Proclaiming Jesus through education and Christian formation.

Sisters in Ministry October 2011
Sister Michele Morek: Always ready for the next adventure

Update: Sister Michele Morek left Brescia in December 2011 to become coalition coordinator for UNANIMA International, a nongovernmental organization of the United Nations. She served in that position until December 2016. Since January 2017, she is serving as the North American liaison for the Global Sisters Report, a part of National Catholic Reporter, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo.

 Considering how much Ursuline Sister Michele Morek loves nature, she would think it an honor that her friend Sister Sharon Sullivan would describe her as an “otter.”

“In their natural element, otters are playful but industrious,” Sister Sharon said. “I believe the congregation of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph is her natural element. She loves the world, loves creation, loves the cosmos in which she finds herself a guest of God. What drives her is that everyone else gets to share in it too. It is out of love.”

Sister Michele was a lifelong learner before that became a catchphrase, and takes great joy in passing on whatever knowledge she can.

“She can’t ‘not’ teach,” said Sister Cheryl Clemons, who ministered with her at Brescia University and during two terms in community leadership. “I loved traveling with Michele, she’d ask me some theological question, and I could ask her what flowers those were blooming along the road, and off we’d go,” Sister Cheryl said. “Even in an intense Council meeting, she would teach us something about the biological world.”

“Michele is a born teacher, full of curiosity and eager to share her discoveries,” said Sister Ruth Gehres, who ministered with Sister Michele at Brescia. “She’s great at that in the classroom, or at the dinner table. When we were working together at Brescia, some people squirmed at meal conversations about the sex life of sea urchins or other exotic information about God’s creatures. But most of us enjoyed the entertainment.”

After completing a six-year term as the congregational leader for the Ursuline Sisters in 2010, Sister Michele spent a year trying to discern her next ministry. She was led back to Brescia, a place where she has been connected for 43 years – first as a student, then as a professor, a dean, and most recently as a board member. The one role she hadn’t filled was staff member, but in July she began as director of Career Services and grants administrator.

Sister Michele’s portrait hangs in the Brescia University Administration building in the Gallery of Distinguished Alumni. She was awarded that honor in spring 2011.

“I like being back,” she said. “I like working with this age group of people. I like being in a college atmosphere where you can go to a book club on your lunch time.”

When Father Larry Hostetter, Brescia president, asked her to talk to him before deciding on her next career move, he asked what she liked to do. She told him, “I really like to teach, but I knew I couldn’t be full time in a classroom again. I like to write, and I like to learn.” He suggested the career development and grant writing positions that were each part-time jobs that were open, so Sister Michele is fulfilling both roles, which report to different offices.

“Career development gets me in with the students,” Sister Michele said. “As soon as freshmen come in, I talk about building their resume based on what they do — the classes they take, the clubs they join, what they do in the summer,” she said. “I gave a class for seniors in the education department on interviewing. Job placement is part of it, alumni have been coming to me, some want help with resumes.

“The career piece feels like coming home. I always enjoyed helping students choose their major and talk about their career,” Sister Michele said. “I used to offer ‘What color is your parachute?’ classes during the summer for sisters in transition the first time I was on the (leadership) Council.”

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