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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sister Beth Kelso

sister-beth-kelsoThis 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.

Sister Beth died on Sept. 23, 2012. ‪#‎throwbackthursday ‪#‎tbt

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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2 Comments

  1. Margaret Ann ONeill on November 3, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I love reading throwback Thursday. Brings back lots of memories. I was a student of Sister Thomas Aquinas so high school took me back awhile. I forwarded this to several high school womenthat I ma friends with on facebook.

  2. Kay Brentlinger on December 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I was blessed to have Sister Beth as my teacher at St. Agnes for Latin and Spanish. She made them come alive. One day in Spanish class she had the school’s brand new (1962) mobile language lab set up. We donned our headphones and she threw the switch: nothing happened! S. Beth fiddled with it briefly, then walked over to the holy water font in the doorway, dipped her finger in, walked to the balking apparatus, sprinkled a few droplets on it. Her room full of seniors looked at one another with skepticism and grins. She threw the switch again and…IT STARTED!! We stopped giggling and got to work.

    I stayed in touch with S. Beth over the years until her death and I miss her so much. She was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and friend.

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