Big Pockets, Chalkboard Writing, and More!!

By CMM Evelyn Fugazzi, SCN

As second oldest child, Rose recalls being a perpetual babysitter for her six brothers and four sisters.  It never occurred to her to question her job as babysitter because work was the expected way of life for her tenant farmer family.  Theirs was a family founded on sound values. Her parents were dedicated to Catholic education seeing that every one of their children completed 12 years.  Rose recalls cleaning the rooms at Bethlehem Academy to pay her high school tuition.  The Rileys might have seemed  poor  with their hand-me-down garments but this family was rich in so many ways. Their garden provided bountiful food for all. The family always knew how to have a good time especially when their relatives gathered  for wonderful celebrations. Laughter and merriment graced the day as cousins frolicked together!  Wagon beds  boasted specialty recipes from each family!

Rose shares her vocation story when she says,  “It was when I was in the third grade that ‘seed’  thoughts of becoming a Sister were firmly planted. I decided to become a Sister for two very important reasons!   If you were a Sister, you could write on the chalkboard and you also could have big pockets!”  She donned those pockets and more in 1955 when she received the habit and her new name, Sister Rose Bernard.  Rose recognizes a special landmark in her life, time spent with Mother Lucille Russell. She  greatly appreciated Mother’s level of presence and her recognition of each person as a special individual.

Rose has ministered for 45 years as teacher and/or principal.  All mission experiences, rural or urban  hold special blessings for her. She spent 15 years at Presentation Academy where she served as Assistant Dean, Dean of Students, and Spanish teacher.  Studying at Mexico City for four summers and chaperoning students on a trip to Madrid were delights to her. Her love of children and the opportunity to try and make a difference by challenging both faculty members and students to reach their full potential keeps Rose going.

Rose presently serves as principal of St. Augustine School in Lebanon, Ky. “I am blessed with an experienced dedicated faculty.  We work hand in hand and encourage each other to be creative in problem solving,” she says of her current position. “Involvement in the “Peace Builders’ Program” fosters a learning environment which activates students from Pre-school through Grade Eight to live out their Mission Statement Theme for the Year: ‘St. Augustine, The ‘Real’ School—Respect, Enthusiasm, Acceptance, Love!’  Unity through diversity is enhanced as more and more Hispanic students enroll at the school.”

Take a stroll past 632 Golf View Terrace St. in Lebanon and you will see not only Rose’s vegetable garden but glorious flowers including her favorite pink hyacinths surrounding the home.  Observe Rose basking in the fruits of her labor as she engages in working her cross word puzzles or reading mystery novels!  In addition to all her other activities, Rose is an avid promoter of the SCN Associate Program.

Editor’s Note: Rose invites all SCNs, their families, and friends to visit Lebanon  on the second Saturday of November for 4 p.m. Liturgy followed  by  St. Augustine’s annual home-cooked Turkey Dinner!  (From Bardstown, Hwy 150 toward Springfield, right onto Hwy 55 which becomes Spalding St. in Lebanon—You have arrived!)  See you there!

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