The Sisters of Mercy, Midwest Community, have appointed Fr. Kevin Schneider, S.J., to Mercy High School’s Board of Trustees. He has been the director of adult spirituality programs at Creighton Preparatory High School since 1998 and serves as the assistant chaplain for many athletic teams.
Fr. Schneider was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin and is the second eldest of six boys. He graduated from Creighton University in 1982, the Weston School of Theology in 1993 and was ordained in 1994. He is also a lifelong Green Bay Packers and Creighton Bluejays fan. He often says Mass at Mercy.
Three Sisters of Mercy with ties to Mercy High School are celebrating their jubilees this year.
Sister Kathleen Erickson, RSM, has been involved with Mercy efforts for justice since the 1970s. She went to Nicaragua in the 1980s on a “witness for peace” delegation, an experience which changed her focus and resulted in decisions to learn Spanish and become involved in immigration issues. She has participated in several delegations to Central America, and spent nearly 20 years living at the US/MX border (1991-2008) where she organized Border Awareness experiences and helped to found a learning center for immigrant women.
Having traveled to Honduras several times, Sister Kathleen is committed to raising awareness about “root causes” of people fleeing to the United States. She has offered spiritual assistance to detained immigrants in Federal Detention Centers, Family Detention Centers and county jails. “Through ministry, I am learning that everything is connected,” she says. “My view of life and my spirituality have been changed by ministering with so many who suffer discrimination and the effects of economic inequality and US policies and business practices.”
Sister Kathleen began her ministry in education, spending four years teaching at St. Joseph in Williston, South Dakota (1964-68) and four years at Mercy High School, Omaha, Nebraska (1968-72). She was the dean of women and director of the PACE program at Central Catholic High School in Denver, Colorado (1973-80). She then served as parish adult education minister at St. Joseph Parish, Devils Lake, North Dakota (1980-82).
Her ministries include serving the Sisters of Mercy Community on the Provincial Leadership Team (1982-86) and as Assistant Provincial (1986-90).
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from College of Saint Mary, Omaha, Nebraska; a Master’s degree in Religious Education from Seattle University and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Sister Delores Hannon. RSM, entered the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on September 8, 1969, knowing that she would want to minister in education. A math aficionado, Sister Delores spent the first six years of her ministry teaching at schools in Iowa: Regis High School (1972-74) in Cedar Rapids, St. John School (1974-76) in Waterloo, and All Saints School (1976-78) in Cedar Rapids. A move to Kalispell, Montana, began her ministry as a principal at St. Matthew School (1978-81). Then she was principal in Edina, Minnesota, at Our Lady of Grace School (1981-83), Sacred Heart School (1983-88) in Oelwein, Iowa, and St. Joseph School (1988-95) in Marion, Iowa.
Sister Delores spent the next eight years (1995-03) as vice-president of the leadership team of the former Cedar Rapids Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy.
In 2003 she was able to return to serve students as president of St. Edmond Catholic Schools (2003-09) in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She currently serves the nearly 400 students as President of Mercy High School in Omaha, Nebraska.
“I have enjoyed all of these opportunities with their joys and challenges. One of the greatest accomplishments is each year at graduation. It is a reminder of why I do what I do — support students in being their best selves,” she said.
Sister Delores has a Bachelor’s from Mount Mercy College (now University) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a Master’s from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Sister Mary Jeanne Ward, RSM, ‘59 (religious name Sister Mary Madonna), began working with the Sisters of Mercy at St. James Orphanage in Omaha, Nebraska, when she was in sixth grade. She continued this through high school which confirmed her desire to be a Sister. She entered the Community after graduating from Mercy High School in 1959.
Sister Jeanne spent much of her early years in ministry working with children. She served at St. James Home in Omaha (1964-65); taught at St. Joseph Grade School, Denver, Colorado (1965-66); Holy Cross, Omaha (1966-68); St. Thomas More, Omaha (1968-70); St. James, Kansas City, Missouri (1970-71) and Madonna School, Omaha (1971-72).
In 1972, Sister Jeanne moved east and became the principal at St. Maurice School in Bethesda, Maryland. She stayed in this position until 1980 when she became the project director for Mercy National Center (1980-81), also in Bethesda.
From 1982-90, Sister Jeanne ministered in housing. First as an intern at Warren Village, Denver (1982-83), and then at Mercy Management Services in Boise, Idaho (1983-90).
