Many people often describe Mercy High School as a family; a community of students, faculty and staff committed to educational excellence. But the love of Mercy is also passed down through generations of family members. Many of our students are legacies—their great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and more attended the school. Emma Weis ’19 is a member of such a family.
Emma, a senior, is a Student Ambassador, a Senior Class officer, a member of Mock Trial, National Honor Society (NHS), Yearbook, Math Club, Baking Club, and plays soccer. She also was a student council representative her freshman year. Her older sister Lauren 17 went to Marian but Emma’s parents gave her the choice of Catholic schools to attend. She chose Mercy.
“What I love about Mercy is the sense of community. I came to the school knowing no one and in two weeks I was voted to be a Student Council representative,” Emma said.
Emma’s choice was not surprising. Her mom, Francie Riedmann Weis ’81 attended as well as her four of Emma’s aunts. Francie was active in the yearbook and newspaper and was a member of NHS, Concert Choir, and the Speech team. She was also Senior class president and was named Outstanding Senior. Francie is currently a judge on Nebraska’s Court of Appeals and helps coach Mercy’s Mock Trial Team.
While Jayne Riedmann Mollner ’70 was at Mercy she was a member of the Sodality, Government and Mother McAuley Clubs. She recently retired from Blue Cross, Blue Shield where she worked in customer service.
Jayne also said traditions are an important part of Mercy, even though they have morphed over time. She recalls when she went to school there was also a spring and winter uniform.
“However, when you hear the terms PA or Mercy Day or laddies you immediately recall those good times,” she added. Jayne said, “Mercy lets you be you and I have kept ties to my classmates over the years. I still have lunch with four of my classmates each month.”
Her daughters Katie Baumker ‘94 and Anne Mollner Stanley, ’05, a Spanish teacher at Mercy, also graduated from the school. And her granddaughter Jessica Baumkeris a freshman this year. She and Emma compared notes before she enrolled.
The other Riedmann girls who attended Mercy include Kathleen Riedmann Kemler ’78, Mary Pat Riedmann Greene ’73 and Margie Riedmann Sobczyk ’67. Their aunt, Margie Farrell Nicola SM ‘52, is also a Mercy graduate. In addition, Francie married into a family of Women of Mercy. Her mother-in-law Rita Ostblom Weis ’54, SJ and her mother Mary Caito Ostblom ’29, SJ also went to the school.
In all more than 12 grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and in-law family members went or are going to Mercy.
“Mercy lets you, be you even to the outside world, it is a tie that binds us all,” said Francie.
They say the family that plays together stays together. For the Neuberger family, sports, especially softball, was a passion that the girls, who are all Mercy graduates, shared. You might say it is in the genes. And they passed their passion down to their daughters who attend Mercy now and play on the softball team.
It is not surprising that all four Neuberger girls attended Mercy and played sports. Their mother Patti Lyman Neuberger ‘62, loved the school and encouraged them to attend. But the biggest sports influence was their dad, Joe, or Pappa, as he is affectionately called, who was an All American at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and was a coach at Omaha South and Bishop Ryan High Schools. He even had a tryout with the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
“I think Dad did not know what else to do with four girls, other than share his love for sports with us,” said Sarah.
Sarah Neuberger Coniglio ’96 played softball, basketball, soccer and ran track while at Mercy. She played catcher and third base on the softball team and still holds the record at Mercy for the most stolen bases in a season. She also was involved in National Honor Society and Campus Ministry and is very appreciative of her years at the school. She was on the state championship softball team her freshman year.
“At Mercy I was part of a small community where students receive individual attention from caring teachers,” she said.
When she graduated she went on to attend Quincy University where she also played softball. She earned a bachelor’s in Psychology in 2000 and received her Master’s in Social Work in 2001 from UNO. She currently the supervisor of the Right Turn Program at Lutheran Family Services.
Her daughter Clare is a freshman and plays left field. She is a member of Golden Girls and hopes to play basketball this fall.
Sarah’s older sister Meg Neuberger Lee ’93 played soccer, basketball and volleyball while at Mercy and was a pitcher on the Mercy team that took the state championship in 1993. She was an All-State Captain that year. She went on to study Exercise Science and play softball at Wayne State. She currently teaches Pilates.
“Mercy teaches you structure and discipline, which is especially important as you transition from high school and embark on the rigors of college,” she said.
Her daughter, Rena is a sophomore and is following in her mother’s footsteps as a pitcher. She is a Student Ambassador, a class officer and is active in theatre.
Meg’s sister Jenny Neuberger Sims ’90 played basketball, soccer and softball as a club sport. It did not become a sanctioned sport until 1992.
“I remember being nervous about my preconceived notions of a Catholic school. What I found at Mercy was a tightness, sisterhood and comradery with my classmates that remains today,” said Jenny.
After graduation she played college softball at a junior college and then went on to play at Western Illinois in Macomb. She was a pitcher and outfielder and earned a degree in Education. Currently she is a self-employed stylist.
