Franciscan Sister Receives Catholic Schools Week Elizabeth Seton Award

by Sister Julie Ann on January 25, 2010

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s-award-003.jpgNational Catholic Schools Week is celebrated by each of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity involved in this important educational mission of the Catholic Church. For Sister Leonette Kochan, OSF, this year’s commemoration holds special meaning. She was presented the Elizabeth Seton Award on January 25, 2010 at Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, AZ. This is the seventeenth year that Salpointe Catholic High School has presented this award to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Tucson.


Here’s a portion of what the day’s program said about Sister Leonette: 

  • Beginning in 1966, taught junior high in Green Bay, WI, Algomas, WI and Yuma, AZ
  • Held elementary principal positions 1980-2004 at Immaculate Conception School, Yuma, AZ, St. Mary School, Kaukauna, WI, St. Nicholas School, Zanesville, OH and St. Agnes School, Mingo Junction, OH
  • Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Director of Education 2002-204
  • Since 2004 Santa Cruz Catholic School principal, Tucson, AZ
  • constantly emphasizes the importance of Catholic identity in her students and those around her; believes in preparing students not only for the next level but for life by instilling the importance of discipline and respect
  • regularly participates in parish Masses, begins school days with prayer and encourages students to become involved in student liturgies
  • active leader, always present for student activities, fundraisers, family and athletic events
  • works closely with San Miguel High School and is on the St. Augustine High School board; Diocesan Sexual Abuse Oversight Board and assists with the Notre Dame Committee for South Tucson Catholic Education
  • Bishop Gerald Kicanas noted: “Sister Leonette is a strong, courageous and gifted principal who has worked tirelessly for her community. She is highly respected and valued by all in the community and has had a significant impact in its educational mission, both at Santa Cruz as well as San Xavier and in Yuma.”

s-award-011.jpgThe second recipient of the award this year was Brother Nick Gonzales, principal of San Miguel Catholic High School. Brother Nick’s commented, “This was a big honor for South Side Tucson, since both recognized are from schools from there. It’s like the scripture, ‘Can any good come from Nazareth (South Side Tucson)?” 

Any comments on this National Catholic Schools Week?

14 thoughts on “Franciscan Sister Receives Catholic Schools Week Elizabeth Seton Award”

  1. Congratulations, Sister Leonette, for a well deserved award! I was fortunate enough to witness first hand your love, dedication and joy as you minister in Catholic education. I am rejoicing with all those who “see” your talent and applaud you for using your gifts in the service of others.

    My congratulations also to Brother Nick. What an impact you both are making in South Side Tucson.

  2. Sister Rosangela says:

    Congratulations, Sister Leonette, on receiving the Mother Seton Award. I am happy for you in receiving this honor. Having taught at St. Agnes, Mingo Junction, OH when you were principal, I can agree with all the good things said about you. You were involved in all aspects of education. You have a quiet dignity about you and treat everyone with respect. Our Community is proud of you and all that you do and are for the people you serve.

  3. Sister Natalie says:

    This is an honor you would never seek for yourself, Sister Leonette, yet it is fitting that you were given this recognition. People do see and appreciate the commitment in your presence as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. Thank you for the dynamic impact you have made in a quiet, affirming manner. All the lives you have touched in Catholic Education represent an influence that is worldwide. May God bless you and Brother Nick, as you confirm hope in South Tucson!

  4. Sister Chiara says:

    Congratulations Sister Leonette! You are such a positive influence for your students! I am so happy for you! You really go out of your way to help the students you serve. I am sure they are also very happy for you. Congratulations! 🙂

  5. Sister Sharon Paul says:

    Special blessings to you, Sister Leonette on being awarded The Elizabeth Seton Award. May the Lord continue to guide you and give you the Spirit as you so graciously minister to others in Catholic Education and the surrounding area. Your fellow “Servant of Mary,” Sister Sharon Paul

  6. Sister Jan Villemure says:

    Sister Leonette,
    I am so happy you were chosen for this award. Your passion for Catholic Education and your tireless efforts at Santa Cruz are very evident to us. We have seen countless improvements in that school, under your leadership.
    During our work on the project for the Catholic Social Teachings I could tell you are alive with the mission of our Church.
    Thank you for all you are for Tucson, our community of Franciscan Sisters and our Church.

  7. Sister Mary Bodwij says:

    Keep up the good work. It was a very deserving recognition.
    Your mom would be so proud.
    Sister Mary Bodwin

  8. How wonderful Sister Leonette! It is great to celebrate this award with you and with all those whose lives you touch! Having lived and ministered with you on various occasions I know first hand of your compassionate outreach to those in need! It is a joy to know you!

  9. Sr. Helena Young says:

    Congratulations,Sister Leonette! It was quite evident when I had the privilege to visit you at Santa Cruz that you were a special person to the students and faculty and they were special to you. May you continue to use your talents and gifts for the children and families of Santa Cruz. Thank you for all you do for our Community.

  10. Sister June says:

    Congratulations Sister Leonette on receiving the Elizabeth Seton Award.
    I lived with Sister Leonette in Mingo Junction,Ohio. She worked tirelessly for St. Agnes School. Also, she was a good community member: praying, sharing recreation and doing her part around the house. God’s blessings as you continue your ministry in Education.

  11. Sister Annette Blonde says:

    Congratulations, Sister Leonette!
    What a joy it had to have been to receive this award – and you are so deserving of it. Being with you at St. Mary’s School, Kaukauna, WI, I experienced first hand how hard you work for the students, and the gentleness and care with which you treat every person. God bless you and Brother Nick with the strength and energy to continue your wonderful work in Arizona.

  12. When one Franciscan is recognized, we all share the joy. How wonderful to see and hear about all those who were able to be with you for this Catholic School Week award ceremony, Sister Leonette. As Brother Nick implies–there is much good happening in South Tucson.

  13. Sr. Delores Wisnicky says:

    Congratulations, Sr. Leonette! You are a wonderful servant of the Lord, always giving Him the credit. I praise God for you. I remember how you came to the island, when I was there. Your gentleness and compassion inspire me! God bless you!

  14. Sister Leonette Kochan says:

    Thank you all for your very kind words. Sister Julie Ann referred to the fact that a blessing for one of us in community is shared by all. I have felt this in a very real way, knowing that whatever we may accomplish in ministry is never accomplished alone. The support of our Franciscan community as well as the people with whom and among whom we serve are all a part of any recognition received. I am blessed with an outstanding school staff with whom I share the credit given.

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