Looking back to her days as a third grader at Precious Blood School in Dayton, Janet Huelsman recalls the influence of her teacher, Sister M. Florentia Kessler.
“She was one of those teachers who challenged me to do more than I thought I could do,” Huelsman said. “She’s one of the reasons I have always wanted to be a teacher.”
Years later, as a youth minister at St. Mary Parish in Franklin, Ohio, Huelsman noticed how moved high school women were when Precious Blood Sister Ann Clark shared her vocation story with them.
Those are the types of interactions Huelsman wants to help facilitate as a member of the Sisters of the Precious Blood Vocations Ministry Committee. She joins Libby Hogan as one of the two new lay members on the committee. They replace Nathan Hess and Cindy Schmersal.
Consisting of four lay members and five Sisters of the Precious Blood, the committee advises the community council on vocations efforts.
Huelsman was raised in Dayton and often visited the Sisters’ motherhouse, where she became acquainted with them and their charism. She earned a bachelor’s in sociology and sought to work with high school youth.
She eventually got involved in parish youth ministry, working at two Dayton parishes for a total of 13 years. She is now a substitute teacher at Springboro High School and at Bishop Fenwick High School.
Strengthening the relationship between young women and the Sisters of the Precious Blood can help foster vocations, she explained.
“If we integrate the Sisters into women’s lives, that will have an impact,” she said. “I want to see what I can do to help increase that visibility.”
Huelsman lives in Springboro, Ohio. She and her husband, Tom, have two children and two grandchildren.
A native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Hogan is an area coordinator in residential life at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. She holds bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif.
Women religious have been part of Hogan’s life since she was young. Two aunts were Sisters of Mercy and she interacted with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary while in college. “Women religious have role modeled to me the importance of servant leadership and servant spirituality,” she said.
“The gifts that each of us have are wasted if we do not share them with others.”
As a young, tech-savvy woman, Hogan can relate to women who are discerning a religious vocation.
“My perspective brings new ideas and opportunities to connect and engage with younger women worldwide in an interactive and public way,” she said. “Additionally, my interest and experience in diversity education will hopefully help the committee put forth recommendations that meet the needs of young women considering religious life.”
Story and photo by Dave Eck