Women of Strength 2014

Dr. Michele August-Brady

Nominated by Sr. Marguerite Stewart, OSF

St. Francis Academy, Class of 1971, Ph.D, RN
A critical care nurse, Michele took on a number of roles ranging from practitioner, educator and manager. Highly respected for her excellence in nursing, care of the individual patient was uppermost. Having an interest in nursing education, she applied for a teaching position in the School of Nursing. Eventually becoming the Assistant Dean of Nursing, she worked tirelessly to bring the school to a high level of excellence. Her students benefitted greatly from her commitment to mentoring and to assisting them in reaching their goals.

Overcoming many obstacles and oppositions, Dr. August-Brady was instrumental in the developing the curriculum for Moravian College School of Nursing. Her efforts began in collaboration with St. Luke’s School of Nursing. She became a full time professor at Moravian, where she has remained till this day.

Involving the total person, her teaching extended well beyond the classroom. Students joined her in projects locally (Bethlehem Emergency Shelter) and abroad. She travelled twice to Mozambique, as well as to Honduras, to assist medical personnel in their service to the poor. In all, Dr. August Brady is greatly respected, by her colleagues and students alike, for her dedication, integrity and deep concern for the individual.

Dr. Brady received the 2011 Annual Distinguished Teaching Award at Moravian College and the 2011 Barnes Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Nursing Education.

As a wife and a mother of two and grandmother of one, Michele’s life has not been free from pain. She and her husband Mike instilled in their two children the importance of Christian values, the value of education and an appreciation for life. In 2007, Mike was diagnosed with cancer. With great love, Michele searched out treatment for a hopeful cure. A great support and consolation to her children, she lovingly cared for Mike until his untimely passing.

Michele lived with a positive determination to continue ministering and was a source of inspiration to all who knew her. Michelle went home to her God in March, 2015. We ask that she continues to pray for us who miss her so dearly.


Sr. Mary Xavier Bomberger, OSF

Nominated by Sr. Bonnie Marie Kleinschuster, OSF

Community service, service with compassion and integrity – these words describe the life of Sister Mary Xavier.

Sister Xavier, in an unassuming way, tries to “be the Incarnate Face of Christ” in every situation in which she finds herself. Whether as a teacher, as Principal of Saint Francis Academy, Provincial Minister of the Bethlehem Province, or as Minister General of the School Sisters of Saint Francis for ten years in Rome, Sister Xavier is true to herself and to her God. She exemplifies the Franciscan value of authentic “Servant Leadership” no matter what position she holds, and was/is able to lead with great wisdom and vision. She can be herself in any situation – always even-tempered, calm, gentle and soft-spoken, a genuine reflection of the Face of Christ to everyone.

As teacher and principal at the Academy, Sister Xavier was able to reach and draw forth the best from her students, encouraging them to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory and for others, while helping them to strengthen their areas of weakness. Sister’s ability to teach and to lead extends beyond the classroom and the School Sisters of Saint Francis. From 1999-2001 she served as Assistant Novice Director for the Eastern Common Franciscan Novitiate, and in more recent years as a councilor for the International Franciscan Conference.

Sister Xavier served the elder sisters as director of Villa Clare in the 1980’s and presently serves the US Province as Director of Retirement. Sister Xavier’s compassionate care for the elders among us sometimes is at great personal sacrifice. In every circumstance, Sister chooses the last place for herself, always treating others with respect and dignity.

Sister Xavier draws her strength and her peaceful demeanor from her life of prayer which helps her to accept life as it is, with courage and trust that God is in charge and that he continues to care for her and those she serves.

Caroline DiClemente Centoram

Nominated by Carla Centoram, ‘82

Caroline has lived a full life exemplifying the spirit of strength, personal integrity and success, despite obstacles related to lan- guage, religion, education and economics. She is a role model for the youth of today – a woman before her time.

Emigrating to the U. S. from Italy at the age of six, her life be- gan with the need to learn the language and culture of this New World. Rising to the challenge, she excelled in school, and also assisted her family with adjusting to their new environment.

