Mary Carrico School honors Sister Mary Celine Weidenbenner for 60 years as an Ursuline Sister

When the faculty and staff at Mary Carrico Catholic School in Knottsville, Ky., learned in August that their religion teacher – Ursuline Sister Mary Celine Weidenbenner – was celebrating 60 years of religious life this year, they wanted to celebrate.

“She’s just a special lady,” said Laura Cecil, in her second year as principal of the small school in east Daviess County. “She wears a sweatshirt that says ‘Joy: Jesus, Others, Yourself.’ She just radiates joy.”

On Sept. 27, 2023, Sister Mary Celine was surprised to learn that she was the guest of honor at the school Mass across the road at St. William Church. The pastor, Father Shijo Vadakumkara, said after his homily, “Sister Mary Celine has been a great messenger for our parish and school for so many years.” He presented her with a crystal cross, thanking her for her 60 years of service.

Nine other Ursuline Sisters joined her for Mass and a reception afterward in the school gym. Two of the teachers at Mary Carrico had Sister Mary Celine as their teacher, and spoke of the joy they have of serving with her.

Marianna Romero grew up attending St. Alphonsus school in west Daviess County.

“I lived in Paducah for 34 years, then one year ago I moved back to Daviess County,” Romero said. “I was asked if I would substitute teach at Mary Carrico and I said, ‘Yes, my favorite elementary school teacher is there.’ She was also the principal for my siblings. She taught me social studies, religion and square dancing. Last year I was walking down the hallway and I heard square dancing music. Sister Mary Celine was still teaching square dancing. I believe with the same albums.”

Romero is now teaching music and library at the school, and led all the students in an original song to honor Sister Mary Celine.

“I asked my students what words they would use to describe Sister Mary Celine,” Romero said. “They said ‘faithful, loving, sweet, thoughtful, prayerful, kind, joy and strict’ – but the good kind of strict.”

Katie Ford teaches middle school students at Mary Carrico, where Sister Mary Celine was her teacher in the eighth grade.

“She made sure we were saying the rosary on first Fridays,” Ford said. “Her impact on me as a co-worker has been great. She is such an example of Christ’s love for the world. She’s a bright light for all of us. She keeps the spirit alive in our school.”

Vicki Conder met Sister Mary Celine seven years ago when she came to the school as the secretary, and now bookkeeper.

“She cares so much. She doesn’t just love us, she wants our best, because that’s what we do for God,” Conder said.

Daviess County Commissioner Larry Conder read a proclamation declaring Sept. 27, 2023, as “Sister Mary Celine Day” in Daviess County.

“Sister Mary Celine has made a difference in people’s lives,” Larry Conder said. “She’s taught us how to love and to be good Christians.”

Sister Mary Celine’s 16 years at Mary Carrico surpass her previous longest mission, St. Mary Middle School in Paducah, where she spent 15 years. While she hesitates to say any mission was her favorite, she clearly enjoys the close community in Knottsville.

“When one person hurts, we all hurt,” she said. “There is a lot of faith sharing and celebrating. It’s such a beautiful place to work.”

Here are some photos and a video from the day.

Watch the performance of an original song in honor of Sister Mary Celine


  1. Elaine Glenn

    When Sister Mary Celine was at St.Alphonsus she was an “ Awesome Teacher & Person”. She left her footprints here in our hearts!


    I love this woman. Precious memories at St. Joseph School in Mayfield learning science and square dancing. Congratulations Sr. Mary Celine. You are a special gift to us all.

  3. Sister Rebecca White

    Thank you, Sr. Mary Celine, for being such a great example for all of us. You give very generously of your time and talent. Congratulations!🎈 🎈❤️❣️🩷💕😘

  4. Pat Donahue Wathen

    Congratulations, Sister Mary Celine aka Teresa. You are clearly loved and appreciated for all the qualities I remember as your MSJ classmate. That friendly face & smile was always present for all of us.

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