Sarah Kiefer is a Catholic Community Connection (CCC) 2017 Summer Fellow and Ursuline College graduate who will be attending University of Dayton School of Law in the fall. Sarah is employed at the Sisters of Charity Health System (SCHS). She is assisting the legal counsel of the Health System, Shannon Jerse, Esq. and Health System staff. She is participating in the program to develop as a legal professional, to grow spiritually and intellectually in a way that reinforces that sacredness of ethical behavior, and to develop as a future leader, so that she can ensure the continuation of excellence in the legal field.
To develop professionally, she will be supporting and observing Shannon Jerse, Esq. observing the everyday functions of an attorney in action by attending meetings and trials, learning the nature of the profession with each experience. She will also be writing memos to keep everyone up to date on the latest happenings with health care policy, the federal budget, funding for mental health and addiction programs, education, child care services (pre-natal to age 18) and charitable housing at the state and federal levels. She is conducting research on how the Catholic Church is responding to these issues and includes Catholic advocacy in the memos.
Sarah commented; “It’s definitely teaching me what I… want to do as far as when I enter the field as a legal professional. I think I like [going to] trial, because my previous internship was at the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office and I loved it there.”
Sarah has accompanied Shannon to observe the settlement of a suit, after which she said; “I found it quite interesting to see how well attorneys can communicate, even when they’re on opposite sides of the table.”
Shannon Jerse, Esq. and Sarah Kiefer
Sarah will continue her spiritual development through bonding with her Sister companion, Sr. Felicia Petruziello, CSJ. Sr. Felicia was a teacher, pastoral minister, clinical counselor. After her career in education, she was elected to the leadership team of her order. She then co-found the Women’s Outreach Center in Cleveland, where she ministers to formerly homeless women and acts as co-director.
Sarah has formed a bond with Sister Felicia, stating that “she is just so sweet, friendly, and funny. We both love to laugh, and at lunch we sat and joked for a lot of the time, but I have a lot of respect for her and what she does. They call her the “Street Nun”, which I think is hysterical, because she’s so tiny. It’s so neat to see the amount of compassion and love she has for people in need.”
Sarah believes she has grown as a leader through her experiences as a CCC Summer Fellow interning at Sisters of Charity Health System. By collaborating with Shannon Jerse, Sr. Felicia, and her direct supervisor, Heather Stoll, Vice President of External Affairs, she has experienced the model of leadership that will allow her to flourish in her legal career.
Sarah shared thoughts on her experience: “I am just really grateful to be here, everybody has just been so incredibly supportive. The events that we [the summer fellows] get to go to [namely, benefit lunches, baseball games, and Fellow Fridays] are also really fun to be a part of.”