Sisters of Charity and Associates Share Santa Maria Memories From the Past

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Associate and Santa Maria Board Member, Maureen Maxfield, recently asked Sisters of Charity and their associates for their recollections of Santa Maria over the years. Here are some quotes they shared!

Patmarie Bernard, SC: “I started volunteering with Santa Maria in 2006 in planning for the Women’s Health Fair and served on this Committee…I served at the Senior Wellness Clinic as an RN for approximately 15 years. I even did some ZOOM clinics during COVID. I served on the Board of Directors for 9 years…I continue to volunteer, and will always support and advocate for Santa Maria.”


Nancy Bick Clark, SC Associate: “Several Associates collected cleaning supplies for Santa Maria from mid-September through about October 9 for the special service project (from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati). Karen Martin coordinated the Associates. Pam Korte kept a bin on her porch in Madisonville for donations. Sue DiTullio kept a donation bin at Earth Connection for people to drop off items.”


Mary Bookser, SC: “When I was the head of the Service Learning program at the [Mount St. Joseph] University, I used to have students do various forms of service at Santa Maria. Occasionally it was long-term service, often it was a short-term service like helping with the pre-Christmas program, etc.”


Joyce Brehm, SC: “I worked at Santa Maria before I entered the Sisters of Charity in 1972…S. Kateri Maureen Koverman was going to open an office on Warsaw Avenue and she needed someone to be there when she was not…I have many stories of having worked for S. Kateri. She opened a Teen Lounge in the basement of the recreation center. The Teen Lounge was nothing more than some tables and chairs and carpet and a juke box. Part of my job became to be there once or twice a week in the evening. The purpose was to give teens a place to go to get off the street…During the summer months, on Friday evenings, I would go to the hill behind the Price Hill library. I could plug in a movie projector in the library, run an extension cord to the back. We hung a sheet between two trees. This was the movie screen.”


Carol Brockmeyer, SC: (as told to Maureen Maxfield) “Carol Brockmeyer’s mother, Antoinette Scalia Brockmeyer was taught by Sisters Blandina and Justina and her daughter, Carol Ann Brockmeyer was inspired by their dedication and joined the order, becoming Sr. Anthony Brockmeyer, SC.”


Cathy Colque, SC Associate: “I volunteered at Santa Maria when it was located at 13th and Republic. I am pretty sure I was in high school…I would go down once or twice a week and help with the children.“


Shirley Dix, SC: “I have fond memories of living at the Santa Maria Convent at 13th and Republic Streets in Over-the-Rhine around 1967-68, while I worked at Springer School for Special Needs. Many of the sisters living at the convent worked in different fields and they would tell stories about their ministries at the dinner table.”


Victoria Marie Forde, SC: “When I was a young sister, I was sent down to Santa Maria for my summer job, with a group of young sisters. This was before I made final vows. Santa Maria was located at 13th and Republic and I was sent to work with preschoolers. That’s what Santa Maria did since Blandina’s time – work with preschoolers!…Another day I asked the tots about a song they wanted to sing, thinking it would be a children’s song. Instead a little boy started singing ‘They say you are too young to be in love,’ the Nat King Cole song, which he likely learned from his mom. Years later, I served on Santa Maria’s Board.”


Mary Jo Mersman, SC Associate: “When I was in school at Seton a group of us would go to Santa Maria after school one day a week to help kids with homework and to play with them.”


And here is what Maureen Maxfield, SC Associate and Santa Maria Board Member had to say: “My first experience with Santa Maria was a Christmas party for the children in Santa Maria’s day care center located in a building on Seton High School’s campus in 1986 or so. It was hosted by the Mission Effectiveness Department of Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems, through S. Rosaleen Simpleman’s leadership. Staff were then invited to the 3rd floor convent at Seton HS for treats hosted by S. Roslyn Hafertepe, who lived there.” Maureen also volunteered as a tax preparer for Santa Maria clients over 12 years and added, “It was a wonderful service as there were several high-cost tax prep sites right across the street!”