St. Teresa of Avila principal to leave school to be prioress
Her secretary uses three “F” words to describe Sister Karen Brink, newly named prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.
“Firm, fair and fun,” said Brink, laughing in her principal's office at St. Teresa of Avila School in Ross Township.
“And not fussy,” Brink added.
Brink also described herself as impatient, impulsive and impetuous, plus, a sports-loving frequent listener to 93.7 The Fan radio.
Last month, Brink got the most votes when her fellow Benedictines solemnly gathered April 25, 26 and 27 at their Richland Township monastery to pick a new prioress — and president.
Brink, 67, will be installed June 15 at the monastery to succeed Sister Benita DeMatteis, prioress since 2008 of the 46-member religious community.
“I'm not solemn, but I can be serious when I have to be,” Brink said. “I'm excited about starting something new, and I dread leaving St. Teresa School because I love it so much. ... I'll miss the kids.”
Brink entered the Benedictines' community in 1963 and began her teaching career in 1966 as third-grade teacher Sister Sharon, her former Benedictine name, at St. Teresa of Avila School.
Nearly 250 elementary students and preschoolers attend the school. “They're already wishing her well and saying they'll miss her,” said Christine Mundie, the school's secretary.
Brink spent the last 12 years serving the children and families of St. Teresa of Avila School and the parish. She will move from her home at the convent there to the monastery in Richland.
“Certainly, we're sorry to see Sister Karen leave St. Teresa of Avila School,” said the Rev. Robert Vular, pastor. “But we're confident — with her leadership capabilities — that she will be able to take those gifts to another part of the kingdom (of God) to which she was called to serve.
“Her dedication and her love of the children will always be remembered.”
Vular plans to immediately hunt for Brink's replacement.
Brink — daughter of the late James and Gertrude Brink — grew up in the East Street valley of Pittsburgh's North Side.
As a girl, she admired the Benedictine sisters who taught her at the former St. Boniface School on East Street and former St. Benedict Academy in Ross.
“I wanted to be like them,” Brink said. “They seemed happy. I think they were happy.”
As a high school senior, Brink applied to join the sisters.
“My mother was very supportive,” Brink said.
“At one point, my father said, ‘If you don't go into the convent, I'll buy you a car.' Once the decision was made, my dad was fine with it.”
If she hadn't become a religious sister, Brink said, she would have been a wife and mother.
Instead, Brink spent the last five decades teaching and filling pastoral roles at schools and parishes in the Roman Catholic dioceses of Pittsburgh; Greensburg; and Youngstown, Ohio.
Her resume also includes a bachelor's degree in history from La Roche College in McCandless and master's degrees in education and theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Brink's selection as the Benedictines' new prioress entailed a “process of prayer, of listening to the Holy Spirit and of talking in community,” said Sister Evelyn Dettling, spokeswoman for the Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh.
“We were in the dining room, around tables. . . . Names are mentioned,” Sister Evelyn said. “Eventually, it gets to the point where maybe five people are asked to address the community publicly.”
In her public remarks, Brink talked about her unfailing commitment to her current ministry.
“If I'm selected for this position I will give 100 percent,” Brink told her peers.
“My focus will be on the three things that I think we all consider extremely important: prayer, community and ministry. … That's what we are about, and I will give my all to that.”
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Elite runner Clara Santucci visits Ross Elementary
- St. Ursula pastor to mark 50th anniversary at Mass
- Eight candidates to seek school board nominations
- Pine-Richland School Board race heats up
- North Hills, Shaler Area parents on their own if school bus drivers strike
- Photo Gallery: Bradford Woods Conservancy’s Earth Day celebration
- Photo Gallery: North Allegheny Little League opening day
- Pine-Richland Middle School student takes 2nd in geography bee
- Hampton 6th-grader shines at computer fair
- Democratic voters in Ross’ Ward 7 have a choice