Senior Living

M any saints and sinners have come out of Greeley County. This is a story about one of the saints. Sister Columba Casey was born Ellen Leora Casey on April 9, 1918, to parents John Joseph and Loretta (Dugan) Casey on the family farm near O’Connor. She currently resides in St. Catharine, Ky., where she has lived since 2002. She was recently honored on her 100th birthday. “The 100th birthday was a magnificent and grand celebration to honor our aunt, cousin, friend and the most beautiful lady in the whole wide world, Sister Columba Casey,” said niece Mary Ellen (Kelly) Peck of Idaho. “She’s an amazing lady who has blessed us with her kindness, keen wit and a memory that far surpasses many who are younger in years,” Peck added. “Everywhere we gathered, Sister was fashionably attired, tireless, independently spirited and ready for conversation with delightful stories full of her life-long journey.” Relatives gathered in Kentucky from as far away as Nebraska, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado. They came by plane and car to join the three-day celebration for Sister Columba. Peck continued: “During our stay, we visited with many of the sisters from the Greeley and Spalding communi- ties, including Sisters Maria Del Rey, Joan Dunning, Charlene Vogel, Joan Glaser, Collette Bauer, Pauletta Kelly and Regina McCarthy. We didn’t miss an opportu- nity to enjoy their wisdom, warmth and humor. They all looked fabulous and each visit was priceless.” Sister Columba grew up in rural Greeley County, just south of the county seat of Greeley, along with her two sisters, Mary McFadden and Gertrude Kelly. When asked about her favorite childhood memory, she responded, “I enjoyed going to school at O’Con- nor and loved life on the farm with my family. They both hold such special places in my heart.” E llen Casey entered the convent at age 17. Joining the Order of Dominicans, she took her perpetual vows on April 30, 1937. She would continue to serve the Lord, her faith and her order for 81 years. She received a bache- lor of arts in history, education and philosophy from Siena College in Memphis, Tenn. She went on to receive her adminis- trative certification for elementary schools, thus beginning a 52-year career in education — 31 of those years in the role of principal. Sister Columba eventually returned to Nebraska, where she spent many years in the Grand Island diocese. According to the Greeley Citizen: “Sister was dedicated to the development of the whole child for a better place on earth and for an eternal place in the kingdom of God. She taught her students to respect their elders, practice self-control (no shenanigans!), appreciate history, memorize poems, genuflect in church, pray the rosary, send money to missions, feed the poor, and support unwed mothers and their babies.” Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt applauded Sister Columba and her many years of service. “The people of the Diocese of Grand Island rejoice to honor Sister Columba Casey, O.P., on the occasion of her 100th birthday,” Hanefeldt said. “Her service to the faith formation of hundreds of young people across our diocese for 35 years has been the hallmark of her life. In her retirement from teaching, she served the pastoral concerns of the elderly and infirmed in Grand Island for 13 years. “One hundred years of life is indeed a milestone,” the bishop continued. “Across our diocese we also celebrate the great contribution that Sister Columba has made to fostering the kingdom of God in our midst.” C onnie Swanson, a Grand Island native, echoed the senti- ments for her former principal and teacher. “We all have bucket lists, I guess. Well, I do, and going to visit Sister Columba was on my list,” Swanson said. “My sister, • Controlled Entry Buildings • Community Rooms • Laundry Rooms • Inside Mailboxes • Elevator Within Building Call Now To Reserve Your New Apartment Home & Become A Part Of This Friendly Community & enjoy… These apartments let you enjoy the beauty and delight of senior living without the worry of yard work or home maintenance. 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Some of the services we offer include: • Housekeeping • Cooking • Errands • Cleaning • Laundry • Personal Care Serving the Tri-City Area Since 1988 Helping Seniors Live Independently at Home We care about our clients, their families, and about providing an in-home care service that offers choices, control and dignity. We provide trusted, in-home care for seniors who want to continue to live safely and comfortably in the home they know and love. Call Today 308-382-3436 The Righteous Broth- ers, featuring the iconic voice of Bill Medley, will performat Older Nebras- kan’s Day on Aug. 29. The concert will begin at 2 p.m. in the Heartland EventsCenter. Tickets are $6, plus gate, andare avail- able at the HEC office or online at Etix.com. Medley and Bucky Heard now comprise the Righteous Brothers. Med- ley and the late Bill Hat- field produced several memorable songs in the 1960s that remain popu- lar to this day, including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (1964), “Un- chained Melody” (1965) and“(You’reMy) Soul and Inspiration” (1965). Hatfield passed away in 2003. In 2016Medley re- vivedtheRighteousBroth- ers with Bucky Heard. In 1988 Medley re- ceived a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for his duetwithJenniferWarnes on “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” the theme song for the 1987 hit movie, “Dirty Dancing.” OlderNebraskan’sDay alsowill includea7:30p.m. concert by Christian art- ist Francesca Battistelli. Nebraska State Fair FanClub tickets are avail- able for both Older Ne- braskan’s Day concerts for $30. Fan Club tickets include premiumseating, a Fan Club pin and cre- dentials, no lines, nowait- ing and an official Fan Club tote. Fair’s Older Nebraskan’s Day to feature Righteous Brothers 100 blessed years Sister Columba has left a lasting legacy in Greeley County, Grand Island’s Blessed Sacrament School By Elizabeth King, for The Independent ■ Continued on the next page

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