“In stillness and in quiet confidence is my strength.”
Seventy-five years as a Grand Rapids Dominican has been a very exciting and rewarding experience for me. I am the second oldest in my family of three boys and three girls. My parents, Wenz and Emma Nietling Kulhanek, chose Chesaning, Michigan as our home, and there at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School is where I received my education through the ninth grade. Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters were my teachers, and from them I learned about the Aspirancy Program at Marywood Academy. I was an Aspirant for three years. In September of 1947 I entered the Postulancy and took my mother’s name, Emma.
For a number of years my ministry was Teacher and Principal of a number of large and small schools in Michigan. In some of these schools I taught the upper grades and helped coordinate the staff and curriculum. Work in inner-city was of special interest and rewarding to me. Some students came back to tell me that they were glad they were taught for the ‘future’ – not just for the moment.
My other ministries included pastoral care for the elderly in Northview Manor and volunteering on the Marywood Campus as a visitor: reading, listening, and assisting with letter writing. How rewarding this was for me.
For enjoyment I have enjoyed reading, walking, playing cards, and traveling, especially with my family and close friends. I feel blessed to have lived such a full life.
2023 – 75 Years a Sister
Pray for the moral integrity of our country and our community
Sister Emma found and brought joy to the classroom and her students.
Later in life, she reflected on a level of brokenness of youth and young adults in society: “So many are consumed by materialism and excessive individualism; they fall to peer pressure and are looking for happiness in all the wrong places.”
Sister Emma teaching at St. Andrew’s School in 1995. “There are so many different ways you can preach,” said Sr. Emma.
In 2009, St. Andrew’s awarded Sister Emma and the Dominican Sisters the Faith in Humanity Award at the annual benefit of the Hugh Michael Beahan Foundation, which raises money for scholarships to help diversify the St. Andrew’s student body.
Grades 7 and 8 in 1994 at St. Andrew’s
Sister Theresa Bray and Emma pictured on the right celebrating 75 years of Dominican Sisters at St. Andrew’s School in 1964
Sr. Emma Kulhanek with the Class of 1947.