Toni Foulkes was re-elected alderman of Chicago’s 15th Ward. She serves on several City Council committees.
Actor, producer and director T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (Crystal Walker) received an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree in May from Florida A&M University. A graduate of the university’s theater program and a member of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Gallery of Distinction, T’Keyah is best known for her role on TV’s “Cosby.” Her philanthropies include FAMU scholarships and a fund to assist underserved youth. In August she will be celebrity co-chair of the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina.
In contacting the Alumnae Office with her updated contact information, Celeste Redmond-Smith added that after graduation, she attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Business and Computer Science. She attended the University of Virginia School of Law before beginning her law career as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY. Celeste is married and has two sons and two grandchildren. She currently is an Assistant General Counsel for the New York City Transit Authority, representing the Authority in personal injury litigation.
Mary Ruth Hogan Lambesis joined the committee for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day fundraising party in St. Margaret of Scotland School’s gym. Party proceeds help support the school.
Jo Convisser Korngut ’64 recently let the Alumnae Office know where she has been all these years—in France since 1972! “It wasn’t really planned,” Jo wrote in a e-mail. “I came here to visit some friends and then never left.” In her years in France, Jo said, she has taught English to adults in business; worked in the wine trade, and served on a project team in international telecommunications. She is married and has a son. Jo fondly recalls Spanish class at A.O.L., followed by French study at Loyola University, where she graduated with a degree in sociology. Once in France, she realized she needed more language study. She enrolled in a 9-month, “semi-intense” course that “laid the groundwork for everything that followed. I could probably write a book about all of my adventures here, and when something unusual happens, I tend to say it will be a chapter in this still unwritten saga.”
Virginia “Ginger” Meares Rugai retired in May as alderman of Chicago’s 19th Ward after five terms in the City Council. A farewell editorial in the Beverly Review recalled that Ginger was appointed to fill a vacancy in 1990 and won her first full four-year term in February 1991. While 19th Ward alderman, she served on several committees, and was chairman of the Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities. She also worked with Beverly area civic groups.
Carol Brookbank Nurisso currently teaches high school honors and advanced placement chemistry at Mercy High School in San Francisco.
Mary Clare Shevlin Loftus and her husband, Dr. Gerald F. Loftus, received the Shield of St. Xavier at St. Xavier University’s President’s Scholarship Ball in March. The award is given for outstanding support of the university. Mary Clare is an alumna of SXU. Gerald Loftus formerly served as medical staff president at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. Among other activities, Mary Clare served as a university trustee from 1996 to 2007.
Mary Pat Tuohy Morajda ’59 and her sister Janet Tuohy Terra ’62 were subjects of an article in the winter issue of “Regarding Health,” a newsletter of Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, IL. Pat and Janet were diagnosed with breast cancer at approximately the same time in 2009, and after surgery at LCMH, they received a new type of radiation therapy called intraoperative radiation therapy as part of a research study. The single-dose IORT therapy took place immediately after surgery. Mary Pat and Janet healed well and are enjoying good health—much to the relief of their sister, Elaine Tuohy ’71.
Nancy Merwick Brannan ’54 wrote to say that although the U.S. remains home for her and her sister Pat Merwick McEniff ’48, their sister Donna Merwick Dening ’49 has lived in Australia for many years. A longtime university professor and author, Donna has written extensively on American history.
Among other theater critics, Kathleen Dreyer Tobin ’48 gave actress Celeste Williams ’76 a rave review in the Beverly Review in April for Williams’ portrayal of Jessalyn Price in Julie Hebert’s play, “Tree,” at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre. Celeste played a family’s aging matriarch in a story of family secrets revealed when a white woman thought to be a stranger—but who claims to be a relative–arrives from New Orleans at the African-American family’s Chicago home.
Two A.O.L. alumnae will be involved in the 12th annual Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, KS, in August. Barbara Mikus Kelly ’54 is a co-founder of M.C.F. and a director of the three-day summer event, with sessions planned for adults, teens and children. In an article on the Wichita diocese’s website, Barbara described the conference as an opportunity to learn about current issues affecting the Church and to seek deeper spiritual growth through education and devotion. Among the conference’s scheduled speakers is Susan Tassone ’70, longtime champion of “the holy souls” in Purgatory. Her latest book is titled “Praying with the Saints for The Holy Souls in Purgatory” (Our Sunday Visitor Books).
Sister Miriam Patrick (Patricia) Cummings ’49 is now president of the board of directors of Corazon a Corazon, an SSND-sponsored program that provides English language and computer literacy instruction for Hispanic immigrants and tutoring for their children in a St. Michael’s parish building in the South Shore neighborhood. The new board president hopes those who benefited from SSND’s caring discipline in the past will lend willing hands to this current need: “We always need volunteers, mentors and, of course, financial help. This is not a tuition- or fee-based project. We rely on the support of donors and grants.” For more information, call 773-221-0620 or check out the website at www.corazon-chicago.com.
The memory of Jane Kiley Bigane, who died in April, will live on in a scholarship named for her at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago. Jane’s five daughters, McAuley alumnae, had established the scholarship in Jane’s name in honor of her 80th birthday in 2009. Other A.O.L. graduates in the family were Jane’s sisters Rosemary Kiley Hartrich ’44 and Betty Kiley Roach ’49.
Marietta Moore O’Hara and her husband, Robert, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in September 2010. As part of the celebration, their children and grandchildren expressed their love in an announcement in the Chicago Tribune.
A Chicago church’s Stations of the Cross fashioned of clay and wood from former school desks, collages accented with tar, and sculptures of ceramic, brass, copper, steel, stone, and woods from around the world were among artworks by Sister Gilmary (Dorothy) Lemberg, SSND ’45 featured the “Sacred Work, Creative Spirit” exhibit on April 9.
During the fundraiser in a sunny room at Mater Christi Church in North Riverside, IL, A.O.L. alumnae and other friends of SSND enjoyed refreshments and a leisurely stroll through the retrospective of Sister Gilmary’s work. Most of the pieces were sacred subjects created for churches and other religious venues from Chicago to Paraguay. Some were treasures created for the artist’s relatives and friends.
Several of Sister Gilmary’s smaller art works were on display. Others were represented by photographs mounted on long vertical panels. Sister Gilmary’s niece, Fran Gregory, also an artist, designed the exhibit and built the display panels with help from nephew Michael Dunworth and another niece, Gilmary Habenicht. Leslie Lopez of the SSND Mission Advancement office in Wilton, CT, and Judy Presta, Chicago area donor relations coordinator, also assisted with arrangements.
Before the majority of guests arrived, Sister Gilmary conducted a watercolor workshop. Small paintings made during the workshop were framed and given to their creators.
The exhibit’s program recalled that Sister Gilmary’s approach to art was fearless: “At a time when women were expected to work nothing more dangerous than a stand mixer for a batch of cookies, Sr. Gilmary was wielding a blowtorch, creating art from found objects and brass. Her work cannot be classified into any specific genre except, perhaps, as gift. Gift back to God, to society and to those she cherished. She never remained static, always experimenting with a new technique. No media intimidated her. She was equally comfortable blasting away rock, chiseling wood or mixing paint. . . . Her ability to transform cast-away objects into beautiful art had genesis in the desire to create.”
Proceeds of “Sacred Work, Creative Spirit” will benefit elderly School Sisters of Notre Dame and SSND ministries such as SisterHouse, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility for women, and Corazon a Corazon, a program that assists Hispanic immigrants and their children. Both are in Chicago.