February 15, 2019

Love of faith, spirit of generosity guide 2019 CCSV winners

By John Shaughnessy

Two individuals and a married couple were honored during the archdiocese’s 23rd annual Celebrating Catholic School Values reception and awards program on Feb. 7 at Union Station in Indianapolis. (Related story: The search to find the meaning in life drives Catholic education, speaker says)

Here is capsulized information about the award recipients, who were prominently featured in The Criterion’s January issues.

Jerry and Rosie Semler, recipients of a Career Achievement Award

Background: In their 58 years of marriage, the Semlers have tried to develop one guiding principle for their seven children and their 28 grandchildren:

“We just feel that when you’re blessed, you need to share your time, talent and treasure with the Church and your community,” Jerry says.

The Semlers have spent a lifetime providing that example for their ever-growing family, says Dori Dodson, one of the couple’s seven children.

“Being a Boy Scout, my father’s motto was, ‘You always leave a place better than when you got there,’ ” she says. “He’s taught all of us to do that. He loves simple acts of kindness.”

Service: That foundation of kindness has led to tremendous acts of generosity from the Semlers, members of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis.

For decades, the Semlers have been major contributors to Catholic education in the archdiocese, including their support of Bishop Chatard High School, Cathedral High School and Marian University, all in Indianapolis; Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad; and the parish schools of St. Pius X, St. Luke the Evangelist and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Indianapolis.

But Jerry’s greatest impact may have been on Catholic elementary schools in the inner-city of Indianapolis. The chairman emeritus of American United Life Insurance Company, he has been the chairperson of archdiocesan campaigns to benefit these schools and continues to serve on the boards of many civic and charitable organizations.

Rosie has also been involved in community causes even while caring for their children. She has served on the boards of 10 charitable and faith-based organizations, including the Day Nursery, the Family Advocacy Center, the St. Vincent Foundation and the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild.

Their Catholic faith is at the heart of everything they have done together to make a difference, the Semlers say.

Quote: “There’s an opportunity gap for a lot of inner-city kids,” Jerry says. “If you want a community that’s thriving and well-educated, it’s important that we take care of this opportunity gap and the educational gap.”

Virginia Marten, recipient of a Career Achievement Award

Background: The early morning scene offers an insightful glimpse into just how much their Catholic faith has always meant to Virginia and John Marten.

Every morning, the couple gathered their family together for prayer in front of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“We just thought it was important for us to be together and pray together—that it would sustain us all,” Virginia says. “Faith was a huge part of our family’s life.”

It still is. The 11 children—who all attended Catholic grade schools, high schools and colleges—are grown now. And their Catholic faith remains a vital part of their lives.

While faithfulness has been a hallmark of the family, so has Virginia’s generosity to Catholic education and Catholic institutions. She shared that approach with her husband during their 38 years of marriage before he died in 1985. That’s why she views her Career Achievement Award as an honor for them as a couple.

Service: That generosity has benefitted many ministries of the archdiocese.

In Indianapolis, Marian University, St. Vincent Health, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House have also benefitted from her foundation, as well as her home parish of St. Luke the Evangelist. The University of Notre Dame and Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad are also on that extensive list.

Virginia views it all as a return on the gifts of faith and family she’s been given.

Quote: “Faith is the biggest part of my life. And just having all the children was a blessing for me. There’s been a lot of joy in my life.”

Pat Musgrave, recipient of a Career Achievement Award

Background: For 24 years, Pat Musgrave led the nationally-recognized special education program at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis.

Roncalli president Joseph Hollowell says the program that is called STARS—Students That Are Ready for Success—“may be the biggest success story in our school’s history.”

“Today, Catholic educators come from all across the country to observe and learn from the Roncalli STARS program,” Hollowell says. “Pat’s efforts have truly impacted our nation’s Catholic schools.”

Service: Musgrave’s goals for her students included three foundations: Make them realize they have strengths, that they could have success, and that they are a valuable part of their community.

Beyond leading the students in the STARS program, she also strived to connect with the other students at Roncalli. Before retiring last year, she also served as a costume coordinator in the theater department, an adult leader on service trips to Appalachia, and an adult leader on spiritual retreats.

“It’s been very rewarding,” says Musgrave, a member of St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis and a 1973 graduate of Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville. “I felt like a member of the family at Roncalli. I just enjoyed being part of a community that allowed me to talk to the kids about my faith and their faith—to talk about morals and values.”

Quote: “I had 12 years of Catholic education. I always felt it was a very good, very challenging education. It also challenged me to serve others.” †

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