In June 2010, Sister Amelia Stenger left her position at the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center and served six years as director of development for the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. In 2016 she began a six-year term as congregational leader for the Ursuline Sisters.
“Sister Amelia possesses a great deal of energy and never tires of trying to accomplish any task that is given to her or any challenges that come her way.”
The Most Reverend John J. McRaith, bishop of the Owensboro diocese, made that statement as he talked about Sister Amelia Stenger, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, who worked seven and a half years for the bishop as superintendent of Catholic schools in the Owensboro diocese.
Sister Amelia’s tenure in the diocesan school superintendent’s office was just one stop in her journey from a small town in Missouri to the director’s office of the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center. There were many challenges along the way and she met those challenges – three and a half years of classroom teaching were followed by school principalships in Owensboro, Earlington and Bowling Green, associate superintendent and then superintendent of schools for the diocese of Owensboro and then superintendent of elementary schools for the Archdiocese of Louisville.
That small town in Missouri is Glennonville, a farming community in Dunklin County, Sister Amelia’s hometown. She was born the next to youngest of eight children (four sons and four daughters) of John and Mary Stenger. “My dad used to call me Lucky 7,” Sister Amelia recalls. Her father was a blacksmith and a farmer. “He could take anything and make it into something else,” Sister Amelia says. “Blacksmithing is a creative art, but he used his skill to make plowshares and horseshoes because that is what people needed. Daddy was a very creative person.” That trait was passed on from father to daughter, as Sister Amelia is well known for using creative, artistic talents in her work.
Mary Stenger was a stay at home mom. “She was a wonderful, sensitive, caring woman,” says Sister Amelia of her mother. “She could can any kind of fruit or vegetable and could sew anything. She made all of our clothes until I was in the sixth or seventh grade when I got my first bought outfit. She taught me how to quilt.”
Sister Amelia’s education began at Saint Theresa Grade School in Glennonville, where she was taught for eight years by Ursuline Sisters from Mount Saint Joseph. They made quite an impression – she remembers them all: “Sister Jean Gertrude Mudd in the first and second grades, Sister Monica Aud in the third and fourth grades, Sister Amanda Rose Mahoney fifth and sixth, Sister Cecilia Mary – who was also the school principal – in the seventh, and Sister Elizabeth Ann Ray in the eighth.” Sister Elizabeth Ann is now a resident of Saint Joseph Villa.
Following graduation from grade school, there was little doubt where Sister Amelia would continue her education. “I got into a car, left home, and came to Mount Saint Joseph Academy,” she says.