Her daughter Hannah is a freshman and is a catcher. She is a member of Golden Girls and hopes to play basketball.
“I like the team aspect of playing softball. You not only have fun, but you are working towards a common goal,” said Hannah.
All three alumnae agree that Mercy had a profound effect on their lives.
“Mercy is doing something right and we knew we wanted our daughters to go here. The entire faculty and staff are vested in the girls making sure they reach their full potential,” said Sarah.
Editor’s Note: Sister Molly Neuberger Fearday ’97 also attended Mercy, but she lives in Effingham, Illinois with her husband and five children.
It has become one of the most famous children's books of all time, one that appeals to children as well as adults. That is one of the reasons why Mercy’s Theatre Director Joshua von Kampen chose a play based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as this fall’s play. The play, Alice in Wonderland, tells what happens to a girl named Alice who finds herself passing through the mirror in her sitting room, transforming everything into a fantasy world populated by peculiar imaginary creatures and objects that come alive and have a personality, like talking playing cards.
The show, which features 40 Mercy girls, five young men from Creighton Prep and a large tech crew, will be presented October 26-28, Friday-Saturday 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Ticket costs are $10 for adults, $7 for non-Mercy students, and $5 for Mercy students.
“With this year’s production, I wanted to explore all-ages entertainment through fairy tales/folk tales/children’s literature while also digging deeper. The plot is magical, absurd, and enthralling but is full of underlying messages that leave lasting impressions,” he added.
Numerous students, from all classes, tried out for the play. Working with student designers, the show will feature colorful, mobile set pieces that have strong artistic value and costumes that draw inspiration from original source material.
The cast of the show is available here.
Sister RoseMary Boessen (Teacher 1962-63 and 1965-71)
“I knew this is where I belonged. God was good,” said Sister RoseMary Boessen when discussing her entrance into the Sisters of Mercy in 1958. Sister RoseMary’s first ministry was teaching home economics. She taught for seven years at Mercy High School Omaha and one at Glennon High School in Kansas City, Mo. She loved teaching the “lovely girls” at Mercy but decided she wanted to work with the whole family. After leaving Mercy, she moved to Buhl, Idaho, where she founded the Home for Girls. In 1993, she founded La Posada in Twin Falls, Idaho, which assists those less fortunate, providing immigration assistance within immigration law, counseling, emergency assistance, a low-income taxpayer clinic, notary services and Spanish and English translations. She has been there for 25 years.
Sister Corrine Connelly ’58 (Principal 1978-88, Board Member (1998-present and Volunteer)
Mercy High School has been important to Sister Corrine since she helped move the boxes into the building in the fall of 1955. Previously a student of St. Mary High School, Sister Corrine followed her sister to the doors of Mercy High School and three sisters would later follow. After entering the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Corrine earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and later a Master of Arts in Administration. Most of her ministry has been in education, first as a Teacher, then a Vice Principal and then a Principal. She served as the Principal of Mercy High School for 10 years, from 1978-88.
Upon reflection of her years at Mercy, Sister Corrine said, “I never thought of my years as Principal of Mercy High School as work. I loved all the students, events, games and plays. Mercy is the best.”
From 1989-2003 she served as principal at Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph, Mo. before returning to Omaha where she ministered for 10 years at College of Saint Mary. Currently, Sister Corrine volunteers for the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community and at Mercy High School in the Advancement Department and as a Mercy Mentor. She is starting her 20th year as a member of the Board of Directors for Mercy High School and has been on several different search committees.
Mercy High School is in Sister Corrine’s heart, “Wherever I go, I tout Mercy telling them how wonderful Mercy High School is. Mercy gave me a group of friends, lifelong friends, that still get together. These friendships are one of the greatest gifts in my life besides my vocation which was fostered during my years at Mercy High School.”
Sister Pat Guziec ’58 (Teacher 1978-84, Director of Public Relations 1984-86, Director of Public Relations and Recruitment 1986-88)
Sister Pat Guziec ’58 spent many years ministering in Catholic schools, primarily in Omaha and Council Bluffs. She taught at St. Bernard from 1963-67, then spent one year at St. Peter School in Joplin, Mo., before going to Council Bluffs where she was a Teacher and Principal from 1968-71 at Queen of the Apostles. She then made it back to midtown Omaha where she was a Teacher (1971-72) and Principal (1972-78) at Holy Cross Grade School. Finally, in 1978, she made it back to Mercy High School where she served until 1988 in various positions including a Journalism Teacher, Public Relations Director and Recruitment Director. Later, Sister Pat went on to serve the Omaha Sisters of Mercy first in the office in communications and later at Mercy Villa as a Care Coordinator.
“My Mercy years have been filled with many blessings,” said Sister Pat.
