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15 Sisters of the Incarnate Word celebrate jubilees

Aug. 5, 2011 at 3:05 a.m.

Celebrating 75 and 70 Years of Religious Profession, from left, are Sister John Hayden, 75 years; Sister Carmelita Casso, 70 years; and Sister Mary Grace Korenek, 70 years.

The Most Rev. David Fellhauer, Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria, officiated at a 2 p.m. Mass on July 9 and July 10 honoring sisters who celebrated anniversaries of their religious professions. Also in attendance and concelebrating at the Masses were Bishop Bernard Popp, Bishop Charles Grahmann, the Rev. Phi Nguyen, chaplain, the Rev. Bob Knippenberg, the Rev. Clint Ressler, the Rev. Joe Hybner, the Rev. Michael Lyons, The Rev. Gary Janak, the Rev. Jose DeLa Rosa, the Rev. John Peters and the Rev. Ted Haag. Janak was homilist for the July 9 Mass and Nguyen served as master of ceremonies at both events.

Eight nuns were honored at the July 10 Mass. The honorees were:

75 years - Sister M. John Hayden; 70 years - Sister Mary Grace Korenek and Sister M. Carmelita Casso; 60 years - Sister M. Adriana Cernoch, Sister Marietta Hajdik, Sister Rosemary Leopold, Sister Anna Marie Popp and Sister M. Ronalda Peltier.

Together the sisters contributed a total of 515 years of service to the church in ministries of education, administration, health care and pastoral services.

Seven sisters were honored at the July 9 Mass celebrating the 50th anniversary of their religious profession. The honorees were: Sister M. Colette Kouba, Sister M. Charlene Machala, Sister M. Gregoria Berger, Sister M. Clementine Henke, Sister Lois Marie Etzler, Sister M. Paschaline Kutac and Sister M. Andrea Hubnik.

Together they have contributed a total of 350 years of service to the church in ministries of education, administration, health care and pastoral services.

Sister M. John Hayden, daughter of the late Robert Joseph and Emma Nocker Hayden, was born in San Antonio. She attended St. Leo School and graduated from Blessed Sacrament Academy. Hayden entered the postulancy at Blessed Sacrament Convent on June 18, 1934; received the habit on Feb. 22, 1935; and pronounced first vows on Feb. 23, 1936. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio with a major in English and a minor in Spanish.

During her years as a professed member of the congregation, Hayden taught at Blessed Sacrament Academy in San Antonio, and ministered as a teacher and principal at Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville and Immaculate Conception School in Sealy. When she retired from full-time active teaching, she assisted in the Incarnate Word Convent gift shop and helped with household chores. Hayden lives in the IWC Infirmary where she ministers in the Apostolate of Prayer and Suffering and spends time with her sister, Sister Jeanne de Matel.

Sister Mary Grace Korenek, daughter of the late William and Albina Samohyl Korenek, was born in Plum. She attended St. Jerome Grade School, public high schools and graduated from St. Ludmila Academy. Korenek entered the postulancy at St. Ludmila Convent in Shiner on June 25, 1939; received the habit at Nazareth Convent in Victoria on June 10, 1940; and pronounced first vows on June 11, 1941. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and a minor in Latin from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

During her years of ministry as a professed sister, she taught at Nazareth Academy, St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner, St. Edward School in Dubina and St. Mary School in Nada. Korenek also did library work in Shiner and taught religion classes in Moulton, Flatonia and Praha. When stationed in Ganado, she visited the home-bound, assisted with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes and coordinated prayer groups. Korenek lives in the IWC Infirmary, ministering in the Apostolate of Prayer and Suffering.

Sister M. Carmelita Casso, daughter of the late Jesse and Luisa Diaz Casso, was born in San Antonio. After she graduated from Blessed Sacrament Academy, she entered the postulancy at Blessed Sacrament Convent in San Antonio on Sept. 9, 1939; received the habit at Nazareth Convent in Victoria on June 10, 1940; and pronounced her first vows on June 11, 1941. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and a minor in Spanish from Incarnate Word College and a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Houston. Casso then attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, from which she earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology.

During the early years of her ministry, Casso taught at the grade school level in Shiner, Loire, San Marcos, Weimar, Selma, Cuero and Nazareth Academy. She taught high school classes at Blessed Sacrament Academy and then was appointed secretary general of the congregation for six years. From 1982 until 2010, she lived in Rome, Italy and Lyons, France, while translating the French writings of order foundress, Mother Jeanne Chezard de Matel, into English, and working on the Cause toward the Canonization of the foundress. Casso lives at the convent and is translating, from Spanish to English, studies on the Matelian Spirituality included at the Pontifical University of Mexico.

Sister M. Adriana Cernoch, daughter of the late Vladimir and Annie Mazoch Cernoch, was born in Holman. Cernoch attended Pecan Public Grade School and graduated from Nazareth Academy. She entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Nov. 27, 1949; received the habit on Sept. 3, 1950; and pronounced her first vows on Sept. 4, 1951. Cernoch received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and a minor in Latin from Incarnate Word College.

