Catholic Schools Week

Sister Lois: ‘A true blessing’

Sister Lois Castillon, OSU, of Ursuline Academy of Dallas.

 

Special to The Texas Catholic

Sister Lois Castillon, OSU, has a deep love for St. Angela Merici. The rich heritage of Ursuline Academy of Dallas is rooted in the vision of St. Angela, who founded the Order of St. Ursula in Brescia, Italy, in 1535.

“She planted seeds for holistic education, and she was the model for developing the whole person, which is one of Ursuline’s core values,” Sister Lois said. “She had the spirit of service and followed the path of Jesus.”

Armed with a contagious smile, Sister Lois is that inspirational figure for Ursuline. Now in her seventh year, she is the academy’s director of mission and heritage and an advisor to senior students.

She is also Prioress of the Ursuline Sisters of Dallas and a member of the Campus Administrative Team and Board of Trustees. She served as Ursuline’s acting principal in 2010.

The St. Louis, Mo. native always wanted to be a teacher and was inspired by the Ursuline Sisters at a young age. She took her first vows at 21 and her final vows at 25. She’s taught or administered in schools in Springfield and Chicago, Ill., New Orleans, La., California, and Missouri.

“I always loved students, and the ones here in Dallas are so special,” said Sister Lois, who also teaches faith formation to fifth-graders at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson. “Ursuline students have such a desire to do their best and have an openness to learn.”

She prepares students for Freshman Convocation and Sophomore Serviam. She also takes an Ursuline Mission and Heritage trip to Montana with students every summer, and she’s traveled to Ursuline’s sister schools in Chile and Brazil.

“Sister Lois is a true blessing to Ursuline, and it’s clear that she is universally loved by faculty and staff, students, parents, and alumnae alike,” President Gretchen Kane said. “As a model of Christian leadership for all of us, she clearly displays both a personal and a professional commitment to the Gospel by working for peace, valuing her work as a vocation to the ministry of Ursuline education, and promoting a faith that does justice.”

The Ursulines opened their Dallas school with seven students on Feb. 2, 1874. Ursuline moved to its present-day campus in 1950.
Sister Lois said it helps students to have religious orders involved at schools, but she realizes she’s also surrounded by special lay leaders who are “companions on the journey.”

“I have such strong coworkers who have a deep faith conviction,” she said. “They’ll be the future. They’re willing to teach the mission, and they’re clearly passing on the spirit of St. Angela and Catholicism.”

It will continue to be Sister Lois’ mission at Ursuline Academy.

“As a touchstone for so many of us, she promotes harmony and provides the connective tissue for us which is her manifestation of the spirit of St. Angela,” Kane said. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with her, someone who I admire and respect and who so easily touches people’s minds, hearts, and souls.”