Reconnecting With a College Classmate
by Susan Allen
In September 1988, I attended the first Western Michigan football game of the season. My son was the red shirted freshman place kicker. After the game the parents of the senior place kicker invited us to their home. In conversation I found out that the dad knew the family of my former Nazareth College roommate who was from Kalamazoo. A short while later, he motioned to me to take the phone as there was someone who wanted to say "hi". It was Priscilla Koestner Swiat who had moved back to Kalamazoo after many years. Happiness for us for sure. We had been in each other's wedding, but over the years we lost touch. Our husbands had served in the military, we had some babies, and had moved around a lot.
But after that phone call, Priscilla attended every Western home game with me for the next four years. In 2011, Priscilla invited me to serve on the Nazareth Association Board so that brings us together at least 5 times a year! Plus summertime in South Haven. Or just lots of phone time.
My first Spirit weekend was the 50th anniversary of my class..1961! That was also the day I was voted in to be on the board.
There was a certain "spirit" alive that day back in Sept. '88. You see, I was at the home of Joe and Kathy Creek who is also a Nazareth grad and Nazareth Association founding Board member. And I might add...now good friend.
When together, Priscilla and I always raise a toast to Miss Holland, Dean of Women back then who felt we would make good roommates. Thank you, St. Joseph. I love being back on the grounds of Nazareth.
P.S. The draft of this article was handwritten using the pen from the 25th anniversary of the Nazareth Association. On it states "Keeping the Spirit Alive"
Received December 10, 2017
Mary Ann Serdel Redmond
Borgess School of Nursing, 1963
Nazareth has always been a place of interest, mostly through the Nuns who taught at our small parish school in Bangor and those who came on week-ends to teach CCD to the kids like me from outlying rural areas. Our trip to Church was 15 miles from our home.
As I finished high school I knew I was going to a nursing school. I knew I was to be a nurse since I was about 5 years old. The opportunity to apply to Borgess School of Nursing came, as did the first visits, applications and acceptance to the school.
My first impression of Sister Benedicta was one of this being serious business. She was dedicated to making us become great nurses and good people. She reminded us that we represented our family, ourselves and the school. She was dedicated to high standards with perseverance and courage – “You are one of my nurses.”
Three years of challenging study, with the sciences provided by Nazareth College, was what we handled with the guidance of great teachers: Sister Marianne Miller, who could tell if someone was a smoker by the lines in the skin of their face;Sister Pius, who was on a first name basis of every bacteria known at that time and so many others who set wonderful examples for us to follow.
The Nuns who worked at the hospital were knowledgeable and had high standards. They were respected by physicians and the patients who were affected by their care.
I received a thorough nursing education that served me well for 35 years. I did not further my education, but was well prepared to assess, recognize and deal with situations in my career with confidence and wisdom.
Most of my contact with the Sisters and Nazareth reflected a true dedication for what was right for everyone. Medicine was not a means to a good salary – it was a calling to heal, a gift to be developed and respected, with the Lord’s help and blessing.
I am proud to be one of the hundreds of Borgess Nurses who have served the world in health care. I am indebted to all that have contributed to the enrichment of my life and grateful for what I was able to do for others.
