Cleveland Jubilarians – 2023 – Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Cleveland Jubilarians – 2023

Sister Hope Greener, CSJ

(Sister Mary of the Angels)

75 years

Sister Hope Greener entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in Cleveland from St. Aloysius Parish. After entering the community, she earned a BS in Education from St. John College, an MS in Library Science from Case Western Reserve University, and an MS in Theology from St. Mary’s Notre Dame in Indiana.

Sister Hope’s greatest joy is working with children, particularly first & second graders, whom she taught at various elementary schools. Drawn to their spontaneity and fearlessness, she fondly remembers her first classes of fifty-five six-year-old pupils at St. Agnes. Later, when she worked with high school students at St. Joseph Academy, she found there was little difference between teenagers and her younger schoolchildren, which she jokingly reminded her SJA students.

After over twenty-five years in education, Sister Hope served Jesuit Retreat House as an Associate Retreat Director, until she felt a new calling. In 1981, Sister Hope founded Providence House, a first-of-its-kind crisis nursery offering safe haven to infants and children at risk of abuse or neglect. Until 1992, she served as the nursery’s director and is proud of the efforts she made to ensure the safety of children in the community.

After Providence House, Sister Hope served her community as an Associate Director, and volunteered at Seeds of Literacy, St. Augustine Hunger Center, Franciscan Village, and Community Health Partners in Elyria. She also worked as the librarian at St. Joseph Center. Today she resides at St. Joseph Center in Cleveland, where she enjoys socializing with the other residents, and weekly visits with Molly, a cocker spaniel who lives at the Center. She grows closer to God every day, and awaits His loving, “Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.”

Sister Loretta Schulte, CSJ

75 years

Sister Loretta Schulte was one of six children born to Frank and Mary Schulte. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cleveland from St. Colman parish. After entering the community, she earned a B.S. in Education and M.S. in Administration from St. John College in Cleveland.

Sister Loretta served twenty-five years as an educator, teaching at all elementary grade levels in many schools throughout the diocese, including St. Angela Merici, St. Columbkille in Parma, St. Vincent de Paul in Elyria, and St. Francis de Sales in Akron. In 1975, Sister Loretta answered the call to serve the global community as a member of the Cleveland Latin American Mission in El Salvador. There she worked among the poor, at times facing life-threatening situations. When she returned to Cleveland, she worked as an administrator at the West Side Catholic Center where she founded the West Side Catholic Shelter for homeless women in 1979. This ministry led to the founding of Transitional Housing Inc. (now Front Steps), a shelter in Cleveland providing a safe environment for unhoused women and programs to promote self-sufficiency. This groundbreaking agency served as a model for women’s shelters throughout the United States.

Today, Sister Loretta resides at St. Joseph Center in Cleveland, where she participates in exercise classes and activities, particularly art. She has discovered an affinity for painting, a skill she continues to cultivate. She is grateful for the love of her community, which has educated, supported, and encouraged her and her work. Of religious life she says, “Jesus was a doer. I had the chance to do things through his example.”

Sister Kathleen Kilbane, CSJ

(Sister Ann Michael)

70 years

“Great movements have begun with single conscious acts that somehow sound a vibration that resonates in the whole.”

             – Judy Cannato, Field of Compassion

Sister Kathleen Kilbane entered religious life on September 8, 1952. She earned both a B.S. in Elementary Education (1962) and M.S.E. in Administration (1973) from St. John College. She also studied deaf education at Kent State University and completed coursework to obtain her social work license at Cleveland State University.

Throughout her career in the parochial classroom, Sister Kathleen taught in many schools, including Annuciation, St. Angela Merici in Fairview Park, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Mary in Berea, St. Aloysius, and St. Colman, where she was also the assistant principal. In 1977, Sister Kathleen helped found and became one of the first directors of West Side Catholic Center, assisting community members in need obtain food, shelter, and clothing. She returned to the field of education in 1988, as the project coordinator for Adult Homeless Literacy Project, then founded and served as the Executive Director of Seeds of Literacy, and adult tutoring and literacy program in Cleveland. Following her retirement, Sister Kathleen held multiple volunteer positions at River’s Edge and St. Colman’s Adult Literacy Outreach program, among other places.

She currently resides at St. Joseph Center in Cleveland and is actively engaged with service projects such as packing meals for the homeless distributed by St. Edwards High School students and participating in retreats for Saint Joseph Academy students. Sister Kathleen said, “The greatest gift I have received as a Sister of St. Joseph is being able to minister where I thought God wanted me to be, and learning to follow God’s journey.”

Sister Rita Mackert, CSJ

(Sister John Bosco)

70 years

Sister Rita Mackert entered religious life on September 8, 1952, from St. Clement Parish in Lakewood. She attended St. Clement grade school and St. Therese Academy, operated by the Sisters until it closed in 1949. She graduated from Saint Joseph Academy in 1952. After entering religious life, she went on to earn her B.S. in Elementary Education from St. John College in 1961, and her M.S.E. in Education in 1969.

Sister Rita’s journey as an educator began in 1955 at St. Vincent de Paul in Cleveland, where she taught first grade. She also taught first graders at St. Mary (Berea, Ohio), St. Thomas Aquinas (Cleveland), and St. Colman (Cleveland). In 1968, Sister Rita began teaching first grade at St. Joseph School (now Sts. Joseph and John) in Strongsville. She has served this parish in many capacities for the last 55 years. Since retiring from the classroom in 2011, she has tutored first- and second- grade students in math and reading, served as a Eucharistic minister, sang in the funeral choir, prepared participants in school liturgies, attended the Carpenters Monthly and Seniors Groups. Weekday afternoons she can be found assisting with school pick-up where she has been recognized by parents as their former teacher!

In addition, Sister Rita has donated over 200 units of blood and platelets for Red Cross drives. Of her rich religious life, Sister Rita reflects, “I’ve come to the complete surrender to God and put all trust in Him. I ask Him to lead me to do His will so I can focus only on Him. What joy He has generously and graciously given me—a joy no one can take from me. Try it! You will find this to be true. ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ ”

Sister Marie Therese Courtad, CSJ

60 years

Sister Marie Therese Courtad was one of six children born to Marcella and George Courtad. She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, until the age of twelve when her family relocated to Indiana. At the urging of her parish priest, Sister Marie Therese attended high school at St. Joseph Academy in Tipton, Indiana, where she became acquainted with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Upon graduating, she entered the community in Tipton.

Sister Marie Therese’s first ministry was as a housekeeper for convents at area parishes and at the motherhouse, a role in which she served for nearly fifteen years. In 1980, she earned her Certificate in Home Care and began serving as a nursing assistant at Mercy Hospital in Elwood, Indiana. She fondly recalls her days as a rehabilitation aide at St. Anthony’s Home, where she worked in the therapy department. This position offered a variety of tasks to provide care for her clients. After fifteen years in nursing, she went on to serve as a driver and a sacristan at St. Joseph Center in Tipton.

When the center in Tipton closed, Sister Marie Therese returned to her childhood home of Cleveland, Ohio, and currently resides at St. Joseph Center. A regular attendee of art and reflection sessions at the center, she enjoys drawing and sketching and is active in prayer ministry.

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