Sr. Elizabeth Lang ’51 of the Order of St. Ursula passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 85, leaving The Academy to mourn her death and celebrate her life here on earth.
She was born into a large household of three brothers on September 8, 1933, with the name Betty Louise Lang. Most of her childhood was spent in Clifton, a time marked with tragedy at the death of her young father. Taught by Ursulines throughout grade school, it was obvious for her to attend St. Ursula Academy; yet it came as a shock to many that she entered Ursuline religious life as a senior. Regardless of any doubts others had, Lang became an Ursuline and assumed the religious name of Sister Helen Charles, in honor of her parents. Automatically, she became a leading force of energy behind The Academy, taking on “any and every job possible. If there wasn’t one, she’d make one,” recalls Service-Learning leader, Mrs. Curran, ‘96.
Below is a timeline of her career at SUA:
September 8, 1950: Joined the Ursulines of Cincinnati.
1954-1960: Teacher at Our Lady of the Visitation School.
1960-1973: Math, Religion and Latin teacher at St. Ursula Academy; founding Guidance Department Chair and Counselor.
1973-1979: Superior who helped to launch an Advisory Board for the Ursuline Sisters and the Academy.
First Assistant Director of the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
1979-1985: St. Ursula Academy Business Manager and St. Ursula Convent Treasurer.
1985-1994: St. Ursula Academy Alumnae and Annual Fund Director.
1995-1997: Launched the SUA Campus Ministry office.
1997-2003: Superior for second term.
2005: Received the Boys Hope Girls Hope Opportunity Maker Award for her support and guidance. Retired from her many years at St. Ursula Academy, supporting Campus Ministry both at SUA and at her residence Mercy St. Theresa.
2016: Passed away at the age of 85 in her sleep.
Sister Elizabeth was known during her active time at SUA as its very face and foundation. “She always had such a joyful spirit. She had a gift for making people feel welcome, known and loved as an individual,” notes Ms. Curran. Mr. Maliborksi related at the spring pep rally that Sr. Elizabeth was quick to correct him when he first applied as an assistant principal at SUA: “You may focus on what you can give to Saint Ursula. But never forget what Saint Ursula can give to you.” This message remains with Mr. Maliborski even today, reminding him to think reflectively about his job as principal at SUA.
During her time spent actively working at The Academy, the girls were so comfortable with Sister that she was often referred to as “Charlie” rather than the formal Sr. Henry Charles. Later on after Vatican II, Sister took on the singular name of Elizabeth rather than Henry Charles. Alumnae fondly remember her spunky, entirely Bengals-themed outfit when the Cincinnati team took the Super Bowl in 1988.
She is described by many former students to have been a favorite teacher who imprinted everyone, not just those involved in ministry. If ever a smile was needed, Sister was always there to give one. In spite of her many roles at The Academy, she was never to busy to bestow her favorite mantra of, “Don’t forget that God loves you!” Sister Elizabeth’s visitation begins at 4pm today, with the funeral to follow at 6pm.