Sister Anne Schulz has known Ohio State Sen. Bill Coley for years and they often see each other over the holidays, so it wasn’t unusual when the senator phoned her in early December.
The reason for the call, though, was surprising. He wanted to know if she would offer a prayer during an opening session of the senate at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. Sister Anne, principal at Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School in Sen. Coley’s district, had never been to the Statehouse or, even, to Columbus. She appeared before the senate on Dec. 7.
“He asked if I would do it,” she said. “It was really an honor.”
She’s the only women to lead the senate prayer in anyone’s memory.
While waiting in the senator’s office, Sister Anne got a look at the busy activity in the state capital. People were discussing issues and meeting. A delegation from Israel was there.
“I was amazed at how much goes on,” Sister Anne said. “I was just floored by it.”
In her prayer she asked God that in the senate deliberations the body is wise to the decisions it makes and for insight to make decisions that reflect what is right and good. She asked God to bless the senators’ ideas and projects, and the humility to seek God’s will.
Sen. Coley said Sister Anne brought a peaceful presence to the senate at a time when nerves fray and tempers flare in the chamber.
“I don’t think she’s ever met a stranger,” he said. “She just has that aura about her all the time. It’s calming, but there’s a resolution about getting things done. She’s one of the keystones of my community.”
Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School was founded by a small group of parents seeking a Catholic education for their children. The school opened in 1998 in a church basement with 19 kindergartners. Today the school has nearly 500 students in grades K-8. Sister Anne was the first employee and has been principal since the school’s opening.
Sen. Coley and his wife, Carolyn, have been supporters of the school for years.
“He and his wife come every year to help the (fourth grade) kids with Ohio history,” Sister Anne said. “They make a big thing out of it. He loves our school.”
The senator also meets the fourth grade classes in Columbus on a field trip to the Statehouse.
“I really like to be around people who have a passion for life and a passion for excellence and that sums up everyone involved in Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School,” Coley said. “Everyone is passionate about what they are doing and they work together to get better every day.”
Story by Dave Eck