WAY back in 1990, when I first came on board at Blessed Sacrament Academy as director of the then 1 year old Child Development Center, I had a LOT to learn about the ins and outs of running a business and leading a team. Before that, all the teams I had coached were kids. I had just wrapped up 11 years teaching elementary grades. I had taught 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and 6th grade, along with junior high Spanish. My last two years I "moved upstairs" to new adventures teaching 6th grade. So there I was, moving from "puberty" to "potty training" from one day to the next.
Learning the ropes of reading financial reports instead of doing report cards was a daunting task. Lucky for me, Sr. Agnesine Heinsch was ready to take on a new pupil. She had been managing the finances at BSA for some time when I came on the scene with hopes and dreams of creating a top quality early childhood center. Empowered by the visionary leadership of Sr. Odilia Korenek, CEO, I began the task of learning the many facets of helping to run a non-profit.
Sr. Agnesine taught me so much...and it was much more than assets and liabilities and how to code expenses and revenue. Her quiet persistence and patience were a gift to me. In our time together, I learned that she was born the same year as my mother...that she attended grade school at the school where I had taught elementary grades and that she came to high school right here at Blessed Sacrament Academy. When God called her to religious life, she joined the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament Sisters...the same congregation that owns and operates BSA.
We shared a love of plants and pets. Many years ago, when she was away for a week, my children and I watered her plants and fed her 3 legged kitty, "Hoppy".
My children grew up here, and Sr. Agnesine ( called Sr. Magazine by my then 3 year old) was one of their convent "grandmothers".
As the programs at BSA grew, Sr. Agnesine took on new tasks and was always there to assist, explain and support whatever program or project we were working on. 27 years later, I still consider her a mentor and a friend.
When Sr. Agnesine retired to the motherhouse in Victoria last fall, I brought home several of the plants she had nurtured and cared for. We are still connected! Her mission to help others continues at the Sisters' motherhouse in Victoria. She no longer has to "keep the books", but she will always be a shining star in my book!