Kentucky Standard reporter Kacie Goode recently met and interviewed Sisters who are 100 plus years old that live at the Motherhouse in Nazareth, Kentucky. The article appeared on the front page of the Kentucky Standard and featured photos of four Sisters who are 100 years of age or older – SCNs Evelyn Hurley (103), Mary Clement Pavlik (102) who is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Alice Teresa Wood (101), and John Ann Kulina (100).
Here is the article:
Age is just a number, even for Sister Evelyn Hurley, who said turning 103 this month hasn’t changed her a bit.
“I didn’t feel any different when I turned 100 than when I turned 50!” she said.
Sister Evelyn is among several sisters residing at Nazareth who have surpassed the 100-year milestone and remain active and loving life. As children, these women witnessed two world wars and gaining the right to vote. As teens and young adults, they lived through The Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement and many other notable moments in history. As women in their 100s, they carry on the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and a devotion to God, writing themselves into the community’s history.
Sister Evelyn was 17 when she took her vows in 1932. It was a decision the Boston, Mass., native hadn’t talked much about until it was made, and while it surprised her family and friends, they were supportive. She was taught by SCNs for most of her schooling, and she enjoyed education, which is where her ministry began.
She taught in Kentucky and eventually joined other SCNs in opening a school in Mississippi in 1947. Three years later, she returned to Boston, where she taught for 64 years as she lived at the St. Brigid Convent.
At 103, Sister Evelyn’s mind remains sharp. She recalls details of her former students, fellow sisters and family members, as well as moments in her life such as watching the man light the street lamps around her grandmother’s home or her dad being offered a ride on a small airplane when she was in high school. Her memory is something fellow SCNs attribute to her genuine interest in people, and she’s quick to recall moments many others have forgotten.
When Sister Evelyn came to Nazareth, there was a college and academy where students learned and the majority of jobs were performed by SCNs. The sisters were also required to wear habits, which became optional after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
Outside of Nazareth, Sister Evelyn has witnessed other changes take place in the communities around her. Politics and the way people interact with one another is a big change that comes to mind.
“My father was a politician a number of years, and he was the happiest person when he could help people” in need, she said. And the neighbors would correct other children they saw misbehaving. “Everyone was just so interested in everybody else and now, I don’t know. You could live in a neighborhood now and not even know your next-door neighbor.”
But that interest in other people and a love of community is something the sister hasn’t lost. She spends most of her day on the phone or writing letters to catch up with friends and family. She retired from Boston to return to the Nazareth Motherhouse in 2014, and in making Nazareth her home, she enjoys its people and activities.
“There’s always something going on,” she said.
But she makes a trip back to Boston once a year and flies alone. Her next trip is planned for mid-April.
“I’m not sure if there will be another visit after this,” she said, but God has been good to her in her health and in everyday encounters.
When asked what the secret to a long happy life is, Sister Evelyn said, “to be content with whatever comes your way,” adding, “I think all of our lives are shaped by the people we come in contact with.”
Joining Sister Evelyn as a Nazareth centenarian, Sister John Ann Kulina and Sister Alice Teresa have also been with Nazareth for most of their lives.
Sister John Ann turns 101 next month. She was left to care for her seven siblings at 15 after her mother passed away. She took on the cooking, washing and running of the home and kids, keeping the family together as they struggled to make ends meet. At 28, she felt called to join the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, making her first vows in March of 1948.
While at Nazareth, Sister John Ann worked in the kitchen, helping to feed the sisters, lay people and students of the academy and college. Nearly 40 years and several ministries later, she was appointed the main sacristan, a position she held until recently.
Like Sister John Ann, Sister Alice Teresa also spent time in Nazareth’s kitchen. Unlike Sister John Ann, however, Sister Alice Teresa didn’t have the experience of a homemaker.
“I had four older sisters, so I didn’t have to do anything in the house. They put me on the farm,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about cooking, and I had to carry a cookbook around with me.”
It’s something she and other sisters still laugh about today.
Sister Alice Teresa, who turned 101 in October, took vows as a teenager in 1935. Over the years she served as a teacher, in supervisory and management positions, and in community service and housekeeping positions before retiring in 2000. Though retired, Sister Alice Teresa still spends much of her day crocheting. She makes smaller items such as dish towels, as well as seasonal items, scarves and baby afghans. It’s a skill she learned from watching her sister, and she sells the items to support SCN missions.
“They sell like hotcakes,” she said.
As Women’s History Month wraps up, history lives on through the memories and experiences of women such as Sisters Evelyn, John Ann and Alice Teresa.
“We’ve seen a lot, good and bad,” Sister Evelyn said.
To view the article on the internet with photos, here is the link: http://www.kystandard.com/content/young-heart