A Surprise to Cherish

Sister M. Janeen Sobczak, OSF
September 20, 2021
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September 27, 2021

By Sister M. Rosalma Kmiec

I wanted to share a special occasion that happened to me, thanks to Sister Geraldine’s niece, Jackie Paluszak, who was also one of my first-grade students in 1954.

I entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania Community back in 1951 and began teaching first grade two years later at St. Hedwig’s in Toledo.  My first classroom had 60 students and, in those days, there were no teaching aides.  With that many children, it seemed to me that I wasn’t getting anywhere! But thanks be to God, they somehow all learned what was taught that year.  Not only that, it was heartwarming when the little ones would even thank me for teaching them.

Now, many decades later, my long ministry as an educator is behind me and I think sometimes of the hundreds of children who passed through my classroom do

ors over the years.

Thanks to Jackie, I was able to have the special experience of getting to see some of these students again.

When Jackie found out from Sister Geraldine that I was coming to live at Our Lady of Grace Hall, she immediately gave me an invitation I couldn’t refuse.  Jackie is part of a group of St. Hedwig’s Alumni who have been informally ‘reuniting’ over breakfast/lunch for years.

That morning, there were eight of my former students there with their spouses. None of them knew in advance that I was coming.

Jackie had her way and everyone was delighted at the surprise.  Naturally, we all had to introduce ourselves.  My former first graders are now grandparents and their former first-grade teacher now has snowy white hair – and no habit and veil.  After we got to know each other again, we talked the morning away and they entreated me to come again to their little St. Hedwig group, an offer that I gladly accepted.  Unfortunately, because of COVID, that would turn out to be the last time the St. Hedwig group would gather for a long time.

I’m grateful for the wonderful memories of that gathering and am keeping my promise to them to keep my special students in my prayers.

Sister M. Rosalma Kmiec

Since making her first profession in 1954, Sister M. Rosalma Kmiec served in many ministries, including teaching and principal roles, directing the House of Prayer, Assistant Enrichment Director, Rosary Care Center (RCC) Director, and Pastoral Care at RCC. She will always remember her first teaching assignment where she was given a classroom filled with 60 first-grade students. “I really feared I wasn’t getting anywhere, but, thank God, they miraculously did learn! I’ve been grateful to hear from many of my students who remember me and come back into my life to thank me.”

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Sr Brigid O'Shea Merriman
18 days ago

What a lovely story you have to tell, dear Sister Rosalma. Thank you for sharing this great experience!

Charles Kundschier
18 days ago

Sister Rosalma is a very special person. Her compassion is evident in the way she treats everyone! God bless Sister Rosalma.

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