Sister Amelia Stenger, OSU: “Sister Amelia is a very humble, talented, and gifted woman.”

Her coming to the Academy was part of a plan that began back in the second grade when she says she began “playing” teacher and sister. She was really hooked in the second grade when Sister Jean Gertrude let her teach first graders on a number of occasions. “I really loved that,” says Sister Amelia. “It made me want to become a teacher.”

Diane Dodson is the accountant for the Center. She helps with all areas of finance and prepares for the Center’s yearly audit.

She made her final decision to become an Ursuline Sister in January of her senior year at the Academy. She recalls, “I had a long talk with Mother Joseph Marian (Logsdon) and told her I had decided to try the convent.”

When she told her parents and siblings of her decision they told her they weren’t surprised, they knew all along that she was going to enter and they all supported her from the beginning.

In the fall of 1967, Sister Amelia began her postulant year at Mount Saint Joseph. She began taking Brescia College liberal arts classes on campus at Mount Saint Joseph. Later, during her third year – her vow class – she moved into town for classes on the Brescia campus. “We were the first class to go into town for classes during our vow year,” she says.

Sister Amelia, left, and four other Ursuline sisters from Mount Saint Joseph set sail Aug. 11, 2004, on the first leg of the reenactment of the flatboat journey of the five Louisville Ursulines down the Ohio River from Louisville to Owensboro en route to Maple Mount to establish a school for young Catholic girls. Also pictured are, l. to r., Sister Larraine Lauter, Sister Elaine Burke, Sister Betsy Moyer, and Sister Pam Mueller.

Sister Amelia’s longtime dream of teaching children materialized a little earlier than expected. She recalls, “I still needed eight hours to graduate and was walking across campus when I passed Mother Joseph Marian and said ‘good morning.’ She responded by saying ‘I think I want you to go to Precious Blood to teach fifth grade.’ I was very excited to go there for my first year of teaching. I only needed student teaching and speech to graduate so I used my first year of teaching for student teaching and then finished my last class during the next summer. That first year was great. I loved it! I really wanted to teach. I taught 35 fifth graders everything – religion, science, reading, math, history, geography, music, and even phys ed.” She still remembers some members of that first class and has stayed in touch with some of them.

After earning her degree in elementary education, Sister Amelia continued teaching fifth graders at Precious Blood. During her third year of teaching, she took on additional duties, teaching science to fourth, fifth and sixth graders. She served as acting principal for half a year when the principal took a leave of absence.

Longtime friend Bishop John J. McRaith says of his former superintendent of Owensboro Catholic schools, “She never tires of trying to accomplish any task that is given to her.”

Then-superintendent of Owensboro schools Father Henry O’Bryan often took Sister Amelia to the Army surplus store. She says, “We purchased shelves, paint, paper, anything to display our science projects. We made all kinds of things out of recycled junk – creative art activities, creative science activities.” Those comments sounded almost identical to those she made earlier about her father and his creative abilities as a blacksmith.

In the middle of her fourth year at Precious Blood, Sister Amelia received a call from Mother Superior Annalita Lancaster that would change the course of her professional career, moving her into administration.

Mother Annalita asked Sister Amelia if she would take on the duties of principal of Immaculate School in Earlington. She said yes and became principal at Earlington where she also taught fifth and sixth grades.