The Keeler leadership team, from left, Brenda Mortell, Sister Bridget Dickason, Sister Patricia Seipel.
Two named as Keeler Center associate directors
The Keeler Women’s Center, a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, has added two women to the leadership team
Joining Sister Bridget Dickason as the director-elect are Sister Patricia Seipel and Brenda Mortell as associate directors. Sister Patricia began her duties this summer. Mortell began in January.
“I am confident that these three will build on the fine foundation of education and advocacy for urban women that was established by Sister Carol Ann Petersen and Sister Barbara McCracken,” said Sister Anne Shepard, prioress.
The Keeler Women’s Center, located in Kansas City, Kan., empowers women in the urban core through education, advocacy, personal and spiritual development. It was established by the Atchison Benedictine sisters in 2003.
Sister Patricia holds a bachelor’s degree from Avila College in Kansas City, Mo., and master’s degree from the University of Dayton in Ohio. She taught for 34 years in various schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, most recently teaching kindergarten at Visitation Catholic Grade School in Kansas City, Mo. She also served as the Mount’s vocation director for four years. During that time she helped with a “busy persons” retreat at Keeler.
A native of Maryville, Mo., Sister Patricia grew up on a farm with five brothers and a sister and was taught by Benedictine sisters at St. Gregory’s Catholic School. She credits her parents with modeling hospitality for her and teaching her to appreciate nature and its beauty.
“My mom and dad were icons of hospitality to others in our family, church and community,” she said. “It was from them that I first learned the gift of being hospitable.”
That appreciation for the virtue of hospitality, as well as the Rule of St. Benedict instruction to welcome Christ in each person, will serve her well at the Keeler center.
Mortell previously was the family services director at Heartland Habitat for nine years. In that post, she oversaw the home-buyer purchase, education and financial literacy processes.
She also was a community organizer and community safety initiative coordinator at Community Housing of Wyandotte County, was the Kansas City, Kan., study circles program coordinator for United Way of Johnson County and was a project coordinator for the Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce.
A second-generation immigrant and a long-time resident of Kansas City, Kan., Mortell graduated from F.L. Schlagle High School and Donnelly College and attended Rockhurst University.
She has served on the Keeler advisory board for two years, and teaches the monthly Common Cents classes at the center.
“I am most looking forward to serving God and people in need, regardless of their income or circumstances,” Mortell said. “There are no closed doors, just possibilities, at Keeler. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been providing case management services to those that need it on a regular basis, and to see them succeed is the greatest reward in life.”