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Jubilarians Share Mercy Ties

July 20, 2018
By Maureen Falcon

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.