Sister Kathleen Janiak ’58
Sister Kathleen taught and was principal at a variety of schools in the Midwest from 1963-76 before heading for the warmer weather of California and then Arizona where she has now been since 1982. For 30 years she ministered at Bourgade High School as a Teacher, Director of Studies, Assistant Principal and Grant Assistant/Receptionist. Since 2014 she has been a volunteer at El Mirage Elementary School.
When thinking about her years at Mercy High she said, “Mercy High School shaped my life. It was and still is a welcoming place that encourages and challenges young women to be their best. Mercy High provided me with the opportunity to broaden my world through education, new friends and spiritual growth. Sister Mary Brendan, Sister Mary Catherine and all my teachers influenced me by their example.”
Sister Johneen Owens ’58
Sister Johneen Owens’ journey of mercy includes teaching in the classroom and in the gymnasium at schools in Omaha, Neb.; Springer, N.M.; and Denver, Colo. She then ministered at the Stephen Center in Omaha from 1986-90 before returning to school to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing from College of Saint Mary. Most recently, she has ministered to elders and retired Sisters of Mercy. “My goal will always be to bring joy and kindness while sharing those gifts the Lord has given me,” Sister Johneen said.
Sister Claudette Schiratti ’57 (Teacher 1962-63)
Mercy, ministry, and music are all tightly connected for Sister Claudette Schiratti. Sister Claudette taught music at Mercy High School from 1962-63 before teaching in Denver until 1969 and then for two years at College of Saint Mary. Sister Claudette shared her love of music in another way when she became the liturgist at St. Cecilia and St. Bernard parishes in Omaha. She moved south and has lived in Kansas and Missouri since 1981 and has ministered as a Pastoral Associate and in various music ministries. Sister Claudette is rewarded by “providing music to inspire, console, and celebrate.”
Sister Jean Sitter (Teacher and Recruitment Director 1979-80, Board Member 1998-06)
Sister Jean left North Dakota 60 years ago to enter the Sisters of Mercy Community. She began her ministry as an Elementary School Teacher before serving at Mercy from 1979-80 where she was a Math Teacher and the Recruitment Director. She was also a member of the Mercy Board from 1998-2006. After leaving education, Sister Jean served as an Administrator at Mercy Fontenelle Center and then as a Formation/Vocation director for the Sisters of Mercy. After serving 11 years as the Director of Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center, Sister Jean spent 14 years as a member of the Sisters of Mercy Leadership Team. After four more years at Knowles Mercy, Sister Jean continues to serve as a spiritual director. Referring to her ministries, Sister Jean said, “each of these provided numerous opportunities to be touched by God's people.”
Sister Marilyn Ross (Board Member 1995-04)
A member of the Mercy High School Board of Directors from 1995-2004, Sister Marilyn Ross was impacted by the compassion shown by the Sisters of Mercy she had in high school. In the community of Mercy, she was inspired to respond compassionately to the needs of the poor, sick, uneducated and anyone wounded by our contemporary society. She has done this in many ways, primarily as the Executive Director for Holy Name Housing where she served for 32 years.
When reflecting on her time on the Mercy board, Sister Marilyn said, “Mercy High School embodies all the values that I embraced both as a high school teacher and as a member of a neighborhood development corporation. The values of diversity, respect for every member of the community and development of each person’s potential defines a healthy community and defines Mercy High School.”
You can read more about all Sisters from the West Midwest Community who are celebrating Jubilees at https://www.sistersofmercy.org/west-midwest/west-midwest-2018-jubilarians/
We will also be honoring these Jubiliarians at the Golden Guild Tea on September 22.
Nate Driml has been appointed Vice President of Advancement at Mercy High School. Driml will be responsible for planning and executing a comprehensive advancement program for the school to include fund raising and alumnae engagement. He most recently served as the Director of Alumni Relations for the College of Nursing, School of Dentistry, as well as the Heider College of Business at Creighton University. Prior to that, he was the Alumni and Development Operations Director at Creighton Preparatory School for nearly 10 years.
While at Creighton, he was responsible for growing and managing the fund-raising prospect portfolios for his assigned school and colleges to maximize charitable support.
An alum of Creighton Prep, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Journalism. He is working toward his Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Creighton.
Nate has plenty of connections to Mercy as his mother, Marrianne Safranek Driml ’65, aunts Barbara Safranek Kratky dec. SM ’55, and Rita Safranek Schneider ’58, as well as his sister Josah Driml Powers ’98, are all Women of Mercy. In fact, Josah will be one of the school’s new Guidance Counselors this fall.
“Nate brings to this position a strong development, alumni relations, event management, writing and communications background and an equally important understanding of our mission and values,” said Mercy High School President, Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM.
He is a current advisory board member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps and a former member of the Jesuit Partnership Council of Omaha. He and his wife Janet are active at St. Stephen the Martyr Parish where their three children currently attend school.
Jim Pogge, former Vice President for Advancement, has moved to Phoenix, Arizona.