Sister Cecilia Hatem, teacher and artist, dies at 82

COLUMBIA – Ursuline Sister Cecilia Hatem, 82, died Nov. 23 at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center.

A memorial Mass will be held Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Church. Final commendation and farewell prayers will be held at a later date in Louisville, Ky. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is in charge of the funeral arrangements.

Sister Hatem was born in New Straitsville, Ohio, a daughter of the late Jonas and Mary Hatem. She was an Ursuline Sister of Louisville for 47 years.

She was an educator for 43 years, serving 30 years as a teacher, art teacher, and most recently a teaching assistant at St. Joseph School in Columbia. She also taught at schools in Kentucky and Indiana.

Sister Cecilia had an ability to see beauty in every aspect of life. Her artwork reflected her love for the beauty of nature, especially flowers.

“She was a wonderful, wonderful person,” said Sister Christina Murphy, a Sister of Notre Dame and principal at St. Joseph School. “She could make something from nothing.”

The principal recalled that Sister Hatem pressed flowers to make pictures and stationery. She also made all of the flower crowns for the school’s May crownings.

Sister Hatem taught at St. Joseph for 35 years.

Sister Hatem retired two years ago but still came by St. Joseph every day to visit the first grade just to say hello to the children.

“She always had a kind word for the teachers and for me,” Sister Murphy said. “She is certainly going to be missed.”

She is survived by her Ursuline family; a brother, Paul Hatem of New Straitsville, Ohio; and nephews Joseph Maroon, Msgr. William Maroon, and Rev. Donald Maroon.

Memorials may be made to the Ursuline Sisters Development Fund, 3105 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY, 40206.