Proclaiming Jesus through education and Christian formation.

Sisters in Ministry September 2011
Sister Mary Timothy Bland: A life in teaching God’s little ones

With the economy improving and the Owensboro Catholic School students testing higher than the local public schools and the state averages, an increasing number of students are joining the Catholic schools, offering steady enrollment. “Over the years, the development office has gotten the word out more about Catholic schools,” she said.

She continues to be a parishioner at Blessed Mother, and she and Taylor, along with other former teachers from St. Angela Merici, go to breakfast monthly at Cracker Barrel. “She’s a great person,” Taylor said. “My husband has been very ill, she’s always been there for me, no matter what time of the day or night.”

Another of Sister Mary Timothy’s ministries is co-coordinator of Hurricane Hills, a cabin in a rural area near Boston, Ky., that was deeded to the sisters for them to use for recreation. She keeps the calendar and gets the keys to those who want to use it, and shares coordinator duties with Sister Laurita. “You just go and forget there’s an outside world,” she said. “It’s a neat place.”

Another transition

In 1995, the transition Sister Mary Timothy had to make was internal — her mother died at age 82. While her youngest sister took her mother groceries and looked after her, Sister Mary Timothy talked to her mother every week.

“At 10 after 10 every Sunday, she would call me or I would call her,” she said. “If Father’s homily lasted longer than usual and I wasn’t home at 10 after 10, she’d say, ‘What happened?’”

Sister Mary Timothy welcomes her students back to class after a restroom and water fountain break.

Her mother taught her a love of family. “She was there for us. When things happened, you always ran to Mom.”

Her mother was very happy living at Nazareth Village, where she could attend Mass daily. “It was home to her, we’d go visit with her. She became a sacristan at Nazareth Village, that job became sacred to her,” Sister Mary Timothy said. “She’d shine up those candlesticks. The last trip she took was to my 50th birthday party. That was in October, she died in December.”

Last stop

Sister Mary Timothy has no plans to go elsewhere to minister. “I plan on teaching until God tells me it’s time for something else,” she said. “Years ago, I said when I retired I wanted to rock babies, but I’m not really sure that will work out.”

In her free time she reads mystery novels by Jeffery Deaver, and crochets baby afghans and prayer shawls.

She lives in Owensboro, and for the third time, shares a home with Sister Martha Keller, who returned from ministering in Paducah, Ky., earlier this year to be full-time director of vocation ministry.

“I enjoy and appreciate the gift of Mary Timothy as my sister,” Sister Martha said. “She is always supportive, always interested in my day and ministry. She knows my personal friends and family and we enjoy teasing and laughing together. I can count on her to lift my spirit and carry me in prayer.Her saying, ‘I am very sorrowful,’ instead of ‘I am sorry’ is a favorite line I love, it always brings a smile to my face.

“Mary Timothy is kind and organized.She is a great cook and keeps our home feeling like a place of warmth and hospitality by her presence as well as her daily touches,” Sister Martha said.“Our desire to be community allows us to both be nurtured by time for morning prayer together and great meals and prayer in the evening when our schedules allow.”

Sister Mary Timothy is also a lot of fun, Sister Laurita said. “Tim has a great sense of humor, a hearty laugh, and some very wise sayings that she throws at you when there is a need.”

For the young girl from Greenbrier who always wanted to be a sister, the past 47 years have worked out well. “Becoming a sister is the best decision I ever made,” Sister Mary Timothy said. “It’s been a real learning experience.”

By Dan Heckel

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