In brief, spring 2013

♦ Sister Karen Elliott knew she was nominated for the first annual Outstanding Educator of the Year Award at Mercy College of Northwestern Ohio, but she didn’t think she had a chance of winning because her students have said she is a “tough” professor.

She was wrong.

Sister Karen, who has been chairperson and associate professor of religious studies at the Toledo-based school since 2004, was given the award at a ceremony in March.

“To be honored the first time out of the entire faculty is very humbling. It’s both humbling and affirming,” she said. “It was the only faculty-specific award that was given. It was very meaningful to me because it was totally student-driven.”

Known for her service trips to Guatemala and classroom prayer, Sister Karen said she teaches her students about religion and about life. That resonates with the students, as reflected on teacher evaluations Sister Karen receives.

It’s also important students know she cares about them and their success. It’s part of her charism as a Precious Blood Sister and follows the example of Maria Anna Brunner, who founded the Sisters of the Precious Blood.

“It’s just helping students be aware of God’s presence,” she said. “I’ve been told I’m a tough teacher, but (students) have also said I make them think. To me, theology is really about helping people connect the dots between the sacred and the ordinary. That’s what I help them do.”

♦ The Sisters of the Precious Blood were honored as Trailblazers by the Christian Women’s Coalition in Dayton at a reception March 23. The coalition recognizes older adults who have made a significant impact on the lives of others.

♦ Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley recently gave an appreciation award to the Precious Blood Sisters in recognition of the community’s financial contributions to the agency. In addition to providing financial assistance to the agency, Sister Florence Seifert (M. Antonine) is an incoming member of the agency’s board of trustees; Sister Arlene Hirsch (Marie Andre) volunteers at the CSSMV’s food pantry and Erma House; and Sister Nancy Raley (M. Alan) volunteers in the food pantry and development office.

♦ The Magnificat Cluster of Precious Blood Sisters made a monetary Christmas donation to a Coldwater family whose 3-year-old son was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome MPS II. The incurable disease inhibits the body’s cells to perform properly and may cause progressive damage.

The eight Sisters who make up the cluster gather each Christmas for prayer, dinner and a social time. Instead of purchasing gifts for each other, the Sisters donate money to someone in need of assistance. This was the fifth year the cluster has donated funds.