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Alumnae follow the Yellow Brick Road back to Maple Mount

More than 100 alumnae of Mount Saint Joseph Academy returned to Maple Mount on Aug. 27, 2023, for Alumnae Weekend, honoring two new Maple Leaf Award winners.

In one of the widest disparities of classes gathered, two members of the 1983 class – the final one at the Academy – were present along with a member of the 1941 class. (See article here.) The theme this year was “The Wizard of Oz,” which began the evening before during a welcome back dinner.

Two alums who graduated three years apart were the latest winners of the Maple Leaf Award – bestowed on someone who personifies the values of their Mount Saint Joseph education in contributions to their local faith communities, civic communities, and/or Mount Saint Joseph. Sister Pam Mueller A’68, and Sheila Ward A’71, received the honor this year.

Sister Pam completed six years serving on the Ursuline Leadership Council in 2022, and continues to serve as director of Campus Ministry at Brescia University, where she began in 2005. She has also served as a teacher, speech pathologist for the Diocese of Owensboro, professor of speech language pathology at Brescia, director of the Speech and Hearing Center at St. Louis University, and director of Vocations for the Ursuline Sisters.

Her classmate and nominator, Carole Caummisar Sanders, said Sister Pam’s energy, passion, and selfless service cannot be surpassed.

“Through all the years I have known Sister Pam she has demonstrated kindness, cheerfulness, and honesty,” Sanders said. “Her considerate nature is a quality that makes her a natural leader.  After graduating from Mount Saint Joseph, she dedicated her life to God.” 

Rebecca Collins Morris nominated her classmate, Sheila Ward, with a long list of accomplishments. Ward earned her nursing degree and then a degree as a nurse midwife. She and her husband Phil Adkins moved to Mississippi, where she worked in a hospital serving indigent people. Ward returned to Kentucky and opened a birthing service in Monticello, and later moved to Louisville, where she provided lectures to medical students, traveled statewide offering training to health department nurses, and other services, all the while still delivering babies on the weekends.

When she realized there was a need for prenatal screening for depression, she completed a master’s degree as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. She opened an office in Louisville seeing patients with a range of diagnoses, with special interest in postpartum depression. Ward was named Nurse of the Year in 2008 for the Kentucky chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Between 2006-2019, Ward visited Kenya four times to provide support and education for orphans and vulnerable children. Her next effort is in September 2023, when she will travel to Ecuador to help the Cofan indigenous people protect their ancestral land.

During the business meeting to begin the day, Mary Danhauer – secretary for the Alumnae Association – reported that since 2010, the Alumnae Association and alumnae have contributed more than $30,000 in donations to charitable causes.

Sister Ruth Gehres talked about the work of Casa Ursulina, and the two young people in Chile who are benefitting from the scholarships funded by alumnae donations. The alumnae approved that the Alumnae Association donate $1,000 each to Casa Ursulina, Water With Blessings – which is led by Ursuline Sister Larraine Lauter A’77 – and Catholic Relief Services. With additional donations from alumnae, treasurer Paula Chandler Gray reported that the total donations are:

  • $1,865 to Casa Ursulina
  • $1,790 to Waters With Blessings
  • $1,615 to Catholic Relief Services

Beyond the official business, the alums had a wonderful time visiting with each other. Here are photos from the weekend.


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