During her years of ministry, she served at Sacred Heart School in Crosby, Assumption School in Ganado, St. Leo and Blessed Sacrament Academy in San Antonio, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, St. Mary School in Nada, Our Lady of Victory in Victoria, Sacred Heart School in La Grange and St. Patrick School in Dallas. Cernoch lives at the convent and assists in answering the phone and various household duties. Her hobbies include crocheting, reading and playing cards.

Sister Marietta Hajdik, daughter of the late Louis and Emiliy Orsak Hajdik, was born in Sealy. She is one of seven children. Her sister, Sister Carola, followed her into the IWBS Congregation. Hajdik attended public schools and Immaculate Conception School in Sealy and graduated from Nazareth Academy. She entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Nov. 27, 1949; received the habit on Sept. 3, 1950; and pronounced her first vows on Sept. 4, 1951. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and a Master of Education, majoring in educational administration from Southwest Texas State University.

Hajdik's years of ministry included serving at St. Michael School in Weimar, Sacred Heart School in La Grange, St. Agnes School and Blessed Sacrament School in San Antonio, St. Ludmila Academy and St. Paul High School in Shiner, Our Lady of Victory School and Nazareth Academy in Victoria, and Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville. She assisted in parish ministry at St. Leo's Church in San Antonio and served as director of religious education and the RCIA program at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Ganado for 18 years. Hajdik lives at the convent and is director of the Sisters in the Annual Vows program.

Sister Rosemary Leopold, daughter of the late Leo and Otillia Gerbermann Leopold, was born in Nada. She attended St. Mary School in Nada, Garwood Public School and graduated from Nazareth Academy. Leopold followed her sister, Sister Alfreda, when she entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Nov. 27, 1949; received the habit on Sept. 3, 1950; and made first profession of vows on Sept. 4, 1951. Leopold earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in Spanish and a Master of Arts degree majoring in education and a minor in English from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

She ministered in Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Selma, St. Leo School in San Antonio, Sacred Heart School in La Grange, Holy Cross School and St. Patrick School in Dallas, Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville, Sacred Heart School in Crosby, and St. Michael's School in Cuero.

Sister Anna Marie Popp, daughter of the late Ferdinand and Anna Staff Popp, was born in Nada. Popp attended school in Nada before entering the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Nov. 27, 1949; received the habit on Sept. 3, 1950; and pronounced her first vows on Sept. 4, 1951. Popp earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and a Master of Science, majoring in math from the University of Notre Dame.

Popp ministered at Immaculate Conception School in Sealy, St. Michael School in Weimar, Holy Cross School in East Bernard, Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Falls City Public School, Sacred Heart School in Floresville and St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner. She has served as assistant in the treasurer's office of the congregation for the last 25 years.

Popp's brother, Bishop Bernard Popp, of San Antonio, and her sister, Sister Adelaide at IWC, joined other family members in celebrating the occasion.

Sister M. Ronalda Peltier, daughter of the late Ronald and Blondina Imhauser Peltier, was born in Danbury. She attended Danbury Public School and graduated from Nazareth Academy. Peltier entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Nov. 27, 1949; received the habit on Sept. 3, 1950; and pronounced her first vows on Sept. 4, 1951. She was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio. Peltier received her certification as a registered nurse shortly after that.

In her early years of ministry after profession, Peltier taught at Sacred Heart School in Crosby, Holy Cross School in East Bernard, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, St. Michael's School in Cuero and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Selma. After eight years of teaching, she entered the nursing program at Incarnate Word College. Peltier ministered at Huth Memorial Hospital in Yoakum and Mercy Hospital in Jourdanton. She was an administrator in Cuero Community Hospital and then in Huth Memorial Hospital in Yoakum. She was health care director at IWC for two years before returning to Jourdanton, where she became the director and instructor of the LVN School. She later served as director and instructor of the Victoria College LVN Program in Gonzales at Warm Springs Hospital.

From 1989 to 2006, Peltier served on the General Council of the Congregation and assisted in various duties at IWC where she now lives, using her gifts in nursing as a consultant.

Sister M. Colette Kouba, daughter of the late Benjamin and Bessie Matula Kouba, was born in Hallettsville. She attended Thompson Public School and Sacred Heart Grade School and Nazareth Academy from which she graduated. Kouba entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and pronounced her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and received certification in library science from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

During her years as a professed sister of the congregation, Kouba ministered as an elementary teacher in Sacred Heart School in Crosby, St. Agnes School and St. Leo School in San Antonio, Our Lady of Victory School in Victoria and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Selma. After receiving certification in library science, she became a part-time librarian at St. Ludmila School in Shiner. She now ministers at Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville where she is the elementary librarian and is involved in the Title I Reading Program.

