Prior to Mass that morning, Sisters Rose Theresa and Rose Karen discovered a hand-written message on a paper napkin, left behind in the Catholic Center kitchen by a parishioner. Many of the parishioners knew the sisters were going to be interviewed for the “Sisters in Ministry” feature and this parishioner wanted the interview to go well. The message on the napkin read:
My Sisters: The fans were turned off. Here is a list of things you do for the parish for your interview: You go visit the sick and homebound. Associates work. Food pantry work. Communion when Father isn’t here. Youth group work. CCD. Prayers. Calls when someone dies. Funeral work to the families. Meals you have given and love for all! Peace and love, Brenda.
The note was from Brenda Busick, an example of how much the parishioners care for their pastoral associates. Both were touched by the fact Brenda took the time to give them some tips for the interview and to wish them well.
When Sister Rose Theresa came to Greenville in 2000 to join her younger sister, it marked the fourth time they had served in joint ministries. They were at Saint William in Knottsville for four years, Sister Rose Karen serving as principal and Sister Rose Theresa as teacher; at Saint Mary Magdalene in Sorgho for three years, both as teachers; and at Precious Blood in Owensboro for two years, both as teachers.
They enjoy working together in and out of the classroom, “in and out of character.” For seven years – from 1998 to 2004 – they dressed as clowns to entertain poor children in Louisville.
Their sister, Theresa Johnson, invited them to be members of a clown group that she belonged to that ministers to the poor children of Louisville the Sunday before Christmas. Louisville car dealer Neil Hoffman sponsors the event each year. The sisters – and many other volunteers – dressed in clown face and clown costumes, entertained the children and presented them with gifts.
“It was overwhelming to see all the children,” says Sister Rose Karen. “It was their Christmas. It was enjoyable. It was something they dearly loved. It really touched our hearts. They gave away many wrapped gifts and hams. They also had a dinner and the clowns entertained along with others.”
Sister Rose Theresa says, “To see their little eyes brighten up was really special. The children were filled with awe and excitement…and I was too!”
Due to health reasons, the sisters had to end their Christmas clown adventure two years ago.
The last six years mark the longest Sisters Rose Theresa and Rose Karen have served together in the same ministry. “And I have loved every minute of it,” says Sister Rose Theresa. “We get along together. It’s been great!”
Says Sister Rose Karen, “We have a lot of fun together and we enjoy each other. Both of us are not in real good health so it gives us strength knowing someone’s going to be here. She’s taken care of me at times and I’ve taken care of her at times. It’s just good to have another person to witness with you. And she inspires me.”