She moved on to teach at Saint Denis School in Louisville for eight years before returning to Saints Joseph and Paul for two more years.
Sister Ruth Gehres, who also taught at Saints Joseph and Paul during this time, remembers how Sister Joseph Angela’s composure and quick wit kept them both afloat during those challenging days. “We got up before sunrise, prayed and ate and ran to school, where we taught all day and cleaned classrooms before leaving — on several afternoons and evenings — for the classes we were taking at Brescia College, often returning after all the other sisters were asleep. Sister Joseph Angela was always playing practical jokes or telling highly improbable stories that kept us both laughing and awake.”
Sister Joseph Angela left teaching for two years to further her education, earning her master’s degree in math and a minor in physics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
She returned to Owensboro for an eight-year tenure on the faculty at Brescia College as a mathematics and general physics instructor.
Owensboro CPA Larry O’Bryan, vice-president in charge of marketing for Alexander and Company, has fond memories of Sister Joseph Angela in the Brescia classroom. “My math courses in high school were very limited, so I needed the course in Fundamental Mathematics,” he recalls. “Sister Joseph Angela taught me Math 103 in the fall of 1968 and the spring of 1969. She was very friendly and helpful as a teacher, but she expected each student to do his homework — can you believe that!” The 1970 Brescia graduate went on to say, “She was all business, and I feel her math course helped me achieve my degree in accounting. I have worked with Sister Joseph Angela on the Brescia board and have the greatest respect for her as a person and as a business leader. I feel she is still teaching by her example.”
In December 1969, she left the classroom and never returned. She left to serve her Ursuline community for 19 years as treasurer and business administrator. Her duties included being a member of the Council from 1972-1976.
Sister Joseph Angela’s last career move was on July 1, 1989, when she left her position at Mount Saint Joseph to become Director of Administration and Finance and Chancellor for the Diocese of Owensboro.
“As director of administration she handles the financial aspects of the diocese, and she does a superb job,” says Bishop McRaith. “And she is wonderful to work with, one of the most cooperative and supportive persons to have as a co-worker.”
Her other co-workers echo the bishop’s kind words. Secretary Elaine says, “When I told people I was going to work for Sister Joseph Angela in the diocesan office, I quickly learned how well known and respected she is in the community. Of course, I learned that myself when I came to work. I also learned how very dedicated she is to the diocese.”
Bookkeeper Mary Margaret says, “I have a very good working and personal relationship with Sister. It is amazing how she manages to find time to complete all of her many work and volunteer projects.”
Assistant finance director Kay says, “She’s always there to assist all of us in the administration office, even though her plate is the fullest. And somehow she finds time to be very supportive of all of us on a personal basis. She has always taken an interest in my family and me and that means a lot.”
In addition to her heavy workload in the diocesan office, Sister Joseph Angela manages to find time to work with Catholic Charities, Brescia University and the Boulware Mission.
The Boulware Mission is a faith-based, nonsectarian servant to the destitute. The mission took over the Passionist Nuns Monastery March 10 of this year and will move its operations into the monastery building upon completion of renovations. Sister Joseph Angela is the chairman of the renovation committee.
“The lady wastes no time,” says Rosemary Lawson, chief development officer for the Boulware Mission. “She’s a great steward of her time and of her talents and abilities. She has brought years of experience in dealing with renovations, expansions and capital campaigning to Boulware Mission at a turning point in its history. Her renovation committee chairmanship requires multiple meetings weekly with architects and engineers.”
Sister Joseph Angela left the classroom over 36 years ago. Does she miss teaching? “I did miss teaching when I first left it,” she admits. “I missed it very much. I loved teaching. Some of my fondest memories are the students. I loved to see them get excited about learning.”
A high school teacher was one of the most influential persons in her life. “Sister Joseph Therese Thompson, an Ursuline sister who taught me high school math and physics, “she answered without hesitation when asked who had influenced her. “She was a very good teacher and I wanted to be just like her.”
Sister Joseph Angela had no problem adjusting from the classroom to the administrative world. After serving almost 20 years as treasurer and business administrator for the Ursuline Sisters, she moved into her current role in the diocesan office at the pastoral center.
She says that being able to help people in the parishes do their jobs is the most rewarding aspect of her job. What is most challenging? Finding time to get it all done.
After saying she has no regrets from a religious life of 59 years dedicated to others, the country girl from LaRue County said, “I do think I’ve made a difference in the lives of the laity working in the parishes.”
In her long list of ministries, Sister Joseph Angela has, indeed, made a difference in many lives.
As her co-workers say, with enthusiasm and respect:
“Somehow, she always manages to get the job done.”
“It is amazing how she manages to find time to complete all of her many work and volunteer projects.”
“The lady wastes no time. She’s a great steward of her time and of her talents and abilities.”