Theology teacher Teresa Davis welcomed Sister Janet Roesener to her theology classes at McNicholas on Nov. 8. Davis’s students sat with Sister Janet and asked questions about the religious life, her daily life, and her time at McNick.
Davis wanted Roesener to come talk to the students because it was Vocations Awareness Week in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. This week was brought about highlight Consecrated Religious and Ordained Life for one week. Information on different orders and types of religious life is focused on during this week. “This may ignite someone who has a spark in their heart to join an order,” said Davis. She also invited Roesener because she is a sister of St. Joseph. “She is part of our history and foundation of McNicholas High School. The students need to know their history and the face of their history,” Davis said.
Roesener had begun her high school life at St. Joseph’s Academy but when the school transitioned to co-ed, she graduated with the first class under the McNicholas name in 1952, and she knew that the religious life was what she wanted to be a part of. After learning about the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Joseph (CSJ) from the sisters who taught at the school, she was sure she wanted to join. Having become a part of the CSJ, she returned to McNick in 1957 to teach and then became principal in 1967.
After her work at McNick, Roesener continued to live out her vows by doing works of charity in her community. In her talk to the students, Roesener said the Sisters of St. Joseph have made it their goal to help their neighbor and show everyone God’s love in the best ways they can. These goals “pertain to the world around us,” she said. As the world changes, their work changes, but their ultimate goal of helping and providing happiness never does. This is because of their “generous promises,” according to Roesener. She explained that these promises are to heal the earth by not doing any harm to it and bring about a shift in institutional power and privilege.
Roesener continues her work after retirement by volunteering at food pantries and assisting with healthcare needs at St. Vincent DePaul. She said she continues this work because “there’s no way I could just sit and do nothing.”
Her talk made the students see that “way she lives her life shows that the religious and people in convents live similarly to how many others live their lives,” said McNick junior Tanner McClanahan. They were also reminded that “even growing up in today’s world, there is still a place for Catholic values,” said McNick junior Alyssa Taylor.