She returned to Omaha in 1990 to serve on the Omaha Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy, a position she held until 1998. She continued to serve her Community as the retirement coordinator (1998-07) and then the archivist (2008-13). She continues to serve as a volunteer at Mercy Villa. “Being a part of our beloved senior Sisters lives is a privilege,” she said.
Sister Jeanne has a Bachelor’s Degree from College of Saint Mary, Omaha, a Master’s Degree from Saint Louis University, and advanced certificates from Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland, and University of Nebraska Omaha.
Students were recognized at this year’s Honors Convocation in a variety of academic categories. Departments gave honors for outstanding achievement, service hours and attendance were recognized, members of National Honor Society and Student Council as well as leadership representatives were spotlighted and community awards given. A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of scholarships from donors and external groups.
A complete program is available here.
Mercy students Jordan “Jojo” Fett and Katherine “Kate” Tietjen were named Outstanding Seniors at the school’s May Crowning on May 6th. The annual award winners are chosen by the senior class, faculty, and administration and must represent the class in an outstanding way. Honorees are considered by their peers and leaders to be loyal, trustworthy, spirited, compassionate, generous, and dedicated while also being involved in school activities.
Fett has been on Student Council and Golden Girls for four years, as well as Operation Others, serving on the Core Team the past two years. She is treasurer of Student Council this year. As a Mercy athlete, she has played soccer throughout high school. A member of the National Honor Society (NHS), she also serves as a Student Ambassador and was on the Speech Team her sophomore year. She is a two-time winner of UNICEF’s Courage to Care Award for her work on the Mercy Girl Rising mission project. She also attended the Mercy Leadership Conference in Philadelphia in June of 2018. The Mary Our Queen parishioner plans to attend Benedictine College to study biology. She received Benedict Scholar award to attend Benedictine.
Tietjen has been the Vice President of Student Council the past two year and has been a member since her freshman year. The student-athlete has been on the soccer and cross-country teams throughout high school serving as captain of those teams this year. A member of NHS and Golden Girls, Kate has also served as a Student Ambassador. Last year she went on the service immersion trip to the Dominican Republic, and she is a Eucharistic Minister. She is a two-time winner of UNICEF’s Courage to Care Award for her work on the Mercy Girl Rising mission project. She also attended the Mercy Leadership Conference in Philadelphia in June of 2017. Kate is part of a Mercy legacy; her mother is Mary Ann Wieberg Tietjen ’90 and her grandmother is Ann Bendon Wieberg’57, this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Woman of Mercy award. Also from Mary Our Queen, the Runza Student of the Week plans to attend Creighton University next fall majoring in business on a pre-medicine track. She received the Creighton University’s Founders Award, Jesuit Scholarship and Hixson Scholarship.
Kenneth Brannagh, a famous actor and director, once said. “I come from the theatre; my bones are in the theatre. It's as natural as breathing to want to be in the theatre.” The same might be said of graduating senior Audra Pflug ’19. Mercy and Theatre are a family legacy and part of her DNA.
Audra has been in every theatre production during her four years at Mercy. Her three sisters, Molly ’04, Monica ’09, and Jenny, who attended the school for two years, all were involved in theatre. In fact, Audra’s mother Kathleen Murnan Pflug ’81, met her husband Martin while performing in The Music Man at Mercy. Audra’s grandmother, Claire Riley Murnan SM ’45, can be seen at every production. Several of Audra’s aunts and cousins also attended Mercy.
“Ever since I was a baby I would come to shows at Mercy. At the family dinner table conversations about plays and our love of the stage were the norm,” she said.
This year, the senior played Jack in Into the Woods and John Adams in 1776, The Musical during last year’s theater season.
She enjoys the creativity the stage brings to her life. She is also a member of the award-winning Mercy High Singers, National Honor Society (NHS), Nebraska Thespians 6395, and was on the Nocturne Court her junior year. Her other great passion is sustainability.
“In Theology we learned about sustainability as a Critical Concern of the Sisters of Mercy. This cause resonated with me and I want to make an effort to stop climate change and what it is doing to the planet,” she said.
Audra will study Environmental Science with a concentration in sustainability at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She received several scholarships to attend college.
“Mercy shaped me into who I am today. From the moment I stepped through those front doors, I felt I belonged. The people here are caring and empathetic, and they pass those qualities on to you,” she added.
Because she loves theatre, Audra most likely will continue to be part of stage productions in college.
“It is a huge part of who I am and something I can share with family members,” she said.