Ursuline Sister Amelia Stenger thanked her many Ursuline teachers – from grade school through college – as she accepted her honor as a Distinguished Alumna of Brescia University on Oct. 22, 2022.
“It is difficult to put into words the gratitude I feel as I stand here this evening,” she said during the celebration held at the C.E. Field Center for Professional Studies on the Brescia campus. “My whole educational experience has been blessed by the Ursuline Sisters. They came to a small town called Glennonville, Mo., and taught at St. Teresa School. Sisters Jean Gertrude, Monica, Amanda Rose, Cecilia Mary and Elizabeth Ann gave me a wonderful foundation.”
She next attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy and then Brescia, graduating in 1974. She said she was privileged to have Ursuline teachers during all 16 years of her education.
“I don’t have time to name all of them, but Sister Francesca (Hazel) and Sister Marita (Greenwell) were so good to me during my high school years,” she said. “I was a scrawny kid and they would put honey and candy bars in my music drawer to give me energy.”
“My four years at Brescia started during my novitiate years at the Mount with Sisters Mary Edgar, Aloise, Consolata and Joseph Marian. We didn’t get to come to Brescia for classes until our third year of novitiate,” Sister Amelia said. “It was quite an experience. Sisters Michele, Clarita, Marita, Vivian, Ruth and so many others were there to help me. The classes were rigorous. I was prepared well for the years that followed. “
“Brescia gave me the foundation I needed to continue my degrees in education and administration. For that I am very grateful,” Sister Amelia said. She thanked the current Brescia president, Father Larry Hostetter, along with the Alumni Association and the staff at Brescia for continuing to instill the Ursuline Spirit in the curriculum and student life at the university. She thanked the Ursuline Sisters who continue to serve at Brescia – Sisters Helena Fischer, Pam Mueller, Barbara Jean Head, Betsy Moyer, Judith Nell Riney and Sharon Sullivan – for continuing to serve so well.
Since the inception of the Distinguished Alumni recognition, Brescia University has awarded more than 50 alumni with the title. The award was created to honor graduates who exemplify the elements that encompass “The Brescia Difference: Respect for the Sacred, Devotion to Learning, Commitment to Growth in Virtue, and Promotion of Servant Leadership.”
Because of the breadth and scope of their life’s work, the magnitude of their impact on the regional, national and often international scene, and their examples of service and leadership, alumni who receive this honor have distinguished themselves among their peers.
Sister Amelia is the 11th Ursuline Sister to receive the Distinguished Alumni honor, joining current Sisters Cheryl Clemons, Sharon Sullivan, Mary Matthias Ward, Larraine Lauter, Vivian Bowles, Ruth Gehres and Michele Morek. Three Ursulines who are now deceased also received the award – Sisters Joseph Angela Boone, Rose Marita O’Bryan and Dianna Ortiz. Ursuline Associate Mary Danhauer also received the honor.
Sister Amelia began teaching at Precious Blood School in Owensboro the semester before she graduated from Brescia. By the next year she was named principal at Immaculate Conception School in Earlington, Ky., then became principal of the newly opened Christ the King School in nearby Madisonville in 1977.
She was principal of St. Joseph School in Bowling Green, Ky., from 1982-84, when she was named the first woman to be Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Owensboro. It was during her tenure that the Rainbow Mass began – an opportunity to bring all the schools in the diocese together at the Owensboro Sportscenter.
In 1991, she was named Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Louisville – also the first woman in that role – which she filled until 1997. That year she was asked to return to Maple Mount to lead the newly renovated Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center.
In 2010 she became Director of Development for the Ursuline Sisters. She served in that role until she was elected as Congregational Leader for her community in 2016. One of her duties as the community leader was serving on the Brescia Board of Directors.
Sister Amelia completed her term in office in July 2022. She is now pursuing efforts for the future of the Mount Saint Joseph Archives and Museum, while assisting in the Development office and overseeing all quilting for the community.
Also honored with Sister Amelia were Greg Merimee, a 1972 Brescia graduate, and Keith Wells, who graduated in 1996.
Merimee returned to Brescia after serving his country in the Vietnam War. He graduated from Brescia with a degree in business administration. During his time at Brescia, he started working part time with UPS, and after graduating, he was promoted into management. What followed was a career in management that took him around the country opening and operating UPS facilities. After 37 years with UPS, Merimee retired as a division manager.
Wells was captain of the men’s basketball team at Brescia and graduated with a degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. Since 1997, Wells has been employed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice. He currently serves as the superintendent of the Owensboro Day Treatment program and, in 2021, was named the Day Treatment Superintendent of the Year.