Proclaiming Jesus through education and Christian formation.

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


James Fitzpatrick, dean of student development at Brescia, oversees career development, and said once he’d learned that Sister Michele had helped prepare other sisters for transition, he knew she could handle this role and would learn quickly.

“The traffic into that office has dramatically increased,” he said. “I know she’s been aggressive about meeting our students, that’s been fun to see.”

Fitzpatrick said it’s a bonus that Sister Michele already knows so many people at Brescia. “I feel like a talk show host saying, ‘Our next guest needs no introduction,’” he said.

During a meeting at Maple Mount with the Ursuline Society in May 2008, Sister Michele visits with (from left) Sister Sue Bremer of Cleveland, Ohio, Sister Regina Rogers of Youngstown, Ohio, and Sister Patricia Homan, of Brown County, Ohio.

The grant writing portion of her job reports to the Office for Institutional Advancement, and involves “a bit of matchmaking,” finding out what foundations give money for what purpose and seeing how that matches the needs at Brescia. “I will interact with faculty and staff, write down their needs and wants, then go interview them,” Sister Michele said.

“I love to learn, this is a big learning curve,” she said. “I gave my first PowerPoint. I’m learning software and networking with other professionals on list serves. There’s a whole world out there.”

Her spacious office is behind the conference room on the second floor of the Student Center, and she’s added various animal touches since she began, including her sleeping elephant that a sister gave her.

“I feel welcomed back to Brescia. They treat me sort of like a mascot,” she said. “They were glad to have me back whatever I was doing.”

She was named a distinguished alumna of Brescia earlier this year, but said so far it hasn’t been odd ministering in a place where her picture hangs on the wall. “I don’t pass by the alumni wall, I never think about it,” she said. “I doubt if the kids even know that connection.”

 

Sister Michele, right, smiles as Sister Pat Lynch signs the Book of the Company and Sister Pam Mueller supports her during the July 2009 Mass celebrating the merger of the Ursuline Sisters of Paola, Kan., and the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph.

From January until May, Sister Michele had the opportunity to intern with UNANIMA, a nongovernmental agency of the United Nations of which the Ursuline Sisters belong, working on clean water issues.

“Being at the United Nations in New York really helped me to decide what I wanted to do next,” Sister Michele said. “Someone asked if I were going to stay in New York and work for the U.N. I realized the best thing I could do is go back home and keep an eye on my own country. I was concerned with the many stances the United States took, and the way they interacted and didn’t interact with the U.N.”

She said there was pressure to find the “perfect job” during her transition year – but she had a revelation. “Maybe the important things you do with your life are not what you do for a living, but what you do in between.”

A wandering spirit

Sister Michele has ministered in Daviess County, Ky., home of the Ursuline Motherhouse, for 40 years, which is a stark difference from her childhood, when her family moved often from state to state.

“I always say I’m from New Mexico, even though I only lived there 13 years,” Sister Michele said. “My spirit was formed in New Mexico, the great outdoors. When people ask where you’re from, I think they mean, ‘Where would you like to be?’”

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