When she moved to Owensboro in 2021 after 32 years in Florida, Janice Luckock knew she wanted to buy a “big old Victorian house.”
She found what she was looking for at 514 St. Ann St., in downtown Owensboro.
“When I walked in the door, I knew it was my house,” she said. “I kept all the old features.” She bought the house on Jan. 6, 2021, and moved in the same day.
What she didn’t know until the closing is that since October 1986, the Ursuline Sisters had owned the house. Then in October 2022, she saw a job posting for a cook at Maple Mount, and jumped at the chance. She certainly thought two connections to the Ursuline Sisters was more than a coincidence.
“I knew there was some reason that I bought that house when I saw this job opening,” Janice said. “I love being among the Sisters.”
She still carries her accent from her youth in Long Island, NY. Her grandfather, Anthony Tafarella, lived in Owensboro for probably 25-30 years, she said.
“When I came to visit him, I fell in love with Owensboro,” she said. “When I decided to move two years ago, it was either Savannah, Ga., or Owensboro. I decided I wanted to get away from the warm climate.”
Janice has had an eclectic work career. She’s taught classes in phlebotomy, was a registered medical assistant, and directed a day care director. She was a deputy clerk in Lake County, Florida, and performed weddings.
“I performed two of my daughter’s marriage ceremonies,” she said.
She managed a retail store in Florida and then in Owensboro for a year, but what she really loves to do is cook.
“I was a chef for 10 years for a private school that was affiliated with a nondenominational church,” she said. “I’ve done catering for 30 years.” She began at the Mount in October, and her youngest daughter, Abygale, also joined the Food Service staff in November.
“I love it here,” Janice said. “I like working in a spiritual environment. It’s so calming, it feels like home. Everybody is so humble and kind. I look forward to coming to work every day. Everyone is very accepting.”
She’s been working the afternoon shifts, but is switching to days soon. The food staff put Janice’s Italian heritage to good use – her maiden name is Rosalie – and let her take charge of the main meal for the feast of Saint Angela Merici on Jan. 27. She made meatballs and marinara sauce and cannolis, among other delicacies. “My favorite thing to cook is Italian,” she said.
After work, she goes home to her seven-bedroom house that she shares with Abygale. It has a basement, a main floor, a second floor and an attic.
“Somebody told me there was a passage to the underground railroad, but I didn’t know where,” Janice said.
The Ursuline Sisters bought the house in 1986 when they needed to move from a home on Ewing Court. Seven Sisters lived in the house initially – Sisters Cheryl Clemons, Kathleen Kaelin, Amelia Stenger and Theresa Marie Wilkerson all served at the Diocese of Owensboro offices; Sisters Nancy Murphy and Suzanne Sims served at Brescia College; and Sister Rosanne Spalding served at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. With not enough bedrooms for all the Sisters, it was Sister Amelia who turned the attic into a bedroom. Sister Cheryl is the lone Sister who lived in the house the entire time it was owned by the Ursulines.
Having enough space isn’t a problem for Janice. She uses one bedroom for just her five cats, and another room for her five dogs – two Boston terriers, a chihuahua, a Pekinese and a chug (a cross between a chihuahua and a pug.) Janice uses one bedroom as a closet for her large wardrobe. And Abygale has her own room, the first time she’s had a big enough home for one of her five daughters to have a place to herself. Janice has four older daughters – Amanda, who lives in Owensboro; Alicia and Janice (yes, with the same name) who live in Florida; and Elisabeth who lives in North Carolina. She has two grandsons.
The superstitious will be disappointed to know that there have been no mysterious rosaries clinking at night, Janice said. “No weirdness at all.”
Janice said she wants to keep the Ursuline connection to the house.
“I’ve told the Sisters they can come to the house anytime.”
Oh, what fun! this is a great story. I wish I had been home for the cannolis! Good luck to our new cook!
Wonderful story! I lived at 514 for several years. It’s a great house and it holds lots of memories. Good luck in your new role as cook! Italian food is soooo delicious. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to dine with everyone at the Mount.
You are so welcomed at the Mount. So happy to be one of the recipients of your chef creations. Thank you for all the effort you put into pleasing our palates! We would not turn away from more meatballs, anytime you get the urge to create them.
(no onions, please. 😌)
Thank you, Janice, for taking up both of our homes! It was hard to leave 514 St. Ann Street because it does hold so many memories, not erased by our selling it. You are certainly using it fully, as did we.
The authentic Italian meal we enjoyed on the feast of St. Angela Merici was such a treat! Thanks for your leadership on it and for Melody and all our super food services team for their help to pull it off. We are blessed!
514 Saint Ann Street is truly a place that feels like home. I lived there during my ministry at Saint Stephen Cathedral. It was a wonderful place to celebrate community and I am glad that you still find it to be for your furry family and lovely family. We are blessed to have you as one of our employees at the Mount. You definitely know how to cook and I enjoy your food but especially your lovely personality and warmth. Peace for your heart and I pray many more meals with us!!!