History of Ursuline Education Network


Ursuline Education Network, previously known as Ursuline Educational Services, traces its origins to a proposal that emerged from a meeting of the North American Conference of Ursuline Educators which met in Cleveland in 1989.  Ursuline educators had been meeting bi-annually since 1987. 

Those Ursuline educators realized that the future of the educational ministry, begun by the Ursulines, depended on a strong commitment by both Ursulines and their co-workers to the ideals and values of the Ursuline Sisters and the charism of St. Angela Merici.

The objectives of their proposed association were

  1. To develop a common understanding of Ursuline education;
  2. To investigate means of encouraging, supporting and developing Ursuline education in North America;
  3. To facilitate the preservation of the Ursuline charism and mission in Ursuline schools – elementary, secondary and collegiate;
  4. To provide mutual support and share creative ideas among Ursuline educators. 

In 1990, the North American Ursuline Leadership Conference (NAULC) accepted the proposal and commissioned an ad hoc group of three of its members to seek incorporation of a North American office for Ursuline education.  Subsequently, this group was expanded to nine Ursulines. Between August 1990 and November 1991 the group wrote a mission statement, drafted and filed corporate documents and formed the first Board of Trustees from nominees submitted by various Ursuline Congregations.  Thus, North American Ursuline Educational Services (NAUES) was established. The three persons designated to serve as Trustees until the first annual meeting were; Betty Bourgeois, OSU, Roman Union Central Province; Mary Jerome Buchert, OSU, Cincinnati and Janet Marie Peterworth, OSU, Louisville.

The mission statement of the newly established organization read as follows:

North American Ursuline Educational Services is a collaborative effort of Ursuline Congregations to carry their educational tradition into a new millennium. In the spirit of St. Angela Merici, the organization fosters education based on gospel values. It promotes the preservation and development of the Ursuline charism and mission in Ursuline-sponsored schools and other educational settings.

In May 1992, the Board of Trustees held its inaugural annual meeting and developed a job description for an Executive Director and established a budget for the 1992-93 school year. The following were elected as Trustees for the terms indicated: 

3 year terms (1992-95)
Carla Dolce, OSU
Donna Frey, OSU
Bernadette Hannaway, OSU
Mary Lawrence Sickman, OSU
Jean Anne Zappa, OSU
Angelita Zawada, OSU

2 year terms (1992-94)
Betty Bourgeois, OSU
Mary Jerome Buchert, OSU
Barbara Calamari, OSU
Ellen Doyle, OSU
Joanne Gross, OSU
Lois Lindle, OSU
Martha Mooney, OSU
Janet Peterworth, OSU

On September 22, 1993, the newly designated Executive Director of NAUES, Betty Bourgeois, OSU sent a letter to Ursuline schools announcing the opening of the office for North American Ursuline Educational Services in Dallas, TX.  Betty outlined the purposes of this new inter-Ursuline effort:

Its purposes include promotion and support of Ursuline institutions through joint projects and ventures. NAUES will publish and exchange information about the history, mission and traditions of Ursuline education. It will share resources on in-services, seminars and retreat experiences for trustees, board members, administrators, faculties, staffs, alumnae and other groups that support Ursuline –sponsored schools.

In 1994, Barbara Calamari, OSU was named Executive Director.  The NAUES office was in Bronx, New York. New Board members were: Joanne Callahan, OSU; Maureen Doyle, OSU; Miss Mary Pittinger, Cahol Shively, OSU; and Mrs. Shirley Gaede Speaks.

Lois Castillon, OSU was named Executive Director of NAUES in May 1996. The office was moved to St. Louis, MO. In June, 2007, Patricia Homan OSU became Co-Director with Sr. Lois. Lois continued working from her office in St. Louis, and Patricia worked from her office in Cincinnati.  In 2010, Sr. Lois left her position with UES and Patricia Meisner, OSU became Co-Director with Sr. Patricia Homan.

In 2006, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the organization to Ursuline Educational Services (UES). 

As part of an ongoing planning process, the Board of Trustees determined that the organization would be best served by having a full-time director. Judith Wimberg was hired as Director in July 2011. 

For many years, the Ursuline congregations named the members of the Board of Trustees. In 2012 the Board of Trustees, with the approval of the North American Ursuline Leadership Conference, amended the Code of Regulations to officially recognize that the Board itself names new members, taking care to ensure that schools in different geographic areas are represented as well as elementary schools, high schools and colleges.

In 2015, the Board of Trustees changed the name of the organization once again to Ursuline Education Network, which they felt more accurately reflected the orgainzation’s mission.