BLESS ME FATHER I HAVE SINNEDBy Joe Wlodyka Barbour Hall 1964I was a 12 year old altar boy who served early mass for the Sisters at Holy Family Church, the Chapel at Nazareth College and the small chapel at the Mother House. Since only one altar boy served the early masses I was awakened by Sister Christa at 5:00 am. I got up, dressed and made the long dark walk alone down the corridors through the library in the church basement. It was too dark to find a light switch and I didn't feel like looking for it. I would proceed through the library to the old trunk room in the sacristy basement. There were trunks stacked up on the shelves. The shadows in the darkness made my heart beat faster. I walked slowly until I saw the outline of the door to the sacristy stairway. I opened it with a sigh of relief and in my mind I said let there be light -- and there was. I would go up stairs and get my cassock and surplus and get ready for mass.On occasion one altar boy would serve an early mass at the College Chapel, another altar boy at Holy Family. We would usually pass each other in the corridor or sacristy. One time when I was going and he was coming back from early mass at the college, he waited in the trunk room for me to pass and jumped out with a roar scaring the hell out of me. He laughed and took off for the dorm at Barbour Hall. I checked the schedule daily until I was scheduled for the early mass at the College and he was scheduled for the Sisters' mass at Holy Family. After mass was over at the college I made a point to get to the sacristy soon as I could to hang up my cassock and surplus and get down to the dark trunk room for pay back. I didn't have to wait long when I heard foot steps on the stairs. The door to the trunk room opened and I jumped out with a roar. To my surprise it was Father Lyons who stopped immediately with a startled sigh, ahhh. He saw it was just an altar boy playing a joke. He said,"You scared me you -- you, you fathead!" I expected him to say something else considering I probably pushed his heart to the limit. I said I'm sorry, Father, I thought you were someone else. I thought I'd leave quickly. It was dark and I didn't think he got a good look at me. On the way back to the dorm I wondered about punishment. Will I be excommunicated or just barred from serving mass.Two days of wondering went by when sister had us all in a group and explained what had happened, did not mention any names and plainly told us no more foolery or horseplay. Later in the week Father Lyons was having lunch with us and came up to me laughing and said, "You scared me!" Well now I felt like a fathead. I said, "I'm sorry,Father, I thought you were the other altar boy." It was a Boys from Barbour Hall Lesson.Posted 11/2017
The Happenings of Spirit Days, June 23-24, 2017
by Mary Anne Dalton, CSJ [posted to website August 14, 2017]
FRIDAY, JUNE 23
At least 101 alums gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Nazareth Association beginning Friday night, June 23. Many hands and subcommittees worked to ready this celebration. Co-Chairpersons were Jan Candela and Anita Rosenberg. Everyone was warmly welcomed at the registration table by Charlene Durfee, including those from the honored classes of 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, and 1992 from all five of the Nazareth Institutions. This beginning of Spirit Days is always an exciting evening. Decorating the Lacy Room at Nazareth Center were signature articles ready to be bought, fantastic raffle prizes, memorabilia from nursing and other institutions, and every table bedecked with full beautiful bouquets of colorful spring flowers donated for the association anniversary through a relative of new board member Toni Hall. Abundance and joy filled the room ready as the reunions of beloved classmates began to take place.
Master of Ceremonies President Randy Berd welcomed members and invited remembrances of past days by students of our institutions. Impassioned and enthusiastic alums brought forth stories of faculty and lifelong friends. Mention of faculty members who had a profound influence on the professional lives of alums and gave wonderful guidance surfaced. Of course, the Gull Road Tavern was fondly remembered. Other recollections brought laughs which included some of the rules and situations for students in effect back in those days, such as the fact that in the dorm at Borgess, there was only one phone on the floor and the line to use it was always long. Or when the college women left campus, they quite often had to wear high heels even to some unexpected events.
SATURDAY, JUNE 24
Saturday morning started with a great buffet and gathering of more participants. President Randy Berd presided over the business meeting. The oldest alum present, Lucille McNally Dooley, NC ‘41, was honored and announcement was made of alum Mary Webster Bunce, NC ’57, who had recently died. Then praise and thanks to God were given for the blessings of the 25 years of the association. Randy acknowledged the office staff of Joyce McNally, Kathy Creek, and Linda Huss for all their continual hard work for the association and outstanding first-time-ever color Newsletter production of Charlene Durfee, Joyce McNally, and the committee with great appreciation.
