March 11, 2014 // Local

Sister Carmel brings cheer to Saint Joseph High School family

Pictured is Holy Cross Sister Carmel Marie Sallows working at the annual Saint Joseph High School open house. She greeted visitors who wanted to check out the library.

By Lisa Kochanowski

SOUTH BEND — They say you are only as old as you feel and Holy Cross Sister Carmel Marie Sallows must be pushing 21 with all the activities she does to help others around Michiana.

Whether it’s volunteering at nonprofit organizations or simply helping fellow sisters travel to doctor appointments, Sister Carmel is in constant motion.

Sister Carmel Sallows graduated from Saint Joseph’s Academy in 1950. That school, along with Central Catholic High School, St. Hedwig School and South Bend Catholic High School later became the current Saint Joseph High School. And every week Sister Carmel visits Saint Joseph High School to volunteer her time in the library.

Sister Carmel worked full-time in the library for 11 years with Jane Goldsberry, Saint Joseph High School librarian.

Sister Carmel retired from teaching — first and second grades — at South Bend St. Joseph Grade School. She also started the Catholic grade school’s first kindergarten class.

At Saint Joseph High School, Sister Carmel worked in the mornings in the attendance office where Susan Richter, now the principal, was in charge of attendance and discipline.

Librarian Goldsberry noted, “When I needed a sub in the afternoon, she was usually available — sometimes as a volunteer, sometimes as a paid sub. During her last three years of working at SJHS she worked part-time in the mornings in the library. As she stated, ‘I started out in the library when I first came, so I should finish out my working career at SJHS in the library.’”

Some of Sister Carmel’s duties in the library include shelving books, making copies, straightening the bookshelves, checking in the catalogs and periodicals and helping the students when needed.

“Working with Sister Carmel in the attendance office for nine years is one of the best memories I have from my early years at Saint Joseph High School,” said Principal Richter. “Her positive attitude, smile and laugh always made each day a joy. Throughout her time at Saint Joe, she has loved working with the students, and they love sister!”

“Sister Carmel has always been extremely generous toward my family,” added Richter. “Every holiday was made special with sister’s cookies and treat bags for our sons. And I could count on my pencil supply being replenished, as sister would always give me holiday pencils with a prayer card attached. Her kindness and generosity comes straight from the heart.”

Sister Carmel’s volunteer activities over the years include working on the social committee at Saint Joseph High School, faithfully going to hospice once a week to do whatever is needed and serving as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at Holy Cross Rehab. Sister also volunteers at the hospice-sponsored Camp Evergreen for children who have lost a loved one. And Sister Carmel and Sister Mary Pius have volunteered for two weeks in Park City, Utah, to help children in the Holy Cross Ministries summer reading program.

Goldsberry said, “Sister Carmel has a quiet unassuming demeanor when going about her work. Sometimes she would put a little note in a staff member’s mailbox in the faculty lounge to bring that person some cheer.”

“She used to carry her baking pans in the trunk of her car,” Goldsberry added. “Once in a while a staff member would be the recipient of cookies or Irish soda bread. There is a priest at Notre Dame that she would give a package of M&Ms to every year on his birthday.”

“Living her faith, Sister Carmel is a true disciple of Christ,” noted Principal Richter. “Humble, caring, compassionate and joy-filled, Sister Carmel teaches all of us how to live life by putting Christ in the center. She fulfills our mission and loves serving our students and staff.”

“She models the faith in all that she does and lives her vocation as a Holy Cross Sister,” added Richter. “She is a true gift to the Saint Joe family. I am blessed to call her my friend.”

Students enjoy seeing Sister Carmel in her Saint Joseph High School spirit wear, spreading school spirit and smiles throughout the day.

Goldsberry noted, “Sister has attended many Saint Joe sporting events and other extracurricular (activities) including dances and drama productions. When I first started working at Saint Joe there was a strong religious presence, mostly Holy Cross.”

“I felt so fortunate to be working in a place with nuns, brothers and priests; and where prayer was a daily presence,” Goldsberry said. “I always felt it was so wonderful for the students and staff to be able to interact with those who were living in religious life. I know for myself that working with Sister Carmel and the other religious, my faith and prayer life deepened.”

“Sister Carmel has made the Saint Joe community a better place to study and work by her example, her work ethic, her sense of humor, her friendly conversations with all, her smile and her prayers,” said Goldsberry. “I have been very blessed to have Sister Carmel in all aspects of my life and count her as a good friend and role model.”


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