Growing up a devout Roman Catholic, she experienced the pain of living in a prejudiced neighborhood. Being from a family of modest means, she suffered the torment of children who had more than they. Meanwhile, she observed her father’s ongoing generosity toward neighbors. Being raised during the Depression, her father’s family garden always seemed to have enough to share with those near by. She learned that the Christian way of life is to share with those less fortunate, even if the generosity is not returned.

A huge challenge for Caroline came when her father decided to withdraw her from school in her junior year. “Girls did not need an education to provide for their family.” Going against his wishes that she stay home to help, she became a seamstress in a factory. Here she eventually found herself in a battle with the Union bosses over safety and fairness issues. The Union heads did not appreciate any challenge, but especially one coming from such a young woman. They insisted on a work stoppage unless she was fired. Her supervisor, admiring her strength and integrity, turned off the switch to the sewing machines, declaring that if she did not work, no one would! Caroline was willing to risk her much needed job for the sake of all. The Union realized they were fighting the wrong woman and relented.

Soon after, Caroline began to also go to night classes to learn the profession of hairdressing. Once graduated and working at night, she slowly began to build up a clientele, until the day came when she was able to open her own salon and leave the factory behind. At a time when most women did not work outside the home, let alone own their own business, Caroline successfully combined a career and devotion to her faith and family. Like her father before her, her generosity continued in her humble willingness to share her wisdom as well as financially assist others starting out in their own businesses.

In the last several years Caroline has faced life threatening illnesses. At the age of 93, she is a strong example of fearless faith. Her belief, that God is always there for her and will guide her through prayer and worship, has been strongly instilled in her family. She is a shining example of life lived by Christian values of humility, charity and courageous faith.

Barbara Ann Karabasz Shotwell

Nominated by James S. Friend, Jr.

Barbara Ann is a woman of faith who sees her job as a way to express her faith and make a difference in the Church. As Senior Director for the Secretariat for Stewardship and Development, Barbara Ann has mentored many Development professionals in our Diocese. Her high quality work ethic, and willingness to share her expertise, has greatly enhanced many Diocesan Devel- opment programs.

Barbara Ann’s expertise reaches to the state level through her work with the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the School Choice initiative. For over three years, she courageously lead the charge in our Diocese on School Choice, to sway legislators to vote for a Bill that would offer more children an opportunity for a Catholic Education. The Executive Director of the PA Catholic Conference lauded Barbara Ann with praise for her enthusiasm and powers of persuasion and asked her to take the lead on many statewide conference calls to mobilize other Dioceses on this issue. Barbara Ann’s courage, persistence and optimism assisted the effort to pass the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program – the biggest win for Catholic Schools since the inception of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program ten years earlier.

As President of the Board of Directors for the Lehigh Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Barbara Ann has made a difference by promoting the high standards and integrity of the Fundraising pro- fession. An active member of the Board for many years, she distinguished herself by earning her Certified Fund- raising Executive (CFRE) license two years ago and is recognized as a leader in the fundraising community.

Barbara Ann is a mother, grandmother, wife and daughter who shows selfless love and strength to her family. Most recently, with love, courage and optimism, she cared for her father through his declining mental health. Taking care of a parent with Dementia is extremely difficult, but Barbara Ann lovingly continues to help her fa- ther live with love and dignity. Her husband, Bob, now faces serious health issues, and Barbara Ann has decided to retire so that she can be by his side.

Barbara Ann generously serves her parish and community through the following: Vice President, St. Francis Center for Renewal Board of Directors; President, Allentown YWCA Board of Directors; Member, Society of the Arts of the Allentown Art Museum; Coordinator of election volunteers, judicial campaign of Carol K. McGinley. A Graduate of St. Francis Academy Class of 1966, Barbara Ann is former lector at the Cathedral of Catherine of Sienna and has served as leadership on retreat teams.

Peace and all Good! We Would Love to Have You Visit Soon!


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