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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
October 2, 1987     The Message
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October 2, 1987

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October 2, 1987 3 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Sister Joseph Lom'se: 20 years of commitment By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor The words of the mother are repeated by the daughter, and in them you can hear strength and determination: "I gave you up. I don't have any right to rstake you back." The daughter is Sister Joseph Louise English, S.P., 'Superintendent of the Washington Catholic School System; she has allowed ques- tions about her professional and personal life. She responds with openness and candor, pride and hope in the school system, strong faith and some sadness as she talks about the death of her mother earlier this )ar. Sister Joseph Louise has begun her twentieth year as principal of Washington Catholic High School. In just a few years more, she will celebrate the golden jubilee of her entry into the convent in 1941. It was then, when she left her family to enter St. Mary of the Woods, that her mother "gave her up." "It was what I had decided." says Sister Joseph Louise, about leaving her home in Ind- ianapolis for a life with the Sisters of Providence. "It was what I wanted to do," she adds, with the quiet determination of her character. "The order was then predominantly a teaching order, and you assumed you would be teaching. You went where they assigned you." WITH HER M.S. degree in mathematics, she was assigned to teach; among her assignments were positions in Chicago, Ft. Wayne, Sacred Heart in Evansville, and Our Lady of Providence in Clarksville. In 1968, she was assigned to be principal at the Catholic High School in Washington. "It was a com- munity assignment," she says, "but it is my vocation; it is what I choose, I am here by choice. ' ' Catholic education has changed since 1968. There were 249 students enrolled then, she recalls; there are now 132. There were 16 Sisters of Providence at the high school and at St. Simon School; now WASHINGTON CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL there are just two Sisters of Pro- vidence and one Benedictine Sister in the Washington Catholic school system. The system was consolidated in 1973. The school building at St. Simon is used for grades kindergarten through five; grades six through eight attend school at St. Mary. There are 29 teachers in the kindergarten through twelve system. "We have 29 dedicated teachers," says their superintendent, listing their commitment as one of the reasons for the success of the schools. Topping the list, of reasons is the support of Washington's two parishes -- the priests and the people. Cooperation with the public schools is also on the list. Washington Catholic school students pay no tuition. At the time of consolidation, Sister Joseph Louise explains, the decision was made that no family would use inability to pay as a reason for not sending children to the schools. The system operates on a two-year budget. "The deter- mination is made about how SISTER JOSEPH LOUISE ENGLISH, S.P. much we will need for the two years; the two pastors deter- mine what their parishes can contribute, and the fundraisers go out and collect the pledges to complete the rest," says Sister Joseph Louise. "Somehow they manage." THE SCHOOL system has also established an educational endowment fund with about $300,000. "We have wonderful backers and fundraisers," she says. The next round of raising money for the system will begin in November, and Sister Joseph Louise is optimistic: "People here have shown such strong support; they just want to make sure the school system is still here when their children get here. ' ' Cooperation with the public schools is good for everybody, she says. The Catholic high school has a shared time pro- gram so students can take physics, chemistry, French and some business courses at the public school. Some public school students come to the Catholic school for Latin. Sister Joseph Louise lives right across from the high school gym, in a home shared with Sister Mary Denise Foley, S.P. Sister Joseph Louise's mother died this past June. In the dif- ficult months before the death, there were trequent trips from Washington to Indianapolis. Sister Joseph Louise once sug- gested to her mother that perhaps she might get an assignment in Indianapolis to be closer to her; it was then that her mother spoke with the determination so strongly reflected in her daughter: "I gave you up. I don't have any right to take you back." Sisters of Providence first came to Washington in 1857. With such a tradition added to such a family commitment, Sister Joseph Louise guides the school system with faith and justifiable pride. "I would like to see financial security for the system," she answers to a question about her hopes for the future, "so we can continue to do what we are do- inF." And what pleases her about almost 20 years at Washington? "We have done the best we could with what we have to work with. I am proud that we have been able to keep going. I am proud that all of our teachers are certified by the state. I am proud of the students we are graduating." If her commitment comes from strength of family and religious order, her faith is an- chored in the present. "I believe in the school," she says. "I believe in the system. I believe in the young people who are here." Convocation 87 Continued from page I Good Shepherd Church, 2301 North Stockwell Road, Evansville, at 7 a.m., on Oc- tober 13, 14, and 15. He will reside at his home (477-1644); he may also be contacted at the Catholic Center (424-5536). He (will be available in case of emergencies at St. Mary Medical Center and Welborn Hospital, Evansville, and anywhere in the Evansville East Deanery. Msgr. James Hill will celebrate Mass at St. Joseph Church, 600 East Virginia, Evansville, at 7 a.m., October 13, 14, and 15. He will reside at his home (476-2108). He will also be available in case of any emergency at St. Mary Medical Center and Welborn Hospital, Evansville, and anywhere in the Evansville East Deanery. Evansville West Deanery. Father Ray Reising will celebrate Mass at St. Theresa Church, 600 Herndon Drive, Evansville, at 7 a.m., on October 13, 14, and 15. He will reside at his home (477-9539). He will be available in case of emergencies at Deaconess Hospital and anywhere in the. Evansville West Deanery. Msgr. Clarence Lindauer will celebrate Mass at Resurrection Church, 5309 New Harmony Christopher East Living Center ,, Large Spacious Rooms - Medicare, Medicaid & V.A. Approved 4, 24 Hour Nursing By Licensed Professionals Physical, Speech & Respiratory Therapies o Special Diets Prepared By A Registered Dietician D Respite (Temporary) Care o Organized Activities Program With Shopping & Field Trips LIVING CENTERS efve Road, Evansville, at 7:30 a.m., October 13, 14, and 15. He resides at St. John's Home for the Aged (423-4320). He also will be available in case of emergencies at Deaconness Hospital and anywhere in the Evansville West Deanery. Information about area daily Mass, about the priest replacements and emergency situations is available at each church in the diocese. According to Father Sauer, the Presbyterate Convocation will give all priests serving the diocese the opportunity to pray together, to reflect on their priesthood, and to direct their attention to the future of the diocese and the ministerial needs of the people. Father Sauer notes that parish life has changed drastically in the last two decades: there are fewer priests and more lay people involved in parish activities; responsibilities are shared; the people's expectations of the parish sacramental and ad- ministrative activities have changed. The convocation will be valuable if it helps priests to learn what they need to move into a grace-filled future. About the convocation,. Bishop Shea has written, "We do this with the awareness that God's Spirit truly guides our deliberations and decision as we convene for the good of the ! local church." Funeral Homes 4301 Washington Avenue Evansville, Indiana Phone (812) 477-8971 for information of services and rates I Four , ZIEMER'SHEARS Convenient Locations EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON AVE.