Roaming Around to Find the “Yes!”

April is Autism Awareness Month, and Ursuline Sisters Martha Reed knows well why it’s important.


Sister Martha holds a Master’s Degree in special education and ministers as an instructor at Potential Development, Youngstown, working with kindergarten-age children affected by Autism.


In this installment of Vocation Stories, Sister Martha shares what drew her to her ministry, and to her overall ministry as an Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown.

Sister Martha Reed:
Every one of us is God’s chosen ones, so we need to take the time to sit down, respect, and have compassion and understanding for one another – however that may be.


Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind 1 Corinthians
Today I am teaching at Potential Development School of Autism. I found that I can do more with working with young children, and helping with bringing out their goodness and showing their parents how good their children are and how good they are. Also, to improve life for their child in more of a one-on-one situation where they feel safe talking to me, without any type of judgment.


Roaming Around to Find the ‘Yes!’
I’d go out late at night walking, just roaming through the nights like Michael W. Smith’s song – “roaming through this world, trying to find my place in this world.”

One Sunday at mass – I can’t remember which reading it was – but it hit me, and it’s that God does have a plan for my life.


A Plan – and a Gift

What drew me to the Ursuline Sisters is they believe in family, staying strong and connected to family. Not only do I have a family of origin – where I came from – but I have a family of choice. My Sisters are my family. They’re my family. I can go to them in times of need, joyous times, happy times, sad times, whenever. You’re there for one another.


Another thing that drew me to them is the way that my Sisters go out and minister today. We’re not afraid to rub elbows with people that are different from us. We’re not afraid to sit down and listen to someone who just needs a listening ear. It’s a real privilege and honor to be with this group of women. I don’t need to roam anymore.


I’m Sister Martha Reed.

Be Ready for Big Surprises!

The following quote from the Hobbit describes my Journey as an Ursuline Sister.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

(The Hobbit: J.R.R. Tolkiein) p.300

I started traveling this road when I was in the 4th grade in St. Dominic’s school in Youngstown. The moment wasn’t dramatic. It came to me one day as I sat in the 4th grade classroom that someday I would become a nun. It was a feeling deep inside of me. Yes. I was positively sure that I would be a nun. My parents didn’t know about this until I was in high school. My mother was very unhappy. My father liked the idea. After much discussion my parents and I reached a compromise. My mother said, if I would go to the Ursulines in Youngstown where our family lived, then I could go tomorrow. I took that as a sign from God that I was doing the right thing. God was really calling me to become a nun and live my life as a religious.

June 1956 I graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngstown. September 9, 1956 I entered the Ursuline Sisters in Youngstown. In 2007,  I celebrated 50 years as an Ursuline Sister.

When I was in high school I knew that I wanted to be a classroom teacher. Perhaps an English teacher. I wasn’t surprised when those of us who entered together started right away going to Youngstown State University for education courses. I thought that was natural. I didn’t realize that teaching is what we did as our Ministry. Ursulines were known to be teachers. Many people at that time put entering a religious community and teaching in the same category. Living religious life is a Way of Life/Teaching is a career choice. If I was married I would be living out the gospel message as a married woman.

Teaching would be my career.

Entering religious life wasn’t too different from living at home. The authority in my life switched from parents to a superior. Instead of two sisters I had 200. My days were divided between prayer, study for college courses and learning what it meant to live as and become an Ursuline Sister in a religious community. Time passed quickly and then it was 1959 and I was taking the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. That year marked the first time that I lived the life of a vowed religious. It was also the year that I began teaching and ministry in the church. This September of 2011 I celebrate 52 years of service to the church.

During the next 30 years I taught everything from 2nd grade through Senior in High School. I received a BS in Ed from Youngstown State, and an M.A. in Education with a specialization in Reading from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Later on I received state certification from Ohio to teach English by taking courses at Youngstown State. While teaching at Ursuline High School I took courses from Ursuline College in Cleveland that helped me to update my faith. I was certified to teach religion in the Youngstown Diocese. It laid the foundation for my work here at St. Hilary as a Pastoral Minister.These words from St. Angela, the founder of our community began to speak to me:

Do Something…Get Moving… Be Confident… Risk new things… Stick with it… Get on your knees…

Then be ready for Big Surprises!

After my mother died in 1982 I found myself getting drawn into parish work at St. Columba Cathedral in Youngstown. Bringing the Eucharist to my mother while she was sick helped me to feel comfortable ministering to the elderly. On Easter Sunday in 1982 she told me that I was her Easter Sunday. The associate pastor at the Cathedral asked me if I would teach some classes to the RCIA. I did and found that I could still build the kingdom but in a different way: working with adults who were the parents of children.



