Apostle Stories

The Apostles have been blessed to have a storied history in the United States. Throughout our time here, and through our various ministries, we have crossed paths with a wide variety of individuals, many of whom have fond memories of our sisters. Here are some of the letters and notes they have written to us over the years.

How Were You Influenced by an Apostle?

Brother Charles Nuzzo, F.S.C.

"I was blessed to go to Saint Michael's School in New Haven from kindergarten to grade eight. One afternoon when I was in the fifth grade, I was waiting for my younger brother after school. I decided to make good use of the time, so I sat on the steps near the church and was trying to do my arithmetic as we called it in those days. Sister Michael, who taught sixth grade, was on her way to the convent and she asked me what I was doing. She could see I was having trouble, so she asked me if I needed help. I explained that I did not know how to do this work. She knelt on the steps and very patiently explained what to do and then made sure I knew how to do it. 

I finished grade five well enough. When I returned to school in September, I was delighted to find that Sister Michael was our teacher. My friends and I loved Sister Michael. 

When May came along, Sister Michael said it would be a good idea to go to mass each day to honor Our Lady. I started doing it. I was the only one. When June came along, Sister Michael said that since some students went to mass each day in May, why not go each day in June to honor the Sacred Heart, so I continued going to mass each day in June. As the end of the school year approached, Sister Michael suggested that if we were going to mass each day in May and June, why not continue going in July and August, and so I did. When I returned in September, I kept up my practice of going to mass each day. 

During my seventh grade, the men in the parish invited the boys to a Sunday retreat day at a monastery and I accepted the invitation. It was there that I met the brothers for the first time. It was at that time that I began to understand the concept of the religious life that sisters and brothers live. I began to see that God was calling me to be a brother. In a very real way, the way the sisters lived religious life influenced me greatly, but I began to see that my call had its roots in Sister Michael's invitation to go to mass each day. 

If we are asked again to answer this question, I will write about Sister Firminia. This time I wish to honor the memory of Sister Michael. After Sister Michael died, I learned from the sisters about the grace and dignity with which she faced her final days suffering with cancer. Sister Michael provided me with a good example once again. The memory of Sister Michael's influence in my life remains vivid and joyful. I continue to rely on her prayers and those of the other Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and dead. I am in my fifty-second year as a brother, so the example of the sisters and Sister Michael's inspiration are still influencing me."

Maryann Kowalsky

"Sr. Eleanor Perfetto has been my spiritual director for over three years. She has helped me find God working in my life through some very difficult times. She has provided me with a calm, loving presence as my life began to heal and embrace the more of my life in Christ. She has affirmed and yet challenged my movement toward chaplaincy and continues to love me unconditionally. I couldn't have been more blessed than the day I met Sr. Eleanor!"

Bruno Zuccala

"I was a student at St. Michael in Butler, PA. The sisters made a huge impact on my life, starting with Sr. Dorothea in first grade. She really helped me to be the person I am today. Her teaching of academics, values, and our faith was unmatched. We stayed in touch from 1963 till her death. Sr. Mary John in grade two helped me to become an educator. She helped me to learn when learning was hard for me. 

As an adult, I taught at Butler Catholic with many Apostles. Sr. Mary Grimi and Sr. Elizabeth Mary really shaped my educational philosophy. They gave me my start and guided me to this day in education. Finally, Sr. Coltidle, my first principal in 1963 really made me feel welcome and safe coming to school in first grade."

Hilary Kristan Kline

"Sr. Antonine, Sr. Imelda, Sr. Aloysius, Sr. Ursula, Sr. Charitas, and Sr. Ernestine and all the wonderful sisters at Sacred Heart Academy were truly an inspiration to me. Their intelligence, their deep faith, their patient kindness, and also their humor helped guide me during my four years at the academy. I was in awe of Sr. Antonine. She was an amazing woman of so many talents. Sr. Imelda was my sophomore homeroom teacher, who also taught chemistry, she was a beautiful soul, as was Sr. Aloysius, who taught French. I will never forget those days and those teachers!"

Marilyn Hunihan Kojkowski

"My littler sister, Jerry (Sr. Jerilyn Hunihan), has dedicated her adult life to being an apostle. She is compassionate, friendly, and a very good listener. After 37 years in the teaching profession, she has found her mission to be a chaplain at the Connecticut Department of Corrections in Hartford. She has accomplished and implemented programs in her 10 years there. She serves as an example of the love of Jesus. It definitely makes this biological sister of hers so very proud of her steadfastness, kindness, and sacrifice."

Cheryl Breitenstein

"I worked with Sr. Pat Kofron at St. Martin of Tours where she was a pastoral associate, and I was a parish secretary. We worked together in the office. She was very helpful to me, sharing her joy in helping others, and showing me ways to help those who came to the rectory for help. We did RCIA, vacation bible school, and PSR together with Sr. Pat in the lead. I learned so much about the Catholic faith and how to put that into action in the daily life of a working woman, wife, and mother. I am so grateful to her for our friendship and her vocation. Her humility and joy in service to others are what I try to emulate."