Randy noted that the association is presently in good shape, but the future of Spirit Days in these transitioning times when the sisters and Transformation Spirituality Center will occupy the new Nazareth Center structure in back campus, needs some good dialogue on where to meet next, and how often, and in what way. Members and board will develop a strategic plan and all are invited to bring forth creative ideas. The committee reports were given at which time Toni Hall of Grosse Ile, MI was recognized as a new board member. Appreciation was given for outgoing board member Jim Faist for his solid contributions to the board the past three years. The Scholarship awards, it was noted, would take place later at the noon banquet, but grant recipients to the Sisters of St. Joseph and their ministries would be awarded on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the time of the next Nazareth Association Board Meeting at Nazareth Center. Over the past 25 years, over $102,000 have been awarded to the sisters in grants for their ministries. The sisters are most grateful for this support to help them touch so many.
As has been the custom of the past several years, two Sisters of St. Joseph were selected to be honored with Gratitude Trees planted on the Nazareth campus. Sr. Theresa MacIntyre and Sr. Mary Anne Dalton. Sr. Theresa had spent many years at Barbour Hall putting on plays, giving music lessons, and executing various other Barbour Hall faculty jobs, as well as several years as volunteer coordinator at Nazareth College --among several other places of ministry. Sr. Mary Anne Dalton has been a longtime educator for the community at various levels. Both gratefully accepted this honor. Randy also announced that two more trees would be purchased to honor all the faculty and students who have attended our institutions in honor of our 25th anniversary.
The beautiful flower bouquets were carried to the Sisters’ dining room tables for the noon luncheon of a fabulous meal of salmon or chicken, roasted vegetables, and a variety of desserts. Nazareth staff served us eloquently. The atmosphere was festive as alums mixed with many sisters at the tables. The sisters are very appreciative to be with our former students because first of all they came to our institutions at a young age and entrusted their professional development to us.
The program consisted of awarding scholarships to eight juniors and seniors, and short speeches of gratitude from these recipients able to participate. Randy then roamed the dining room with the mic for members to address everyone. Darlene Mosher was the first speaker remembering how the association started. Several sisters made comments about their appreciation for the many students that attended our institutions and for all the association has become and done. This went on for quite a long time. Lastly a gift from the sisters was available for all to receive: every person received an SSJ booklet from our 75th anniversary and a little box with small memorabilia.
The next two hours were free for visiting or visiting the History Room and tours of the chapel. The History room has all kinds of well-designed displays of the five institutions, data about them, documents, yearbooks, and a multitude of photos. Lisa Murphy, Nazareth part time archivist was available to the members. She enjoyed answering questions, pointing out materials, and finding requests by the alums. One Academy grad asked Lisa if a copy of her Academy report card might be resurrected and Lisa found it. Groups of alums were seen pouring over yearbooks and bringing back memories. Some took advantage of touring the many facets of Holy Family Chapel, including the Holy Stairs. Others preferred to sit and visit until time for the 4:00 Mass. A huge crowd gathered for the Mass which honored the deceased members of the association. Bishop James Murray, celebrant, gave an outstanding homily- as usual. The chapel was filled with praise and thanks to God.
Several persons returned to the Lacy room for repast and more fellowship. Then the winners of the raffles were announced. Among them were Sharon Anderson-Western who won the basket of succulent plants, Sharon Fleck who won the money tree of gift cards, Joyce McNally who won the huge basket from Wlodyka Farms, and Sally Moser who won the interesting Michigan products basket. It was not long before alums said their good-byes, knowing that a good time was had by all. Special thanks again to Spirit Days Co-Chairs Anita Rosenberg and Jan Candela, Joyce McNally, Kathy Creek, Linda Huss, and Charlene Durfee. Stay tuned for future news of the next Spirit Days.
Please see related photos under the Spirit Days tab
Our 25th Anniversary
Submitted by Randall Berd, President of Nazareth Association -
Posted to website on 1/21/17
This year, 2017, marks the 25th Anniversary of the Nazareth Association. With a few donations but bountiful energies, a small group of dedicated volunteers started the Nazareth Association with the announcement that Nazareth College would be closing upon conclusion of the 1991-1992 academic year. Initially, these volunteers sought the fostering of support among the alumni of Nazareth College to continue many of the traditions experienced throughout the decades beginning in the 1920's.
