After 70 Years

After 70 Years

Sr. Pat’s original letter, sent with a donation to her alma mater. Thank you Sister!

Thank you to Sister Patricia Kenney ’66, SND, (formerly Sr. Mary Michele – 1951-1966) for submitting this memoir of her time at Villa Madonna/Thomas More prompted upon reading “After 50 Years” in the spring Moreover. It truly is a testament to her perseverance in working to earn her bachelor’s degree!

I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame Feb. 2, 1951, and began at VMC, half of a semester. (I took) apologetes from Fr. Ryan, assistant at the Cathedral. He was out of class more than in due to funerals at the Cathedral. We read the book, presented our assignments – talks the immature Latin school boys made up as they spoke in front of the class. I had a philosophy professor present the math. We got as far as 3rd grade, which I knew already.

1966 Triskele grad photo.

As I continued for 14 years, Saturdays and summers, my last course to complete was PE, a state requirement. It was a correspondence course designing swimming pools and coaching teams by mail. As I paraded down Madison Avenue, my brother-in-law videoed me in cap and gown – a real victory of perseverance.

Our classrooms had been scattered around Covington. PE at La Salette, the library, a corner store (that) had been a saloon. I remember the day a man came in expecting it to be a saloon. Never a dull moment. Vines grew in and out the windows, a nature lover’s paradise.

It had started out a teachers’ college to form teachers by the three communities: Benedictines, CDPs, and Notre Dame sisters. But this year boys were accepted, men from the service. A great atmosphere, well balanced discussions with the male and female perspectives – very enriching. I got help from Sr. M. Albert in history, Sr. M. Casimira in chemistry, Sr. M. Julitta in biology. It was great. Having stretched out over 14 years, I kept up with the growing trends, took the practical subjects on Saturdays and took them in my classes as I went along. I took the more difficult classes in summers where I had more time to study. A well versified background. (I have) fond memories of Sr. Margaret Agnes in literature, Fr. Garvey in morality, Sr. Irmina in reading. (I went to) OLC (Our Lady of Cincinnati) for some courses when I taught in Ohio.

The 1951 Triskele gives testament to Sr. Pat’s first year – she’s in the second row, third from the left.

Additional stories and interviews with graduates from the three religious communities who provided the earliest support to Thomas More University as faculty and administrators, can be found here:

For the 2015 interview with Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup ’65, OSB (formerly Sr. M. Jane Wenstrup), Sr. Deborah Harmeling ’70, OSB, and Sr. Christa Kreinbrink ’71, OSB, CLICK HERE.

To listen to and read “A Matter of Habit: An Interview with Sr. Evelynn Reinke ’62, SND, and Sr. Mary Claire Engbergen ’67, SND,” submitted in 2016 CLICK HERE.

To read “The Recollections of Sr. Mansueta Martineau ’36, CDP,” (submitted in 2018) who at the time was a centenarian and the oldest alumna interviewed, CLICK HERE.

Sr. Margaret Mary Gough ’64, OSB, takes part in a retrospective interview in 2018 covering President Lyndon B. Johnson’s historic presence on campus for the re-naming of the University after moving from Covington to Crestview Hills. CLICK HERE to listen, look for Sister at the 2:40 mark.