Sister Alicia Coomes, OSU: “Mount Saint Joseph was a place of welcome for me!”

Sister Alicia was director of the youth choir at Blessed Mother parish for two and a half years. She is pictured with Blessed Mother music director Brett Ballard.

In January 1978 Sister Alicia re-entered the community along with three new classmates – Sister Larraine Lauter, Sister Mary McDermott, and Sister Rebecca White. That foursome celebrated its 25th jubilee in 2004.

After studying at Brescia for two years and making her temporary vows, Sister Alicia asked to go to nursing school. After earning her LPN at Owensboro Technical College, she went to work at the Mount Saint Joseph infirmary, then in Lourdes Hall.

After five years in that position, she took a break from nursing and went to Saints Joseph and Paul parish in Bowling Green as youth minister for one year before returning to the infirmary for four years.

Sister Alicia’s next move was to Saint Mary of the Fields in LaCenter where she served as pastoral associate for three years. “Those three years were among the most enjoyable of all my ministries,” she says. “While I was there I helped start a food pantry that is still very active today.”

Volunteering students from Hopkinsville let Sister Alicia know they want to work. The students were doing work the Saturday before the annual Mount Saint Joseph picnic.

After LaCenter it was back to the infirmary for three years before returning to school at Henderson Community College to get her RN degree.

After earning her RN, Sister Alicia returned to the infirmary, was named to the building committee for the new Saint Joseph Villa, helped with plans for the new facility, and became director of nursing for the infirmary. When Saint Joseph Villa opened its doors in 2002, Sister Alicia was named its director of nursing.

One year later Sister Alicia moved to Blessed Mother parish as parish nurse and high school youth minister. “That was one of my most fulfilling ministries,” she says. “Because it combined my two loves – nursing and youth.”

She remained at Blessed Mother until 2006 when she was asked by leadership to return to school, attending the Institute of Religious Formation (IRF) to prepare to become the community’s novice director. “The year spent in Chicago was a real challenge,” says Sister Alicia. “It was a challenge not just study-wise, but spiritually, physically and mentally.” She met the challenge, graduated with an IRF certificate, and returned home only to find there were no novices to direct. “While at school it appeared there would be no novices and I offered to take the position of vocation director,” says Sister Alicia. “Leadership accepted that offer.”

Sister Alicia visited with babies in the Hope House during a visit to Memphis.

In the short time she has served as vocation director, Sister Alicia has found it to be quite a challenge, but she says she’s still looking forward to it.

“I think I have the energy and the excitement about being a woman religious.”

Sister Michele Morek, congregational leader of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, believes that Sister Alicia’s experience working with youths and elderly is a good combination for a vocation director.

“Sister Alicia has many skills that suit her for her present ministry of vocation director. As long as I have known her, she has loved working with young people—she seems to be energized by being with them—and they love her upbeat spirit and the twinkle in her eyes,” says Sister Michele.