Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sister Beth Kelso
This week’s Throwback Thursday will examine the life of Sister Beth Kelso, a Sister of Providence for 76 years.
Her grandparents took part in summer stock theatrical productions and during a trip to Canada, met a young Australian actor named Joseph Kelso.
Joseph married their daughter, Florine, and the family made a living in the theater. Their daughter, Elizabeth Carroll Kelso was born on Feb. 29, 1916.
After being taught by the Sisters of Providence in Marywood Academy, located in Evanston, Illinois, she entered the Congregation in 1936. The commentary for Sister Beth’s obituary – written by Sister Mary Roger Madden – said that as a child, she would pray daily “Dear Lord, help me to live and die as a Sister of Providence.”
After entering the Congregation, she chose the religious name Sister Thomas Aquinas.
Sister Beth graduated from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College with a bachelor’s degree in English. She later earned a master’s degree in Latin from Loyola University, in Chicago, and another master’s degree in Spanish from Indiana University.
Sister Beth taught in high schools and academies in Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and Washington, D.C. During her ministry time in Indiana, she taught at St. Agnes Academy, located in Indianapolis, from 1959-1968, teaching Latin and Spanish.
In 1955, she was featured as a representative of the Sisters of Providence in a photo in the Boston Pilot learning camera production for weekly features, including educational segments, skits and religious programming. The group of sisters from various Congregations who took part in the weekly features were eventually featured on NBC’s “Today” show.
In 1969, she began a ministry at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, teaching English, Spanish, Latin and theology. She also ministered in the Women’s External Degree (WED) program.
Sister Beth retired from the college in 1987 before beginning a ministry at Mother Theodore Guerin High School as a registrar, and teaching at the River Grove Adult Learning Center, both located in River Grove, Illinois.