Sister Katie Gaspard, O.P.
Sister Katie was born in Port Arthur, Texas. She attended DeQueen Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Junior High and Thomas Jefferson High School all in Port Arthur She has six siblings and has many fond memories of her time with her family. “It was very lively growing up in my family. My family has always supported each other and we knew we could depend on each other for anything.” Christmas Eve was always very special, including gatherings of over 60 family members.
“I was introduced to the Dominican Sisters at St. Joseph Catholic School in Port Arthur. I volunteered to coach the softball team at the school. I was going to be a teacher and thought this would give me a good opportunity to see if I really wanted to work with children. I met a group of fun-loving, happy, hard-working women.
In August 1977 she entered the convent. “I knew I was searching to do something more in my life. When I entered I convinced myself that I would give it one year. Well, almost 37 years later I am still here.”
Sister Katie began her teaching in 1977 at Holy Name Catholic School. She went on to teach for 3 years at Hartsfield Elementary in Houston where she worked with Special Education Students. From 1982-1994 she was teacher, campus minister, Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at St. Pius X High School. “I loved that school. I have wonderful memories of teaching with several other sisters. It was hard and challenging work.”
In 1995 Sister Katie worked as an administrator at the Southern Dominican Volunteer Program, a counselor at the Resurrection Catholic School and as case manager at El Centro de Corazon. “I would visit the teen mothers in different government housing in the Second Ward. The poverty that I saw in the shadows of downtown Houston was unforgettable.”
In 1999 she moved closer to her childhood home to be near her father where she served as Assistant Principal and religion teacher at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School for two years. Next Sister Katie found herself at Port Neches Groves High School. She still teaches there today. “This experience has been a challenge, as well as rewarding. For the past 12 years I have helped my students learn how to function in society, gain confidence, express feelings they may have and learn how to deal with anger. Helping my students move from a self-contained room to being able to function independently in other classrooms is rewarding.”
For now Sister Katie’s ministry is at Port Neches Groves High School. When the time comes for her to leave she would like to help create a Special Education program in the Beaumont Diocese. “I have always believed that every student has the right to a Catholic education if they choose to attend, regardless of finance or mental ability.”
From notes submitted by Sister Katie Gaspard, O.P. 2014.