Nuns disappearing from the Catholic school system

It’s a phenomenon that’s been developing for a while. Now, the Norfolk Daily News in Nebraska takes note of what’s happening in their corner of the country:

Twenty-five years ago, having a nun for a teacher or principal was as common to Catholic schools as daily prayer.

Few were better at building morals and character, challenging students to consider the world beyond the classroom or reminding them that tucking in one’s shirt was a rule that civilized people followed.

With a shortage of nuns, however, there are fewer Catholic schools that have them as instructors.

Guardian Angels Central Catholic in West Point is one of the exceptions. Parents and teachers appreciate the presence of Sister Joellen Kohlmann in the school.

“I think it is important to have sisters be part of your faculty and present in your school whenever possible,” said Matt Richardson, principal at Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School.

“For many years, the nun — the habit — the sister — was synonymous with Catholic schools,” he said. “I think there’s a degree of living your faith that they can share with the kids —things that often times we as lay people may not right away think about. We are very fortunate that we still have Sister Joellen on faculty.”

Kohlmann teaches religion at the school, which is believed to be the only one in the Archdiocese of Omaha that has nuns or priests teach all the religion classes in junior high school and high school. The archdiocese extends from Omaha through much of Northeast and North Central Nebraska.

Justin Yosten, a junior, said his father and uncles were taught by nuns and he knows from talking to them that many of them are strict.

“It’s kind of old fashioned,” he said. “You don’t want to mess around in front of a nun because they will set you straight.”

Blake Hass, a senior, said having a nun gives students a deeper insight to their faith, which is one of the main reasons students choose to attend Catholic schools.

“They’ve been living the faith their whole lives,” he said. “Nobody knows our faith more than a nun or a priest living the faith.”

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