Five Notre Dame Sisters celebrate jubilees; 320 years of religious service across the Midwest between them

Five Notre Dame Sisters with 320 years of religious service between them, are celebrating jubilees this year: Sr. Margaret Hickey, Notre Dame Sisters Provincial President is celebrating 60 years along with Sr. Irene Dvorak, ND, and Sr. Corona Humpal, ND. Sr. Ernestine Havlovic, ND, and Sr Joan Polak, ND, are celebrating 70 years. We will be releasing blog posts about each individual Sister in the coming weeks.

Sr. Ernestine Havlovic, ND

Generations across Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas know Sr. Ernestine . She has been a beloved teacher at nine schools and a principal at five schools across three states — that’s 51 years of teaching and 31 years as a principal. Two incredible achievements were her tenures from 1978-1994 as principal and teacher at Blessed John Neumann, Clarkson, Nebraska, and from 1994-2002 as a teacher at St. John Nepomucene, Weston, Nebraska.

Sr. Joan Polak, ND

While Sr. Joan was born in Brainard, Nebraska, she travelled far from the Midwest, making her Central and South American ministries some of the most impactful in her life. Her first mission was in Chile, South America, from 1963 to1967 and then she served in Honduras from 1994 to 2005. In between she worked diligently as a social worker from 1969 until 1982 with the Douglas County welfare departments and from 1982 to 1991 with the Nebraska Department of Social Services.

Sr. Irene Dvorak, ND

Sr. Irene spent more than 25 years teaching in Omaha and Iowa at St. Therese School, St. Adalbert School, St. John the Baptist School (in Prague, NE) St. Michael’s in Harlan, lowa, Mary, Queen of Apostles in Council Bluffs, lowa. Sr. Irene then embarked on a career path of teaching religious education at St. Philip Neri in Omaha and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Genoa, Nebraska and taught CCD at St Patrick’s in Elkhorn.

Sr. Margaret Hickey, ND

Many people know Sr. Margaret as a teacher (although they may remember her as Sr. Phyllis), as her education legacy stretches across Omaha — Beginning at St. Theresa’s in Omaha in 1963, she spent a few years at St. Michael’s in Harlan Iowa, before returning to Omaha to teach at Notre Dame Academy, where she had attended high school. She then taught at Roncalli High School in the 70s, 80s, and early 2000s.

Sr. Margaret served as Notre Dame Sisters Provincial President an impressive three times —  1977-1983, 1998-2005, and currently from 2013-2022. Still, Sr. Margaret managed to also act as Spiritual Director, organist, team member, Associate Director, and Formation Director during her years of teaching.

Sr. Corona Humal, ND

Math approved to be an incredibly fruitful major for Sr. Corona, as her ministry from 1963-1993 was education: She started teaching with seventh graders at St. Adalbert’s Grade Schools in Omaha before moving to teach at Howell’s Grade School. She then taught at St. Wenceslaus Grade School, Spillville, Iowa before becoming a high school Math teacher at Notre Dame Academy, Wahoo Neumann High School, and Roncalli Catholic High School.

After 30 years of teaching in and around the Omaha Metro, she continues to serve people right here. As a resident of Notre Dame Housing in North Omaha, Sr. Corona manages the gift shop with items made by residents, including many of her beautifully crocheted blankets, shawls, and dolls. She volunteers at NDH for their food programs for residents, and gets out in the community serving St James Seton School in the Kids Care Program.