Remembrance of the Life of Sister Carol Ann Ptacek SL
Loretto Sister Carol Ann Ptacek died April 29 at Loretto Living Center, Loretto Motherhouse, Nerinx, Ky. Her funeral Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Jim Graf May 8 at Loretto Motherhouse.
Carol Ann devoted nearly all of her 62 years as a Sister of Loretto providing nursing services to the Community.
What follows is Carol Ann’s autobiography from 2007:
“I was born on April 7, 1941, to Anita Brown Ptacek and William Ptacek at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Louis. I was the oldest of seven children: William, Jacqueline, Frank, Katherine, Barbara and Thomas.
“We had a very small flat which my parents moved into when they married and stayed in until 1968. It seemed to grow in size as the number of children increased. I remember, when Frank was born, I told my Mom that we had enough children. My parents paid me no heed. I was very fond of the children who followed Frank and I am very happy my parents did not listen to me.
“My Dad was a dental technician. After Jackie was born, he felt he had to augment his income so he worked at night and on weekend in stores like Walgreens.
“We all went to the same grade school, Holy Name, which was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. We had the same kindergarten teacher, Miss Ida, who did many of the same activities with all of us, for example, at Easter she gave us an outline of a sheep on which we glued cotton balls. MOM HAD A FLOCK OF SHEEP.
“I attended DeAndreis High School staffed by the Sisters of Loretto. This was not my first encounter with SLs since Mother had an aunt, Sister Irmintrude Brown and cousins, Sisters Nicholsons (James Catherine – Kathleen, Thomas Ann – Rosemary and John Ann – Ann). Mother also had another aunt, Sister Theresa Brown, RSCJ.
“I won a scholarship to St. Louis University where I was majoring in Latin. After my sophomore year, Father Jansen, S.J., head of the Latin department, called me into his office. He offered me a chance to finish my B.A. and get my M.A. in five years. I said, “No, because I am going to the Convent.” “Which one?” “Sisters of Loretto.” “If we can’t have you, that a good place to go.”
“I entered the Novitiate on Sept. 15, 1961. I was received on May 3 I, 1962, and was professed on May 31, 1964. After the House of Studies, which I left a year before my classmates, I was sent to El Paso, Texas, to teach Latin and Religion in 1965. I followed Sister Mary Ann Cunningham, which was a big job. When I was in Denver, Sister Mary Ann called and asked me if I would take some of her Latin classes. “NO. By obedience I followed you, but by choice I will NEVER follow you.”
“During the summers of 1966 and 1967, I worked at the Motherhouse Infirmary. I loved the work.
“After returning to El Paso in 1967, I decided that teaching was not my expertise. I asked Sister Ann Virginia Tighe if I could be released to try nursing. Something happened which made this possible so therefore for one and a half years I taught part-time and nursed part-time at Nazareth Hall Nursing Home.
“I got permission to go to nursing school in September 1968, and attended New York Medical College Graduate School of Nursing. I obtained my M.S.N. I graduated in 1970.
“I then returned to El Paso after talcing State Boards. I became the Directress of Nursing Services for the next 15 years.
“During the summer of 1976 I took a geriatric nurse practitioner course at Texas Women’s University in Dallas.
“In 1985 I moved to Loretto Center in Littleton, Colo., where I worked in an assisted care unit until 1992. During that time, Sister Joan Van Leeuwen and I worked on the total renovation of the building. A JOB I WOULD NEVER VOLUNTEER TO WORK ON AGAIN.
“In 1992 I moved to Loretto Motherhouse where I worked in the Infirmary for three years. Since 1995 I have cared for all the Sisters who want me to work with them and who do not live in the Infirmary.
“I have found my life very rewarding. The care of the Sisters is very important to me.”
A wake for Carol Ann took place May 7. Burial was in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery on the Motherhouse grounds.
Please keep Carol Ann, her family and all her loved ones in your prayers. May she rest in peace.