Sisters attend school addition dedication in Ottawa, Ohio

Four Precious Blood Sisters attended a dedication Mass and blessing ceremony of a new addition to Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, Ohio. Bishop Daniel Thomas of the Diocese of Toledo was the main celebrant of the Aug. 22 Mass, along with Father Scott Kramer, CPPS, and several other priests.

Sisters of the Precious Blood taught at Sts. Peter and Paul for over a century, from 1881 to 1990. Sisters Martha Bertke, Joan DeChristopher, Paula Gero and Della Mae Meyer were happy to attend the dedication event, along with former member and school principal Helen Moorman Umphrey.

The addition includes eight classrooms, a new gymnasium, a bright and spacious meeting room for the parish, an up-to-date office for the school’s IT staff, and a concession stand near the gym’s main entrance.

After Mass, everyone gathered in the gym for a program. During part of the program, Bishop Thomas and Father Kramer, pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Parish, went to each classroom and blessed it with holy water and prayers while the crowd stayed in the gym and prayed the rosary. Information, remarks and congratulations were then shared by several speakers.

Everyone was then invited to visit with one another, tour the classrooms and enjoy refreshments.

In 1969, eight Sisters of the Precious Blood were assigned to staff the school along with lay teachers. They included Sisters Martha Bertke, Joan DeChristopher, Paula Gero, Della Mae Meyer, Elizabeth Westgerdes, Laura Schmaltz (deceased), Helen Moorman (former member) and Pat Pasternak (former member).

At that time, us Sisters were young, vibrant and energetic women. The oldest in this group was age 35. The enrollment at that time for grades 1-8 was 700 students.

It was so exciting to be present for this special occasion and to share with this dynamic faith community — and to know that so many of we Sisters who taught there at one time made a tremendous contribution to the parish, to the school and to the vibrant community. We deeply appreciated the words of gratitude that were expressed to us.

Story by Sister Martha Bertke

Left, Helen Moorman Umphrey, Sisters Della Mae Meyer and Joan DeChristopher, Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo, Sisters Paula Gero and Martha Bertke; right, Sister Martha with Becky Hermiller Schnipke, a former 4th grade student. Contributed photos

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