“Sr. Camille is such a solid pillar for us in the office and the entire St. Joseph Academy community, staff, students, and families alike. Jenny (Amaro-Lopez) and I found this saying that we strongly believe defines our dear Sr. Camille. ‘God is within her, she will not fall.'” – Diana Rios, Attendance Secretary for St. Joseph Academy
In honor of Catholic Sisters Week (March 8-14, 2020), we wanted to spotlight the Sisters we have on staff at St. Joseph Academy. Meet Sr. Camille Bena, who has held many roles at St. Joseph Academy (SJA) for 13 years. She has been a Felician Sister for 54 years.
What ministries have you been at and what was your role(s) there?
I taught grades 1-8 and some of my responsibilities besides teaching were: Religion/Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (C.C.D.) Coordinator, Reading Coordinator, Science Coordinator, part-time Librarian, Unit Leader for grades 3-5 in an Individually Guided Education (IGE) school, Cheerleading Moderator, and Moderator of Student Council.
I was an elementary school principal for 26 years. Six of those years were in the State of Wisconsin at St. Roman Elementary School on Bolivar Avenue in Milwaukee.
I was also an Assistant Principal for one year at St. Joseph High School on the southside of Chicago. While there, I was Head of the Discipline Board, in charge of the Maintenance Department, and a long-term substitute teacher.
In my 13 years here at SJA, my roles have varied. I was Human Resources Assistant, Marketing Assistant, worked in the Finance Office, was moderator of The St. Joseph Woman’s Club, Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) Receptionist, and presently I am secretary for ECEC.
Why did you decide to become a Sister?
Sr. Edward, a Felician Sister, who was Sacristan at my home parish was a major influence in my decision to become a Sister. She was someone “special” who I looked up to from the time I started helping her in church on Saturday mornings in fourth grade until I graduated from eighth grade. With my parent’s encouragement, I entered the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice (Felician Sisters) on Father’s Day, June 18, 1966.
What do you enjoy most about being a Sister?
As a Sister, I had the opportunity to minister in several parish schools, enabling me to use my gifts and talents that I received from the Lord to do God’s work.
Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to thank the SJA staff for your gestures of a smile, a nod, a wave of the hand, for your words of “Good morning/Good afternoon,” “How are you doing,” “Do you need anything?,” “Can I carry that for you?,” for helping me get safely across the back parking lot during the winter months, for bringing me to work and taking me home when I couldn’t drive, for your get well wishes and floral arrangement during my illnesses, and for many other ways you make my day. Thank you and may God bless you all!