I recall my first visit to Winona at age 17. To say I felt awestruck is an understatement. Though hesitant about attending a women’s college, seeing firsthand the beauty of Winona and experiencing the Teresan spirit in action, imprinted a memory I don’t believe I’ll ever forget.
What cemented the experience for me was meeting Sister Mary Leontius Schulte in her home environment at the College of St. Teresa. You see, I had previously met Sister through family friends. My sister’s Godfather was related to Sister Leontius and we visited their family from time-to-time. That initial meeting didn’t mean much as a young child. I knew that Sister Mary Leontius “taught math” and my intended major at that time was math & secondary education. At age 76, and retired, Sister Leontius maintained office hours in the Roger Bacon Building. My mom and I enjoyed the honor and pleasure of meeting with Sister; a conversation both serious and humorous at times. Her engaging smile and sincere welcome created an opportunity to explore what CST had to offer, and not just academically. This impressively learned woman, an ambassador of not only CST but the Rochester Franciscans, genuinely expressed interest in me, my hopes and dreams for the future, and what opportunities awaited -- not just in academics but in a liberal arts education, grounded in our common Catholic faith and dedicated to women as leaders.
As my mom and I drove home, it became overwhelmingly clear to me: CST afforded their students everything I was looking for and the Rochester Franciscans, in particular, Sister Mary Leontius, exemplified the woman I longed to become – humble, engaging, learned, and inspiring. Thank you, Sister Mary Leontius!