Many meetings and brain-storming sessions were held and the ideas flowed. It became very clear that Nazareth and the Sisters of St. Joseph remained very dear in the hearts and minds to the thousands of graduates. For the next two years, committees were formed to work on getting non-profit status (thereby recognized as being able to accept tax deductible donations), by-laws being written and a central board of directors elected. Within the first two years, the Nazareth Association went from a dream to a reality.
It was noted that the graduates and former students of Barbour Hall and Nazareth Academy wanted to be incorporated into the Association also. They were welcomed and the spirit continued to grow! Eventually, the nursing graduates of Borgess, the former St. Camillus, and St. Joseph/Flint Schools of Nursing were welcomed into the Association as well.
Little did we know that what was thought to be a dream would remain intact today - 25 years later! Below is the February, 1994 edition of the Nazareth Association Newsletter for your review. It cites the accomplishments, updates on the faculty and staff, and class roster memberships. It is truly a walk down memory lane. Do note that all of our newsletters can be found on our website under the News tab. We encourage you to utilize the website for not only learning about the 25th anniversary activities being planned but also to keep in touch with the Nazareth Association.
Reserve the dates - Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24, for Spirit Days 2017 and begin contacting your classmates and friends with plans of gathering together for a glorious celebration.
The Nazareth Board of Directors
Mary Ellen Pellington, Nazareth College
(1972) Receives 2016 Governor’s New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award
Submitted by Joyce McNally - Posted to website on 1/10/17
Mary Ellen Pellington was recognized as an outstanding Library Director and community leader. Under her leadership, the Octavia Fellin Library was awarded the 2014 National Museum and Library Medal for Excellence. This award was presented at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama. In 2012 Mary Ellen received the National I Love my Librarian Award, from the Carnegie Institute and New York Times, for excelling in the field of Librarianship. In 2015 she was recognized by the New Mexico State Senate for her outstanding accomplishments in the field of library science and for her advocacy of library services that benefit Gallup, NM. She has been able to turn the library into a community center for exchange of ideas and developed services and programs vital to the growth of Gallup’s citizens.
She has built library services and programs responding to community needs. She established a Navajo Language room and a strong Native American film and music collection; and a multitude of programs reflective of our state’s rich history and culture including a growing celebration for Native American Heritage, Hispanic Heritage and African American History. Through her efforts, the library now offers free computer training on a wide variety of software and social media for community members. She established the yearly Gallup Authors Festival and incorporated the library into the fabric of community life.She has built library services and programs responding to community needs. She established a Navajo Language room and a strong Native American film and music collection; and a multitude of programs reflective of our state’s rich history and culture including a growing celebration for Native American Heritage, Hispanic Heritage and African American History. Through her efforts, the library now offers free computer training on a wide variety of software and social media for community members. She established the yearly Gallup Authors Festival and incorporated the library into the fabric of community life.
Ms. Pellington was responsible for bringing Story Corps from NPR to Gallup where people were able to visit the library and record their personal family stories and have them archived.Ms. Pellington was responsible for bringing Story Corps from NPR to Gallup where people were able to visit the library and record their personal family stories and have them archived.In addition to her incredible work bringing the library to life for the community, she is involved in enhancing her community in many other ways. She is an active member of the Gallup Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Elks lodge, and Gallup McKinley County Early Childhood Community Council. She is a member of the local arts organization, GallupArts, and is involved in the development of Gallup Mainstreet Arts and Cultural District.In addition to her incredible work bringing the library to life for the community, she is involved in enhancing her community in many other ways. She is an active member of the Gallup Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Elks lodge, and Gallup McKinley County Early Childhood Community Council. She is a member of the local arts organization, GallupArts, and is involved in the development of Gallup Mainstreet Arts and Cultural District.
3901 Emerald Dr, Ste N
Kalamazoo, MI 49001-7923
Phone: (269) 342-1191