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McNicholas celebrates and says goodbye to Sr. Judi Keehnen, CSJ

McNicholas celebrates and says goodbye to Sr. Judi Keehnen, CSJ

Sr. Judi Keehnen ‘59 received a special blessing from Fr. Jan Schmidt ‘72 as her ministry in Cincinnati and at McNicholas draws to a close. Sr. Judi has been a part of the fabric of McNicholas High School since she entered McNicholas as a freshman in 1955. Since her graduation in 1959, she has served her alma mater as a teacher, coach, school board member, alumni board member, archivist, and volunteer.

Sr. Judi is being called back by the Sisters of St. Joseph to continue her ministry at their congregation in Cleveland. She hopes to continue to put her Master’s degree in Public History to good use by working in the Congregational Archives.

Sr. Judi’s pull to religious life was fostered by the Sisters of St. Joseph during her time as a student at McNicholas. After graduation, she joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and in 1967 returned to McNicholas as both a teacher and coach.  Fifty-six years later, the influence of the Sisters of St. Joseph remains with Sr. Judi, who continues to work behind the scenes as a dedicated member of the McNicholas community.
English Department Chair Angie Noble said, “Sister Judi's impact on McNicholas is immeasurable; her love of McNicholas and of the Sisters of St. Joseph is genuine. All who have come to know her are enriched by her presence and her stories. She is a living record of our school’s history and tradition and a reminder of how the Sisters of St. Joseph spread their mission of love and service.”
Sr. Judi taught sewing, mechanical drawing, and woodworking, and coached the volleyball and softball teams. She spent fifteen years in charge of the school’s annual Mardi Gras Pageant and Ball and worked as a costumer for the Theatre Department during musical season. For the past twelve years, Sr. Judi has served as the school archivist and historian. She is also an emeritus member of the McNicholas Board, where she serves on the Facilities Committee.

Sr. Judi is a passionate advocate and tireless worker for the students of McNicholas High School. Her life personifies the McNicholas mission and is a testament to St. Paul’s Ephesians exhortation to use one’s gifts and talents to serve others and glorify God. We will dearly miss her sweetness, her toughness, and her example of growth toward Full Stature in Christ.

John Jorden, Director of Development

In addition to her work at McNicholas, Sr. Judi taught at St. Mary of the Woods and Guardian Angels parishes, was an advisor to the women at the Fontbonne in Cincinnati, worked at the Smithsonian and the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, and taught at Northern Michigan University and the University of Dayton.
Sr. Judi said, “What makes me feel great about McNicholas is how the administration, teachers, and students have carried on the charism and ideals that the Sisters of St. Joseph started when they founded the school. The faces and circumstances have changed, but the dedication of the teachers and the student’s response to all that is presented to them is the same.”

Sr. Judi and her fellow Sisters of St. Joseph will be honored at a Mass of Gratitude and Farewell commemorating their 130 years of service to and presence in Cincinnati on Sunday, March 26 at Guardian Angels Church.
“We wish Sr. Judi the best as she continues to serve her dear neighbor as a Sister of St. Joseph outside of Cincinnati. She has been a gift to the faculty, students, alumni, and families of McNicholas and will be sorely missed,” Mrs. Noble added.

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