Camille Panich, SCN, principal at Vincentian Academy in Pittsburgh, Pa., spoke about Antoinette Kostelnik, SCN, and the Women of Courage Award that she received on April 27, 2012.
It is certainly appropriate that the first Women of Courage Award be presented to Sister Antoinette Kostelnik, SCN. Sister Antoinette has indeed kept our heritage alive and continued the legacy of Vincentian Academy while furthering the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Sister herself is a Vincentian graduate from the days when it was an all girls’ boarding school. She returned to teach at Vincentian in 1978 just a few years after the school had become co-ed.
Sister Antoinette began her teaching career 4 years before I was born, yet there have been many days, even during this current academic year, which was her 67th year of teaching, when I was put to shame by her energy and enthusiasm.
Sister’s teaching ministry included a number of years in various Catholic grade schools in the Pittsburgh and Greensburg dioceses as well as a few years in Missouri. Then after some years at Bishop Boyle High School in Homestead she came back to Vincentian. Throughout her career in all of those places, her goal was to teach her students the faith and how it applies to their present lives and in the future for which she so lovingly prepared them.
Sister has always seen the good in young people, helping them to realize their potential for holiness, greatness, and love. I remember that Sister Antoinette has said that she looks forward to one day meeting her students in God’s Kingdom where they will see Him face to face, but I know that there are literally thousands of Sister Antoinette’s students who have seen the face of God when they interact with her.
It takes a woman of courage to lead young people on their journey of faith, to help them learn how to respond with generous hearts as they build character and learn to make sound moral decisions. Sister Antoinette Kostelnik is definitely a woman of great courage in today’s world and it is a great pleasure to present the Women of Courage award to her this evening. Congratulations Sister!
The Women of Courage Award captures the richness of our roots as an all-girls school and the courage of two women and their companions living in different centuries whose lives intersected along the Ohio River between Pittsburgh PA and Louisville, KY with the merger of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity into the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in November 2008.
Mother Emerentiana Handlovits and her companions were missioned in 1902 from Szatmar, Romania to Braddock, PA to minister to the Slovak immigrants. Mother Emerentiana became the first Provincial Superior of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity because she was the first to volunteer, an act of great courage to travel to a distant land in response to an expressed need of the people for education in their native language.
Mother Catherine Spalding migrated as a young girl with a group of Catholic families from southern MD to Bardstown KY. At the young age of 19 she became the first elected superior of the small band of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth founded in 1812. She too courageously embarked on an effort to respond to the educational needs of her time.
The lives of these women of courage, along with the graduates of our school, inspire us to continue the mission of excellence in education handed down through the centuries in a powerful blending of the charism of charity.
It is our hope that Women of Courage will become a prestigious award not only because of the legacy of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, not only as a powerful reminder of our roots as an all-girls school, but also because of the individuals who will receive the award because they give life to the legacy and spirit it represents.
May 01, 2012 | Ministry Fund
YOU ARE INVITED
to visit the SCN Ministry Fair, Saturday, May 12, at O'Connell Hall, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Exhibits will feature displays from 15 non-congregational groups, as well from our congregational ministries. There will be items for sale, such as quilts and quilted gifts, bath and body products, fresh milk and eggs. Beginning at 4 p.m., presentations by three ministries will be held in the Art Gallery and Drawing Room:
- Thistle Farms - A woman telling her story of transformation from the brutality of the streets;
- Ministry Formation Program, the only program of its kind in the States, training Catholic deaf adults to become lay leaders;
- Plowshares Farm Center for Education and Spirituality, exploring the evolution of our kinship with the Earth
When: Saturday, May 12
Where: O'Connell Hall
Time: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m. in St. Vincent Church, the Tutwiler Community Education Center will offer an hour of "Voices from the Heart of the Mississippi Delta" in song and poetry reading.
View the video on Vimeo here.
Vincentian Academy celebrates 80 years of history this year. We remember that we are connected to a world-wide ministry of providing education to thousands of young people so that they can develop to their fullest potential.
St. Vincent de Paul, patron of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and for whom the school is named reminded the Daughters of Charity in 17th century France that, “Grace has its moments.” This moment of grace celebrating 80 years of educational excellence at Vincentian Academy is one of many graced moments in the 200 year history of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.
We indeed hold a precious legacy as we stand on the shoulders of giants. We remember the first Vincentian Sisters of Charity who arrived in the U. S. to provide education to the Slovak immigrants in Braddock. After their long journey they arrived there only to find that the housing promised them had not been arranged. They spent their first nights with the Sisters of Mercy.
We remember the first Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who began their community at St. Thomas, Kentucky in a log cabin.
These early Sisters did not let circumstances keep them from their commitment to provide education to those in need. Little did they imagine that their beginning ministries would evolve into a worldwide mission. They planted the seeds and we continue to reap the harvest. As we walk in their footsteps we are inspired to continue this mission in our time.
Ephesians 5:20 calls us to “Give thanks to God always and for everything.” Knowing that without God we could do nothing, let us give thanks for these 80 years of ministry at Vincentian Academy and for God’s continued blessing on our future.
Sister Sangeeta Ayithamattam, SCN Provincial, received the three vibrant candidates, Geeta Beng, Punam Saroj Kandir, and Jyothsna George into the pre-novitiate program during a Eucharistic celebration at Nazareth Convent, Ranchi on April 28.
Sister Philomena Kottoor, SCN, the newly elected vice-provincial for the North and many other Sisters were present for the Eucharist.
Congratulations and blessings to you, Geeta, Jyothsna, and Punam as you begin your life journey to become SCNs. May our patron Saint, Vincent de Paul, our founders, Bishop David and Mother Catherine Spalding, and all the other SCN saints in heaven intercede for you as you tread the difficult path of committing yourself fully to SCN way of life.
Suchita Kullu, SCN