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St. Williams Parish Community Profile: Sr. Charlene Moser

How many people do you know that have visited ALL of the official Presidential Libraries and Museums?

Well, meet Sister Charlene Moser, who can claim that achievement (along with her younger sister)!

Sr. Charlene is a Dominican Sister of Peace who currently serves her Congregation in the Mission Advancement and Communications Office. She previously served in the Congregation’s Office of Founded Ministries for 10 years, which included serving on Boards of Directors and Advisory Councils as well as committees for various ministries, fulfilling delegated tasks, and generally supporting the Mission of each ministry.

It also involved a good bit of travel through the center of the country. “I’ve been to every tourist attraction from here to Kansas,” she said with a smile.

Earlier in her ministry, Sr. Charlene served in elected leadership of her founding Congregation of St. Catharine (the oldest in the nation, having been founded in 1822), and ministered for nearly three decades in various Catholic schools (mostly teaching math and science) in Louisville and Springfield, Kentucky; Hastings and Omaha, Nebraska; and Memphis, Tennessee. She also served eight years as her Congregation’s Assistant Treasurer.

Sr. Charlene grew up in the South End of Louisville, the eldest of three children. She graduated from Holy Rosary Academy, located near her home, so you may be wondering: How did she end up in Nebraska?

After getting her associate’s degree at St. Catherine College in 1965, Sr. Charlene professed as a Dominican Sister in 1967 and then, at the end of Vatican II, was given an assignment to teach in Hastings, Neb. “I had no idea where I was,” she joked. A year later, she was told that if she moved to Omaha, she could finish her degree; she would eventually earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska in mathematics. She later earned her Master’s in Secondary Education from Indiana University, Bloomington.

She was in Nebraska for seven or eight years before taking an assignment in Memphis, Tenn., and then later returned to Louisville, having been invited to join the St. Catherine Congregation’s Finance Department. “I remember asking, should I get an accounting class? They said no, but I took one anyway.”

Her tenure in that job came during the mid-1980s, “a time when we were realizing we needed to computerize some of the operation,” she said, “So I was doing everything I could do to learn about computers. I was to learn the accounting and then figure out how to get it onto the computer.” She would later be involved in establishing a computer network for the Congregation, where again, “I had to do all that studying and figure it out on my own.” (As an aside, she met Ellen Bouche during that time, when both were part of the Kentucky Indiana PC User Group.)

After about eight years in that role, when “everything was working as it was supposed to,” she decided to make another change. She initially went back to the classroom but then got an interesting call from the principal of her alma mater, Holy Rosary Academy, who asked, “Sister, are you organized?”

What the school needed was a new development director … a job that included planning for and executing the annual “Ramble for the Roses,” a Holy Rosary event that was part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. She started the job at the first of January and her first Ramble was just a few months later. She had to coordinate with the school, the community, the city and the Derby Festival. So yes, being organized was key. Sr. Charlene eventually would oversee 12 Rambles, staying at Holy Rosary until the school closed in 2002.

In 2002, Sr. Charlene was elected to the leadership of the Congregation. It was a tumultuous time, as her Congregation was moving toward a merger with six other Dominican congregations, yet something like consensus had to be reached among the sisters, and merger needed the approval of two dioceses and Rome. But the merger became official in 2009 and the new entity was called the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Sr. Charlene remembers one poignant moment in a meeting to decide on a new name when one sister came to the microphone and said simply, “What is it that the world needs now? Peace.”

More recently, Sr. Charlene has been working with the Congregation’s ministries to find and secure grants for their programs; she’s also been working with the Midwest Mission group. She is “not ready for retirement yet,” she said, as she is “still having fun.” When not working, Sr. Charlene says she travels with her sister; they also share a common love of Christmas lights and travel “wherever” to see them. She won’t be pinned down on her favorite Presidential Library/Museum, but she mentioned the Eisenhower and Carter ones as “don’t miss.” She and her sister also like to visit national parks; she’s especially fond of those with petroglyphs. “There’s something about them … to think people were trying to communicate something.”

Sr. Charlene has been a member of St. William since the 1980s. When she lived elsewhere, she said, “I always sought out churches where the congregation was encouraged to participate. … I don’t want to just go to church and be a spectator,” she said. At St. William, she said, “Everybody’s gifts are appreciated.”

Jean Porter, St. William Parish, Louisville

2 thoughts on “St. Williams Parish Community Profile: Sr. Charlene Moser

  1. What a beautiful article and I learned much more about your full life, Charlene, of Ministry and Mission. I know you do everything very well and are adventurous. You have shared a lot of your travels with us your Sisters. Thank You.

  2. Charlene,

    Wow ! I feel like I knew you forever and I just found out so much more…Thank you for your creativity, spirituality,
    and generosity !
    As multos annos, Charlene !

    Peace, kay

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