Just in time for Catholic Sisters Week (March 8–14, 2024), sophomores from Emily Jarboe’s art class at Sacred Heart Academy created comic strips featuring the lives of several Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. On Feb. 27, the students had an informal showing of their art in the Ursuline Motherhouse with several of the Ursuline Sisters.

The comics feature nine different Ursuline Sisters of Louisville:

  • Mother Martina Nicklas (1839-1936), who purchased the first piece of land on the current Ursuline Campus.
  • Mother Angela Leininger (1860-1940), who oversaw the building of the current Motherhouse in 1917.
  • Mother DeChantal Mulligan (1888-1997), originally a Pittsburgh Ursuline, lived to be 109 years old.
  • Mother Casilda Bowling (1893-1986), biology teacher at SHA and Ursuline College, published a book of
    practice medical technology exam questions, used in classrooms nationwide.
  • Mother Cosma Coponi (1893-1983), who served as a nurse at Camp Taylor during the 1918 flu pandemic
    and oversaw the opening of Angela Merici High School. (1959–1984).
  • Sister Brendan Conlon (1927-2021), who founded Christian Help of Mingo County in Kermit, West Virginia to
    help families in need of emergency assistance, and started the Appalachian Toy Drive in 1995, now called the
    Sister Brendan Appalachian Gift Drive.
  • Sister Martha Buser (1931-2023), who wrote two books about Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Company
    of Saint Ursula, from whom the Ursuline Sisters trace their origin. She traveled around the world speaking
    about St. Angela to other communities, and later was a spiritual director.
  • Sister Regina Bevelacqua (1935-2021), who devoted her life to people with intellectual disabilities, including
    co-founding St. Mary’s Center in Middletown for adults with developmental disabilities, and serving as a
    Special Olympics coach for more than 50 years.
  • Sister Anne Mary Lochner (1943-2023), who co-founded and served as the first director of Project Women,
    now Family Scholar House, which helps disadvantaged single parents pursue higher education and
    employment. She also assisted refugees and asylees while working at Catholic Charities of Louisville’s Office
    of Immigration and Legal Service.

Art teacher Emily Jarboe stated, “I had been wanting to develop a project which would intertwine the story of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville with the curriculum of Art 4. The idea to create a comic on the life of an Ursuline Sister came during the St. Angela Retreat I attended in December. At first, I was thinking of having the students create a portrait of the sisters. During the retreat, I learned more about St. Angela, and then talking with the Sisters at the retreat, I thought it would be more interesting for the students to research the lives and experiences of the sisters and create a piece telling an aspect of their lives.”

Ursuline Communications Director Kathy Williams and Archivist Laurel Wilson developed a list of Ursuline Sisters for the students to choose from. They chose Sisters that were historically significant to the congregation and/or the public through their influence and ministries. Laurel gathered files for each Sister that was chosen by a student and worked with the students on their research.

Student Isabella Verdi shared, “I enjoyed learning more about the Ursuline Sisters because it strengthened my connection with the SHA community. I’m also glad that our class was able to shed light on the awe-inspiring legacy these Sisters have left behind.”

After the art showing with the Sisters, sophomore Liz Staley shared, “It was quite heartwarming to have touched the sister’s hearts so deeply.”

Ursuline President Jean Anne Zappa, OSU, reflected, “I was amazed at how the art students captured not only the life of their particular Sister but the spirit of that Sister’s personality and gifts. By their research and study of the Sisters’ lives, they were able to communicate the nuances of each Sister’s life, talents and contributions they shared with others.”

Emily Jarboe added, “Jane Cruthirds (Sacred Heart Schools Office of Catholic Identity and Ursuline Charism) was helpful in talking through the idea. Ursuline Archivist Laurel Wilson was also a huge help in collecting the information about the sisters and answering questions the students had. The students created narrative art which tells the story of an Ursuline Sister of Louisville. They researched a Sister, and developed a story about her life, after researching the art of graphic novels and comics in order to develop a visual story.”

Art student Abby Adams said, “The knowledge I gained through the process of creating this art piece helped me to grow a deeper connection with the Sisters and their greater understanding of their experiences.”