Sister M. Charlene Machala, daughter of Stanley and Clara Gregory Machala, was born in Baytown. She attended Sacred Heart School in Crosby and received her high school education at Nazareth Academy. Machala entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and pronounced her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in English from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

She then attended St. Thomas University in Houston and was awarded a Masters of Religious Education.

During her years as a professed member of the congregation, Machala ministered at St. Agnes School and St. Leo School in San Antonio, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, Our Lady of Victory School and Nazareth Academy in Victoria, Holy Cross School in Bay City, Falls City public School, Mary Immaculate School in Dallas, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Selma, and St. Michael School in Weimar. For the past two years, she has been assigned to Incarnate Word Convent, where she ministers as chauffeur for those in health care and others, and assists in the IWC Gift Shop. She also plans outings for the sisters.

Sister M. Gregoria Berger, daughter of the late Alfred and Helen Popp Berger, was born in Garwood. She received her grade school education at St. Mary School in Nada and then attended Nazareth Academy where she received her high school diploma. Berger entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and made first profession of vows on Aug. 6, 1961. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in math and a minor in biology from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio and took courses to become a certified librarian.

During her 50 years of profession, Berger ministered at St. Michael School in Weimar, St. Leo School in San Antonio, Nazareth Academy and Our Lady of Victory School in Victoria, and St. Michael's School in Cuero. In 1985, she was appointed treasurer for Nazareth Academy and Convent, a position she held until 2004. After taking a semester sabbatical, Berger took on the management of the IWC Gift Shop. Some of her favorite pastime activities are sewing and arts and crafts.

Sister M. Clementine Henke, daughter to the late Leo and Viola Klekar Henke, was born in Hallettsville. She attended Sacred Heart Grade School in Hallettsville and then studied at Nazareth Academy where she received her high school diploma. She entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and made her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. Henke attended Incarnate Word College in San Antonio where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in English. She later attended St. Thomas University in Houston where she received a Masters in Religious Education.

During her 50 years of religious profession, Henke taught in Holy Cross School in Bay City, Our Lady of Victory School in Victoria, Sacred Heart School in Crosby, Sacred Heart School in Floresville, St. Michael School in Weimar, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Selma, where she now teaches second grade.

Sister Lois Marie Etzler, daughter of the late Joseph and Helen Henke Etzler, was born in Hallettsville. She attended Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville for all 12 grades. Etzler entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and pronounced her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in English from Sacred Heart Dominican College in Houston. Etzler earned additional college credits at Southwest Texas State University and Oblate School of Theology.

During her years of ministry in the classroom, she served at Sacred Heart School in La Grange, St. Ludmila Academy in Shiner, St. Mary School in Nada, St. John School in San Antonio, Holy Cross School in Bay City, Sacred Heart School in Crosby, St. Michael's School in Cuero and Sacred Heart School in Hallettsville. She also was director of religious education at St. Agnes Church in Edna for two years and served as superior of Incarnate Word Convent for seven and a half years. Etzler ministers at Nazareth Academy as office manager.

Sister M. Paschaline Kutac, daughter of the late Louis and Annie Marie Honc Kutac, was born in Shiner. She went to Beasley Public School and Shiner Public School before transferring to St. Ludmila Academy for the eighth grade and high school. After doing clerical work at Burns Hospital in Cuero for a year, Kutac entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 5, 1960; and pronounced her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. Kutac earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.

During her years of ministry, she served at the Community Hospital in Cuero as surgical and medical nurse and director of nurses. Kutac was assigned to Huth Memorial Hospital in Yoakum where she continued nursing and was director of nurses for three years. Then, she was appointed director and instructor of the Licensed Vocational Nurse program affiliated with The Victoria College. Kutac has been director of the Health Care Center of Incarnate Word Convent for the past 15 years. When she finds the time, she works with the flowers that she grows to enhance the altars in the Health Care.

Sister M. Andrea Hubnik, daughter of the late August and Mary Sevcik Hubnik, was born in Buckholts. She attended the Marak Public School and St. Mary Catholic School in Marak and completed the eighth grade at Ada Henderson School and earned her high school diploma from C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron. Hubnik entered the postulancy at Nazareth Convent on Sept. 8, 1959; received the habit on Aug. 4, 1960; and pronounced her first vows on Aug. 6, 1961. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in business education from Sacred Heart Dominican College in Houston and her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Houston at Victoria.

Hubnik ministered in the elementary grades at Holy Cross School in East Bernard and Holy Cross School in Bay City. She then taught business courses on the high school level at Sacred Heart High School in Hallettsville, Nazareth Academy in Victoria and Falls City High School in Falls City. She assisted the treasurer of the congregation for three years and served as directress of formation for two years before being appointed secretary general for 18 years. She has served in the business office of the congregation as treasurer general for the past 11 years.

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