Sr. Ernestine Havlovic spent 51 years teaching at 11 local and rural schools now celebrates 70 years as a Sister

Generations across Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas know Sr. Ernestine Havolvic. 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.

She is celebrating 70 years as a Notre Dame Sister this year. Daughter of the deceased Joseph and Edith (Rerucha) Havlovic, she began looking up to the Sisters while a young girl at Holy Trinity in Brainerd, Nebraska. She is also part of an extended religious family in Nebraska including the Hanus, Rolenc, Polak, and Janousek families who were first and second cousins who all became Sisters as well. 

“One of the Sisters, especially, Sr. Catherine Smisek, took us girls who were interested to Omaha to visit the convent,” Sr. Ernestine said. “I remember seeing the corn fields across the street and the dairy farm up the road. It was just the “castle” across the street, the Mormons, and the Notre Dame Sisters back then!”

She took her vows 70 years ago and then received a Bachelor ‘s degree in Education from Duchesne College. 

Feel free to donate to the Sisters in Sr. Ernestine’s name

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. Ernestine spent the last 15 years as sacristan for the chapel at their Motherhouse on 35th and State streets in Omaha. “Today I help out wherever I can, still at 90 years old — a lot of prayers and volunteering as a receptionist for the sisters when someone is sick. Plus, I embroider items to auction off at the fundraising dinner every year.”

Sr. Ernestine joins four other Notre Dame Sisters celebrating their jubilees this year — Sr Joan Polak, ND, is also celebrating 70 years and Sr Irene Dvorak, ND, and Sr Corona Humpal, ND, and Sr. Margaret Hickey, ND are celebrating 60 years. 

1966-1970 Principal and teacher at Blessed John Neumann, Clarkson, Nebraska

1972-1977 Principal and teacher at St. Wenceslaus, Spillville, lowa

1978-1994 Principal and teacher at Blessed John Neumann, Clarkson, Nebraska

Feel free to donate to the Sisters in Sr. Ernestine’s name
Places Sr. Ernestine Havlovic served:

1951-52 Teacher in St. Wenceslaus, Dodge, NE

1952-55 Teacher in St. Wenceslaus, Wahoo, NE

1955-58 Teacher in Assumption, Dwight, NE

1958-59 Teacher in St. Joseph, Chelsea, IA

1959-60 Teacher in St. John the Baptist, Prague, NE

1960-63 Teacher in St. Ludmila, Cedar Rapids, IA

1963-66 Teacher in Sacred Heart, Atwood, KS

1966-70 Principal/teacher at Blessed John Neumann, Clarkson, NE

1970-71 Principal/teacher at St. Adalbert, Omaha, NE

1971-72 Teacher at Howells Community Catholic School, Howells, NE

1972-77 Principal/teacher at St. Wenceslaus, Spillville, IA

1977-78 Principal and teacher at Assumption, Omaha

1978-1994 Principal/teacher at Blessed John Neumann, Clarkson, NE

1994-2002 Teacher at St. John Nepomucene, Weston, NE


Religion classes:

1951 Clyde and Dublin 

1952 Weston, 3 years

1955 Bee, 3 years

1959 Bruno, 1 year

1960 Vinton, lowa, 3 years

1966 Heun, 4 years

1971 Heun, 1 year

1972 Spillville, lowa, 5 years

1977 Assumption, Omaha

1978 Heun, 20 years