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Sisters, Mercy Grads Celebrate Jubilees

June 01, 2017
By Deb Daley

Three Sisters of Mercy, who also graduated from Mercy High School and St. Mary’s, are celebrating their jubilees this year. Their dedication, commitment and love of Mercy are clearly evident. Education has been a consistent theme throughout their lives with close to 100 years of teaching and administration between them. They were teachers and principals in Omaha communities. And one has also provided focused counseling and support through her ministry.

Celebrating 70 years with the Sisters of Mercy is Sister Marian Camel, RSM, SM ’47. Most of Sr. Marian’s ministries were located in Omaha. After graduating from College of Saint Mary, she served as an elementary teacher at St. Bernard School (1950-56) and Holy Cross School (1959 – 1960). She also taught at St. Columba School in Durango, Colo. from 1956-1959. She spent 39 years at St. Joan of Arc in Omaha where she was both a teacher and principal from 1960-1999.

Although she had ambitions to be a lawyer, the Mercy Day play turned her life around.

“If it wasn’t for Sister Mary Catherine Owens, a teacher at St. Mary’s High School, asking me to be the writer and director to bring back the Mercy Day play, I might be a lawyer today! I had planned on attending Creighton University to study law, but when I was doing the research for the Mercy Day play during the summer before my senior year, I decided to enter the convent instead. I read the life of Mother McAuley, and so help me I think that’s what did it,” she added.

Currently, she is happily living in the Sisters of Mercy retirement center, Mercy Villa.

“God’s presence is a gift to me each day. I continue to cherish the memories of the many students and their parents whose lives have enriched me over the years,” she said

Also an educator, Sister Carolyn Coffey, RSM, ’57 is celebrating 60 years with the community. Sr. Carolyn taught in Omaha; Grass Valley, Calif., Council Bluffs, Iowa; Buhl, Idaho and Kansas City, Mo. for almost 20 years. She was also a Principal in Omaha and Kansas City, Mo. from 1980-1987. She moved into her affordable housing ministry in 1988, serving as Regional President Mercy Housing Midwest in Omaha until 2002. She became the Project Manager for Discipline with Purpose in Omaha, from 2003-2005.

“As a Sister of Mercy, I have been blessed to minister in education and affordable housing. Each ministry had its challenges and blessings. However, affordable housing opened my eyes and my heart to the many social injustices in our world and instilled in me the desire to add my voice/efforts toward systemic change,” she added.

She credits Mercy High School for helping her learn how to study and giving her a foundation in key subject areas. She knows first-hand how students are taught to be compassionate individuals who can make an impact on society.

“I feel proud of Mercy High and how the students are being empowered to be our next leaders. When I see them learning about the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns and other justice issues, I am doubly proud. I love being part of Mercy Mentors and meeting with the juniors. Praying for them as they journey forward is a gift for me,” she said.

For Sister Marie Micheletto, RSM, ’57, a first-generation American, her ministry and educational journey lead her to practice psychotherapy. She was educated at College of Saint Mary in English and Secondary Education; at the University of Northern Colorado in Counseling Psychology; at the Menninger Institute for Family Therapy and at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in Gerontology. She currently serves as a psychotherapist and resource person for Hospice and the “No One Dies Alone” hospital program.

“When I was at Mercy High School I admired the way the Sisters dealt with the students and their concerns if someone had a problem. It made me think that I want to be that sort of person. They impacted all students, no matter if they went into religious life or got married or stayed single,” she said.

Her ministry has taken her from serving at several high schools, to working at the Archdiocesan Consultation Service, Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb. as a psychotherapist, inter-national presenter, program developer and trainer; and co-author with Sr. Barbara Markey, N.D., of FOCCUS and REFOCCUS training materials developed for international use for marriage preparation and marriage counseling,

“I am proud of how Mercy High faculty and staff instill the value of education on the students. They inspire young women to make their mark on society by who they are what they do. Mercy High helps young women identify their giftedness' and mentors them in ways of sharing and giving back,” she added

She continues to be grateful to Mercy, her parents and partners in ministry and what they have taught her.

Each of these women is a fine example of what Catherine McAuley said, “Show your instructions in actions as much as you can.”