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Published: Wednesday, 7/27/2005

Sylvania centenarian learns from life's problems

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Sister Mary Agatha Glowczak was born July 26, 1905 in Minneapolis, one of eight children. Sister Mary Agatha Glowczak was born July 26, 1905 in Minneapolis, one of eight children.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

It's not the routine days or even happy days, but the rough spots that "are the making of you," according to Sister Mary Agatha Glowczak, who rather nonchalantly observed her 100th birthday on Tuesday.

Sister Agatha, a Sylvania Franciscan since 1920, said the best thing about problems is that you learn from them and then you move on.

"People say things like, 'Oh, I'll never forget Nov. 5.' But they do.

"Ten years from now you won't remember it. You may forget it 10 days from now," she said.

"God has given us so many beautiful things to enjoy," she said, that she has always tried to enjoy the positive aspects of life and put problems and disappointments behind her.

She was born July 26, 1905 in Minneapolis, Minn., one of eight children. She joined the Sylvania Franciscans when the order was only 4 years old.

From 1921 to 1946, Sister Agatha taught in Toledo at St. Adalbert and St. Hedwig schools; at St. Barbara School in Cleveland; and at Central Catholic High School in Toledo.

In 1946 she was asked to take over as the administrator at the former Gill Memorial Hospital in Steubenville, Ohio.

She said most of the nuns at the hospital had been trained as nurses and wanted to continue caring for patients. Others who were considered "got cold feet," she said.

When asked to take the position, Sister Agatha decided that if it was what the Lord wanted, she was willing to try.

Although she had no training or experience in hospital administration, "you didn't need a degree to see that it was so neglected."

The first job was to clean the hospital and to get electrical and other systems into good repair, because some were a safety hazard, she said.

Sister Agatha was at Gill until 1952, when she took a position at Holy Cross Hospital in Detroit. She also began work on a hospital administration degree as St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo.

She returned to Gill from

1953 and was assigned there as administrator until the hospital closed in 1960.

St. John Hospital replaced Gill in Steubenville, and Sister Agatha was its first administrator and remained in that position until 1975.

Since then, she has held different positions at Lake Park and at Rosary Care Center where she now lives and is active in the prayer ministry.

Sister Agatha has degrees from the former Toledo Teachers College and a master's degree in science from Notre Dame University and in hospital administration from the University of St. Louis.

Sister Agatha's degree from Notre Dame was obtained by going to classes during the summers for 1936 through 1941, and it also left her with a love of Fighting Irish football and the sport in general.

She said that she enjoys baseball to a degree, but it's too slow, "and they tug on their caps and they spit."

In addition to her degrees, Sister Agatha has been awarded the Caritas and the Papal medals from the Diocese of Steubenville and the Poverello Medal from the College of Steubenville.

Agatha Hall, a banquet facility in Steubenville, is named in her honor.

Although it's been a while since she taught, Sister Agatha said she enjoyed it and considers herself fortunate to have had two careers while a nun.

"I've had a beautiful life," she said.

"I've met a lot of nice people and I've had success in both [careers].

"God was with me and I can still call on Him," she said.



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