Sr. Ruth Podesta
Sister Ruth Podesta arrived at Ursuline Academy as a first grader. Twelve years later she entered the Community in 1950. She spent 30 years teaching in elementary and high school at both UA and our boarding school. Her students best remember her as their French teacher. She would later work at Chatfield College as registrar and in financial aid. After a sabbatical year in the program for women religious, Active Spirituality in the Global Community, she had an opportunity to work in Communications at the International Union of Superiors General in Rome, Italy. The UISG is a source of information for active women’s religious congregations all over the world. This international experience led her to answer the call to Washington to work at the Center of Applied Research for the Apostolate (CARA) where she edited research papers. From there she went to the National Jesuit Social Action Office. Two evenings a week Ruth taught in an English Language Program for foreign-language speaking adults. It was there she met Haitians who invited her to join them in their new community and parish church. This relationship led to many years of ministry among Haitian refugees at the Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Miami, Florida Miami and the Haitian Center in St Francis Parish, Trenton, New Jersey.
Following that ministry, she returned to Cincinnati where she became secretary to the Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for eight years. After retiring from that position, she became very active in her parish serving in food assistance as part of the local outreach program. Ruth also volunteered at Hope Lodge, the former Ursuline Academy that became American Cancer Society’s temporary residence for cancer patients and their companions from out of town. Many Ursuline Academy alumna from Oak Street have enjoyed tours of Hope Lodge and were delighted that the new building maintained so much of the original school’s aesthetics.
In 2012 Ruth returned to Brown County where she resided at Brescia. She volunteered at Hope Emergency Program (begun and continued under Ursuline direction) and taught religious education in the local parish. She also taught French and Latin at Chatfield College. One of Ruth’s happiest experiences in Brown County was living on Hamer Road in Sardinia, getting to know the families, teaching the children and helping in parishes in Mt. Orab, Sardinia, Arnheim and Fayetteville. She began living at Mt. Notre Dame in October 2018.
Reflection on Ruth’s past relationships and many ministries alone certainly show how many people and geographic areas have been touched by the presence of Ursulines. She says of her new life, “I keep busy typing original stories handwritten by a friend for her family and grandchildren. I appreciate the spiritual and intellectual opportunities and just plain fun in beautiful surroundings with a tree-beauty campus, but most especially with many new friends.”