Sunday, August 17, 2003

Some good news

Sister of Charity reaches 100 years

Allen Howard

Sitting in her wheelchair, Sister Mary Lea Mueller held court for two hours Wednesday at Mother Margaret Hall with about 150 of her friends and co-workers.

The event was one of a long list of milestones for this sister, who decided she wanted to be a Sister of Charity 90 years ago. This was her 100th birthday.

"She is a remarkable woman,'' said Jean Kotzbauer, director of planned giving at the College of Mount St. Joseph. "This was a beautiful tribute to a person who has done so much for so many.''

Kotzbauer is one of the successors of Sister Mary Lea.

[IMAGE] Two nieces, Frances Hornikel (left) and Nancy Carrier, joined Sister Mary Lea Mueller on her 100th birthday.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |
"We are continuing the outreach programs she started here when she was vice president of development and college relations,'' Kotzbauer said.

Sister Jean, who shies away from publicity, told her friends that she attributed her longevity to two things: "Simple things and a simple life.''

Born in Lawrenceburg, Ind., in 1903, she entered the Sisters of Charity in 1927.

After earning a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Seton Hill College, Greensburg, Pa, she became a secondary teacher at Mount St. Joseph Academy, Delhi Township, from 1927-'38.

She taught at Seton High School from 1938-'40. Sister Jean earned a master's in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend in 1939.

She joined the faculty at the College of Mount Joseph and taught sociology for 20 years.

She became the first alumni director in 1941. In 1961, she was named president of development and college relations and held the position for 17 years.

She told her friends: "I have always had a love for this college.''

On her 90th birthday, she was surrounded by Mount graduates and given a proclamation, proclaiming that day "Sister Mary Lea Mueller Day.''

The college's alumni association has established the Sister Mary Lea Mueller Human Service Award, presented annually to a Mount graduate who exemplifies qualities of human service.

The college awarded her an honorary doctorate in May 1994.

Allen Howard's "Some Good News'' column runs daily. If you have suggestions about outstanding achievements, or people who are uplifting to the Tristate, let him know at 768-8362, at or by fax at 768-8340.

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