Catholic Sisters Week – Art Memories

Catholic Sisters Week shines a light on the spirituality, mission, and community building of women religious.

Fifty-two weeks a year women religious stand with the poor and immigrants, teach children, fight injustice, heal the sick, share spirituality, empower women, defend the planet, promote peace, create community, offer hope.

But for one week, March 8-14, we will shine the spotlight on stories of the Notre Dame Sisters work as educators. Today’s blog focuses on stories where Sisters taught creativity and art.

Kathryn Singer was educated at St. Wenceslaus Grade School in Wahoo, NE.  

“Since going out for recess was not an option in the winter, Sister Margaret Pustka made sure we learned more than just reading, writing and math.  She taught us other life skills like how to create something beautiful with our hands.  We would spend our recess time learning to crochet which we proudly displayed to our parents at parent/teacher meeting time.  I still have one of the doilies that I can proudly say I made in the 5th Grade!”

Gayle (Berglund) Kuhlman, a 1973 Notre Dame Academy graduate, studied art in high school with Sr. Margaret Proskovec.

Creativity was always encouraged at  Notre Dame! Memories of my high school years will always be dear to my heart. Loving art and great conversation made the art room my favorite place to be! Sister Margaret was passionate about art and loved sharing her passion with her students.  Sr Margaret was a great artist herself but could successfully teach all levels of art ability. Little did I know I would use so many of the fundamentals I learned in her art classes throughout my career and life.  

Gayle didn’t have much time for art as she grew into an adult – a career, children, caring for elderly family members, etc. Years later, she began painting again.

“It took time and I am still learning something new every day about art. I remembered so much I learned from Sr Margaret and utilize it with every painting! I now participate in many art shows and show my art at the Noyes Art Gallery in Lincoln Nebraska. “

Rita Woockman fondly remembers Sr. Ernestine Havlovic and how she would help students through difficult times, and truly cared about each individual student and their education.

“Sr. Ernestine always gave a Nativity ornament for a gift at Christmas. Forty-two years later, I still have them and hang at least one on our tree each year,” Rita said.

She also remembered Sr. Consolata Sonka, noting that she is watching us from above. “ She was a talented artist. I loved having art with her and she also helped with extra needs.”

Allan Richard Hach remembers the first comments on his art came from a Notre Dame Sister. Sr. Mary Teresita noticed his artwork while doodling in his Kindegarten class at St Lumilas in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1953. 

“Nice,..but not in this venue,..Allan,”  Sr. Mary Teresita said, making him re-do his paper, doodle-free.

He learned not to doodle on his homework, but learned he could make people smile with his cartoons as well. 

Allan continues to doodle to this day, and while caring for his mother he created cartoons about, life, hospice, and death. “When my Mother passed in 2011, my cartoons went into books given to her nursing home and to Mercy Hospice, and my daughter. I am grateful for my first critics.”

We will be sharing more stories to celebrate Catholic Sisters Week. Feel free to send your memories to for us to preserve and share.