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Each year the Diocese of Covington Office of Catechesis and Evangelization recognizes exemplary parish and school catechists.
Congratulations to our Villa alums, Tina, Sr. Eileen and Susan, that were the recipients of this award:
Tina Weidner Klare '77
Tina Weidner Klare '77 is a product of diocesan schools, attending St. Pius X School, Edgewood, Villa Madonna Academy high school and Thomas More University. In fall 2000 she answered God’s call in becoming the youth minister at St. Joseph Parish, Crescent Springs, which was also her parish. Working with youth is and will always be dear to her heart. She accepted her current role as coordinator of Religious Education after the retirement of her friend and mentor Bonnie Kovacic. Mrs. Klare’s ministerial career has been surrounded by supportive pastors, co-workers and volunteers in both the parish and diocesan level. She has also been abundantly blessed with three children, Joey '04 (Rohan), Jacob '06, Sarah '09 (Mark) Nie and a new granddaughter.
Sr. Eileen O'Connell '84
Sister Eileen O’Connell '86 is a lifelong member of the Diocese of Covington. After attending Blessed Sacrament School, Ft. Mitchell, and Villa Madonna Academy High School, her love of the Benedictine Sisters was solidified. After graduating from NKU with a degree in marketing she felt called to religious life and joined the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery in 1991. While pursuing her master’s in theology from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1994, she began as campus minister at Villa Madonna Academy. At VMA, Sister Eileen has been instrumental in the welcoming of students of all faiths to Villa. Her classes embrace those students as she shares with them the tenets of our faith. Villa has a culture rich in students of all religions, especially its international students from China, and all are welcomed in the spirit of Jesus. Religion class with Sister Eileen is an active class and an opportunity for many teachers to collaborate as a team. The art teacher works with Sister Eileen’s students as they create Benedictine stained glass windows. The English teachers work with Sister Eileen as the students write original prayers. The music teacher works with Sister Eileen as students learn Gregorian chants. Sister Eileen is a hands-on person, one who is on the frontlines of work to be done. She inspires others to be their best. She encourages students to stretch outside their comfort zone and try something new. She teaches the students to celebrate their faith, to work for social justice, and to forge a new path of faithfulness. She is a person of integrity and fairness. She “listens with the ear of the heart” and invites students to do the same. Her sense of humor is heartwarming, and her love of God and neighbor inspires hope in all who meet her.
Susan Landwehr Stewart '86
Susan Landwehr Stewart '86 was hired as director of Youth Ministry at St. Timothy Parish, Union, shortly after she married (33 years ago). Her roles in ministry have changed over the years, but she said that she has been blessed to work with many “amazing youth leaders” on both the parish level as well as the diocesan level. Over the years Mrs. Stewart has also been involved with many youth retreat ministries. For the past six years she has served as director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Alexandria. “When you work with young people it is often the planting of seeds and the cultivation of soil,” Mrs. Stewart said. “Youth Ministry is not a ministry where you always get to see the fruits of the labor, it is a labor of love, hope, trust and letting go. When we are able, years later, to reconnect and celebrate their stories that is a pure gift.” Mrs. Stewart said that her greatest accomplishment is being a wife and the mom of eight children. “Youth Ministry is a 24/7 job and there have been sacrifices along the way,” she said. “The flip side is that my children grew up surrounded by young people of faith, many of whom had a positive impact on their lives. I have been richly blessed in that aspect over the years. Youth Ministry thrives where young people feel loved, accepted and heard. St. Mary Parish is one of those places. I am so very grateful that this is where I have been called to serve.”