I taught for 30 years; 15 in grade schools and 15 in high school. In 1990 I decided to hang up the role of teaching in a classroom; I went to Loyola University in Chicago on a Sabbatical to prepare for work as a Pastoral Minister. The professors remarked, 30 years of teaching, what a resource for becoming a pastoral minister.

Do Something…Get Moving… Be Confident… Risk new things… Stick with it… Get on your knees…

Then be ready for Big Surprises!

While in Chicago I started to look for a job and to make a long story short through Fr. Koegel who was the pastor of St. Hilary, I came here to Akron. I began my journey here at St. Hilary in August of 1991. I have grown into many roles. I’ve learned things that they don’t teach in college courses or text books.

I began as a volunteer coordinator for parish groups. This grew through the years to being a Spiritual Director for the Joy Renewal; coordinator for baptisms, which includes teaching the parent classes, contact person for Stewardship weekend, coordinating the efforts of the Eucharistic ministers to the Homebound parishioners in 8 nursing homes and residences and in private homes. All of my life experience as well as the opportunities for education has become a resource for the ministries I am involved with at St. Hilary. In 2005, the Lord asked me to take on my own family ministry; my sister Loretta was diagnosed with front lobe dementia. Ministry to families was part of the ministry of St. Angela.



My community, the Ursuline Sisters in Youngstown is comprised of 52 people. If you think of that number as a total then it seems very small. But consider this…at one time our community served the Youngstown Diocese as teachers in the parish schools. Today we still have this ministry; but we’ve expanded into a program for mothers who are struggling to get off welfare, an aids ministry, a prison ministry: yes some are pastoral ministers and directors of religious education. The ministries have brought us into contact with many people who are on many different journeys. Faith and the call to build the kingdom came in the Sacrament of Baptism. Call to all ministry comes from the sacrament of baptism; we are anointed for service. There will always be people who are called to make the building of the kingdom by walking with the Lord as the central focus of their lives. It is a grace.



Matthew says it this way in Chapter 19 vs. 11-12, This teaching does not apply to everyone, but only to those to whom God had given it. For there are different reasons why someone cannot marry; some, because they were born that way; others because someone made them that way; and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. This is the passage where I found myself when I was 25 years in religious life.


When I think of religious life I think of an overgrown plant or bush. Throughout the experiences of Vatican II; cultural experiences, and just plain changes in society; it got pruned. Plants that are cut back are not destroyed but come back being much stronger. They have a richer color. Yes, religious life has changed since the 1950’s; it lost some of it’s old leaves but new ones are growing in its place. You and I; the prayers we pray for vocations are the water which the plant needs. The call is out there; just pray that the people who receive the call to live a vowed life will respond with a yes. Thus they will become a new branch on the plant.

Do Something…Get Moving… Be Confident… Risk new things… Stick with it… Get on your knees…

Then be ready for Big Surprises!

Millcreek Children’s Center

Millcreek Children’s Center is a preschool for children ages three to five serving the Youngstown, Ohio area since 1976. Sister Jerome Corcoran, the Executive Director, has her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Research and Education. She has been the Director and founder of the Center since its beginning, 33 years!

Denise DeBartolo York, who along with her husband, John York, own the San Francisco 49ers, visited the Millcreek Children’s Center on Wednesday December 23, 2009, with her son, Jed, and daughters Jenna and Mara to give presents to the children.

“I’m so gratified to be able to do what I love, and I love making a difference in the lives of children,” said DeBartolo York, who has given gifts to children at the center for the past 20 years.  Click here to read the full article

Home For The Holidays

Shelia Triplett,  Director of Transitional Housing at Beatitude House, welcomed  six  families to the new apartments in Warren,  House of Blessing.  The new addition at 1370 Tod Ave. includes 6 apartments, a computer/classroom, a children’s playroom and offices for staff.  Beatitude House is committed to Sheliaserving disadvantaged women and children in the Mahoning Valley.  By creating homes,  providing educational opportunities and fostering healthy families, they provide women with the opportunity to transform their lives.

Shelia has been on the staff of Beatitude House since 2007 and most recently  she has the responsibility of working with 29 families who are residents at one of three Beatitude House locations.   Shelia works with staff in overseeing  the multi-faceted program which includes case work, counseling, parenting, budgeting,  and studying.   Shelia brings such a positive but firm support to the women as they strive to build better lives.  Her sense of humor and warm presence is just what the mothers need.

