De La Salle teacher receives Order of St. Louis medal
Kathleen Calder, AFSC, became the third De La Salle faculty member to receive the St. Louis Medal from Archbishop Gregory Aymond. She joins the late Coach, Mr. Johnny Altobello, AFSC, who was honored in May of 1980, and the Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Warren Caire, AFSC, who was honored in May of 1983, in receiving the honor.
The Order of St. Louis IX award was established more than 40 years ago to recognize and honor members of the laity who have contributed their time and talents to the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Miss Calder was nominated for the Order of St. Louis IX by her pastor Msgr. Andrew Taormina, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church, Metairie, where she serves as lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Most recently, she completed a 32-page hard-cover book on the 90-year history of the parish. “When I retired from De La Salle after having completed 25 yearbooks there, for a total of 31, I thought I was done with yearbooks,” she said, laughing, “but ‘Father T’ had other ideas.” After six months of research, she finished the parish history, and it arrived the first week of August.
At the time of the medal presentation, when Miss Calder approached Archbishop Aymond to receive her medal, he thanked her for her service to the parish, but then added, “and thank you for your years of service in the Catholic schools as an educator.” A 42-year Catholic educator, with 33 years at De La Salle, Miss Calder said, “I was so surprised when the Archbishop said that. I didn’t really expect him to recognize me as a teacher, especially as I was usually hidden behind a camera taking yearbook photos. It really touched me.”
She added, “Receiving this award was an unexpected honor, and it puts me in special company with Mr. Johnny Altobello and “Doc,” Dr. Warren Caire. They were and are outstanding Lasallian educators and Affiliates of the Brothers. It humbles me to be in their company.”
Although officially retired, Miss Calder still volunteers at De La Salle organizing the Sports Hall of Fame and doing publicity articles for the school. On alternate days, she volunteers at St. Francis Xavier with the Sharing Program, also doing publicity and odd jobs. “I guess old war horses don’t retire; they just get involved in other projects,” she said, “but I’ll admit I miss working with the kids.”