In honor of National Catholic Sisters Week, we’ve asked several Adorers to reflect on how Catholic sisters influenced their lives.
By Sr. Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC
I was exposed to nine orders of religious sisters who taught at my high school, Central Catholic High (now Bishop McGuinness) in Oklahoma City.
Nine orders of nuns each had made contracts to teach certain subjects at the high school. (Adorers taught religion and science while I attended.) I was influenced by many different orders. I had an opportunity to see a smorgasbord of different religious communities.
That’s a different experience than most others.
This was the last part of the ‘50s. Some of the women were changing or shortening or not wearing their habits. I got to see those kinds of things as I was going through high school.
I found out these were dedicated women. I saw the human side of them. They had a lot of similarities, yet differences in spirituality. Some were quite conservative. Others were leading the charge for change.
Most religious communities knew little about their foundress or charism until after Vatican II, which asked us to look at those. I was the kind to always ask questions, and I was lucky enough as a novice to work under Sr. Evelyn Gorges who knew a lot about our foundress and our history from having worked in Rome for over 20 years.
If it hadn’t been for her and another professor, I don’t know that I’d be a historian today.
I have a doctorate in American Studies from Saint Louis University. At 74, I am Newman University’s archivist and director of mission effectiveness and professor emerita of history.