Shelia says “Working at Beatitude House is the most fulfilling professional experience I’ve ever had.  I am blessed to work in a place that gives women and children roots and wings:  roots that provide safe housing and a positive environment and wings to reach higher than they ever dreamed possible,  creating a better life for themselves and their children”

In addition to serving on the staff with four Ursuline Sisters, the Ursuline Community is  privileged to have Shelia’s presence among them as an Ursuline Associate.  She is so positive and open and affirming. As an Associate she participates in community gatherings throughout the year and joins with all Sisters and Associates for special days and events.

50 Years of Service to Catholic School Education

When the new school year began at the end of August, Sister Mary Ellen Dean was getting ready for her 50th year of service to Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Youngstown.  Most of those years – 44, including this year – have been spent at Ursuline High School.  Sister Mary Ellen has also taught at St. Nicholas in Struthers, Holy Family in Poland, St. Patrick and St. Charles in Youngstown, and St. Joan of Arc in Canton. Many of good schools are usually reviewed on many of web sites.

At a time when people not only change jobs, but change careers several times in their working MED years,  this commitment to  Catholic School education is remarkable.  For the best bachelors degree in electrical and electronics in west england go through  During these years there has been much change in the world, the church, and at Ursuline.  Here are some examples:   The Catholic Church was just concluding Vatican II when she began to teach at Ursuline.  She lived in the old convent (the former Wick Mansion) for a few years before a new convent was built in 1968.   Enrollment at Ursuline in the mid-1960s was approximately 2000 compared to the 450 students currently enrolled.  Steel mills and the jobs and industries that grew up around the mills were the main employers when she began teaching. For the best chemistry tution in the singapore visit Seb Academy chemistry tuition.

In her years at Ursuline Sr. Mary Ellen has had a variety of roles:  History teacher, Writing and Synonyms teacher, Registrar, and Librarian.  She oversaw the renovation of the Library/Learning Center at Ursuline when it was remodeled in the 1990s.

Most recently she has returned to the classroom to resume her teaching career.

Congratulations Sr. Mary Ellen!  We are proud of your commitment to Catholic Education as an Ursuline Sister.

Sister Mary Alyce Koval – Education Director- Beatitude House

Sister Mary Alyce Koval has been named to fill the recently created education director at Beatitude House. She brings over 40 years of experience to the position, having served as an elementary teacher and principal in numerous Catholic  schools.

Sister Mary Alyce Koval
Sister Mary Alyce Koval

In talking about the need for education, Sister Mary Alyce said: “I believe education is the most important tool each of us has to open doors to future possibilities.  It can’t be taken away from you, it’s part of you and you will have it forever.”

Sister Mary Alyce’s role at Beatitude House is to coordinate the education programs, to offer advice and career counseling based on the skills and interests of each woman who is part of the programs of Beatitude House and to help them set goals for themselves and achieve those goals.

Sister Mary Alyce will also review and update the curriculum at Potter’s Wheel, an education and career program for women in the Mahoning Valley. These women can work on their GED, computer skills, job and interview skills, and also life skills, such as parenting and budgeting.

Beatitude House Expansion in Warren.

pat Beatitude House hosted an Open House on September 25, 2009 at 1370 Tod Aveneu NW, to present their nearly 1.5 million expansion to the Warren area.  The event began with a brief dedication ceremony and included tours of the building and refreshments. The Beatitude House children’s choir performed at the ceremony.

The expansion includes six apartments, a computer/classroom, a children’s playroom and offices for staff.  With the completion of this project, Beatitude House is able to serve a total of 13 homeless families each year in Warren.

As noted in the Warren Tribune:  Sister Patricia said Beatitude House has been blessed with incredible support from the Warren area, noting Farmer’s National Bank and the Warren -Trumbull Home Consortium were two of  the major funding sources .  She said all the furniture, accessories, appliances and linens for the six new apartments were donated by various businesses, organizations, and churches in Trumbull County, including St. William Church in Champion.

The Beatitude House has facilities in Youngstown, Girard and Warren for its two-year transitional housing program.  Beatitude House is committed to serving disadvantaged women and children in the Mahoning Valley.  By creating homes, providing educational opportunities and fostering healthy families, they provide women with the opportunity to transform their lives.  To learn more about how you can help visit or call 330.399.1971.