National Catholic Sisters Week: Carol Ann Petersen

Sister makes a difference wherever she serves

Sister Carol Ann PetersenSister Carol Ann Petersen closed out a chapter of her ministry on March 3 at an open house honoring her years as foundress and director of the Keeler Women’s Center, Mount St. Scholastica’s ministry for urban women in Kansas City, Kan.

Her next chapter will unfold at Sophia Spirituality Center, where she will serve as director beginning this month.

In the winter 2016 issue of Threshold, Sister Barbara Ann Mayer wrote about Sister Carol Ann’s varied ministries.

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Sister Carol Ann Petersen believes women religious have a history of educating and empowering women and they continue to make a difference in our world. She is certainly one who has made a difference during her 50 years as a teacher, a principal, an associate superintendent of schools and director of Keeler Women’s Center. 

“I have loved every ministry I have had,” Sister Carol Ann said. “I enjoyed working with parents, teachers, students, and volunteers. I especially enjoy being creative in responding to the needs of women at Keeler.”

As principal, Sister Carol Ann was recognized for excellence in Catholic school leadership and was nominated for NCEA’s “Outstanding Elementary Principal Award.” As associate superintendent of schools in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Sister Carol Ann supervised and mentored principals and early childhood directors and was a leader in promoting the Schools of Service program in Kansas City public and private schools.  

She is founding director of Keeler Women’s Center, a Mount St. Scholastica ministry that empowers women in the urban core through education, advocacy, personal and spiritual growth. As director she has formed partnerships with many agencies to provide programs and services for women in the greater Kansas City area, and has recruited, trained, and supervised a large cadre of volunteers. She has received numerous awards for her leadership and service. 

Sister Carol Ann grew up in Askum, Ill., one of four children of Harold and Marie Petersen. She came to Mount St. Scholastica College on a scholarship and earned a BA in elementary education. She holds an MS in education from the University of Nebraska. 

“I am grateful for the opportunities I have had for study and living with diverse groups of people,” Sister Carol Ann said. "My world is so much better than I ever imagined it would be when I came as a young woman to college in Atchison, Kansas." 

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Photos in the gallery below were taken by Jill Ragar, photographer for The Leaven, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.