January 27, 2012

2012 Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Providence graduate embraces faith in home, life and business

Katie Butt Beckort continues to use the principles she learned at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville to lead her life, her family and Butt Drugs, the independent pharmacy in Corydon that was founded by her late grandfather. (Submitted photo)

Katie Butt Beckort continues to use the principles she learned at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville to lead her life, her family and Butt Drugs, the independent pharmacy in Corydon that was founded by her late grandfather. (Submitted photo)

By Christa Hoyland (Special to The Criterion)

It took 15 years, but the faith that was nurtured in Katie Butt Beckort’s heart while she was a student at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville finally blossomed.

Raised in the Presbyterian faith, Beckort came to Providence in seventh grade because her mother, a public school teacher, wanted her to have the education that Providence provided. But she learned so much more.

“The teachers made a good impression on me, especially my religion teachers,” said Beckort, a 1995 Providence graduate. “My religion classes and learning the history of the faith built an appreciation for traditional religion in me.”

Still, she had stopped attending church in recent years. And when her mother encouraged her to return to Sunday services, Beckort instead chose to attend Mass. In the spring of 2011, she was received into the full communion of the Church at St. Michael Church in Bradford.

“What I was taught at Providence just stuck with me,” she explained. “I’ve always been intrigued by it. As I grew older, I had a lot more respect and understanding of the Catholic faith, and I wanted to be part of it.”

Now a member of St. Joseph Parish in Corydon, she plans to have her three sons—Blaine, 5, Duke, 4, and newborn, Henry—baptized in the Catholic faith.

“I have a strong passion for Catholic education, and I want my children to experience it,” she said.

Beckort said it’s amazing that she ever became a Providence student. Her childhood home in Corydon was about 30 miles from the school. Besides, no one else in her family is Catholic, and her father, Thomas Butt, was reluctant to send her to Catholic schools because he feared alienating his independent-pharmacy customers.

Despite those obstacles, a good education for Beckort was the primary concern of her mother. At Providence, she worked hard to meet the high expectations of her teachers and learned the need for community service. As she developed her strong work ethic and commitment to serve others, the then shy seventh-grade student began to grow in confidence.

“Not only did the educational experience change my life, but it was the atmosphere and the respect level that students were expected to maintain that made a lasting impression on me,” she said.

Today, she is a successful businesswoman who owns two Corydon-based businesses—the Real Estate Co. of Southern Indiana, which she co-owns, and Butt Drugs, the independent pharmacy founded by her late grandfather, William Butt, in 1952. She also is the bookkeeper for her husband Brian’s auction business. And she gives back to Providence as a member of its marketing committee.

Beckort said she never intended to take over the family business after earning a business degree at Indiana University. Yet, after helping at the store during a break between jobs, she has never left.

Her business and marketing acumen has helped the independent pharmacy compete with popular chain stores by offering such services as free curbside pick-up and delivery. She also modernized the store by installing a pharmacy automation system that fills, labels and caps each prescription bottle—technology not often found in small, independent stores.

Still, Beckort keeps the personal touch and knows many customers by name. Just as she learned at Providence, she treats each customer like they are the most important person in the store.

“At the end of the day,” she said, “you see what you do for a lot of people.”

(Christa Hoyland is director of communications and alumni relations for Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville.)

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