all that time. I took class- es in the summers." Benedictine Sister Vera Kloeck became her men- tor at St. Joseph. "We planned our lessons togeth- er. We did everything together. It truly was a men- toring program." For the next 40 years, she served as a teacher and principal in schools throughout the diocese. "It was just my life. I never thought about it." One day, after teaching for 11 years, she received a "piece of paper" that told her she was being assigned by her community to become a school principal. "It was an obedience thing," she says, throw- ing up her hands and laughing at the memory. "I went to Poseyville. I didn't question it. That was God's message to you through your superiors. "I felt I could do it. If they felt I could do it, I could do it." For the next 29 years, she was a principal serv- ing at St. Francis in Poseyville, Holy Spirit and St. Theresa schools, both in Evansville, and at St. Matthew. It was something she enjoyed. "I don't think I would have stayed here if I didn't enjoy it. There are good days and difficult days, but I enjoyed it. "[ ahvays felt fulfillment. I felt that I was help- ing people and doing a service for the Church." Sister Christine is retiring at the end of this school year. She plans to take a three-month sab- batical. She will be living at Ferdinand, and wants to "read, visit friends and fish." Fishing is her favorite pastime, and she can't remember "not fishing." When she finishes her sabbatical, she is hoping to find a job "someplace. I'm leaving the doors wide open." SISTER CHRISTINE KEMPF, O.S.B. 1 staff writer shared her love of music and children for 40 years devout par- and sisters, nuns n life as a teacher. for in Palmyra, of Uhls and relat- ina and nine a happy "but had a off what Would rise to attend service !Very Christian gather and pray the fifth 2S4-2S41 LIILDING grade, the Benedictine Sisters at her parish chose her to play the church organ. "My pastor would take me to Louisville for organ lessons. I looked so forward to that." The Sisters worked with her on her music after school and she became attracted to their "calmness and their peaceful- ness. It seemed like they really loved God. They just reflected it so much." By the time she was in the eighth grade, she was ready to follow in their footsteps. She headed to the academy at Ferdi- nand for high school, and by the time she was a junior, she was also a postulant. She made her final vows when she was 21, tak- ing the name Sister J'acinta, after one of the children at Fatima. She took classes at St. Benedict College and began her teaching career at St. Benedict School, Evansville, in 1957. During the 1960s, many sisters at Ferdinand struggled with the changes following Vatican II. Some sisters wanted to stay on I HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed Bonded Insured Industrial, Commerlat and Residential P.O. Box 405 TONY NAZARIO Haubstadt, IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 I I I FSB the traditional course, others fought for change. Millie, or Sister Jacinta as she was known, didn't take either course. Instead, she searched for peace. "I felt I didn't fit any- more." Amid the hundreds of sis- ters, she began to feel "so lonely. I pulled away from everything." She made the decision to leave the convent, and says she was "blessed from the time I left. I was very happy and peaceful." She moved in with an elderly couple on Evansville's eastside, and paid $45 a month for a room in their home. "I went to church every day and prayed that every- thing would work out." She was offered a job at St. Theresa School, Evansville. Even- tually, she married, and became the mother of a son. "The day he was born was the greatest mira- cle of my life." She is now in her fortieth year of teaching, and she says that from "day one I just loved it. I just love kids. Even as a little girl, I tried to teach my brothers. I even bought stars just like the nuns." Every day is a "new challenge" she says. She holds a special attachment for those students with low self-esteem. 'qt's so ful- filling to me to encourage them to work to the best of their ability, I I III RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY , , HH I I Millie Rueger gives a hug to Marian Day School fifth grader Raven Anderson. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes to be happy with who they are." She recently returned to St. after a medical leave. She told her prindpal, Marie Brandle, "I thanked Cod all the way over here that I got to come to work. II I I II I I JASPER 482-1200 ] ]11 I ] I I II I , L . ,J JJ , , "It's just been my life. I've often thought that the day I can't work any more will be the saddest day of my life." She added, "I wish I had 40 (),ears) more," I r I III II I I I L.I00e = Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 ........ " Hi ,i i i