When Sister Isabel Rudge began to work at St. Columba Cathedral Parish in 1997, she continued a tradition that has been true of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown since 1874. The Ursulines first came to Youngstown at the request of Fr. Patrick Brown who was pastor of St. Columba. He wanted nuns to teach in the parish school. Among those who came from Cleveland was his blood sister, Sr. Angela Brown.
The Ursulines continued to teach at St. Columba until the school closed in 1972. Even after the school closing, Ursuline Sisters maintained a close connection to the parish.
Sister Isabel knew that well. She was baptized at St. Columba, received her First Communion there and was confirmed at St. Columba. She went to St. Columba School before going to Ursuline High School. She entered the Ursuline Nuns in 1948 from St. Columba Parish.
Now she has worked at the parish in a variety of capacities for over 12 years. Among her responsibilities are Religious Education, visiting the sick at home or in hospitals and nursing homes, and coordinating the parish outreach ministries. In these days of economic distress, that job has been a real challenge. Everyday more people knock on the door and ask for help. Sister Isabel meets each one with a smile. And she has learned how to get them the help they need: a bus pass, a food voucher, a bag of food from the pantry, or a voucher to help with utilities.
For 135 years, the Ursulines have been at St. Columba. Sister Isabel knows that she joins the Ursuline Nuns who went before her. That kind of perseverance in serving God’s people is one of the hallmarks of the Ursulines.