Give Inspiration This Lent

As we enter the season of Lent, a time of reflection and giving, we invite you to join the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in supporting the “Inspiration Center.”

Etched in Stone

Posted by Spalding Hurst

February 6, 2023

Joe Masterson is on a mission to honor his adored aunt, Sister Theodora Thornsberry. She lived and served in ministry in the historic home of Anatok in Bardstown, Kentucky, a two-story brick Greek Revival building built in 1847. As well as the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, the house was once home to Daniel Rudd, a prominent African-American Catholic journalist.

In February 2022, the historic home of Anatok was razed to the ground. Despite the loss of the structure, Joe was determined to preserve the memory of his beloved aunt, Sister Theodora Thornsberry. He carefully recovered a brick from the rubble, holding onto a tangible piece of the history of the place that had meant so much to his aunt and his family.

Joe took the brick and carefully etched a memorial to his aunt on the stone. He wanted to make sure that her memory would live on, even after the building was gone. The memorial was a testament to the impact that Sister Theodora had made on his life and the lives of those around her. It is a symbol of love and appreciation for a woman who had meant so much to so many people.

In etching the memorial onto the brick, Joe turned the moment into an opportunity to honor his aunt and preserve her legacy for generations to come. The brick is more than just a piece of stone. For Joe, it is a symbol of love, remembrance, and hope for the future.

He fondly remembered visiting Nazareth in the 1960s, taking in all the sights, sounds, and experiences that came with the visit. He recalls having lunch in the cafeteria, surrounded by the warmth and camaraderie of the community. He also took the time to visit the farm. He was struck by the strong sense of community that pervaded every aspect of Nazareth, and he felt a deep connection to the place and its people. These memories of Nazareth are some of the most cherished moments of his life and have stayed with him through the years.

Now, the memorial stone will be placed at Nazareth, preserving the family’s deep sincerity and remembrance for Sister Theodora. The stone serves as a tribute to the woman who made such a profound impact on Joe’s life and a reminder of the rich history of Anatok and the important figures who called it home.

“My aunt was a true inspiration to me,” says Joe. “Placing this memorial stone at Nazareth is a way for me to keep her memory alive and pay homage to all that she accomplished.”

With the stone soon to be in place, Joe can rest easy knowing that Sister Theodora’s legacy will be preserved for generations to come.


  1. Joe Masterson

    Thanks to all the Good Folks at Nazareth who were awesome to do this Remembrance

  2. Maury Collins

    Perhaps Sr. Theodora’s brick could be placed with those that were used to raise funds during the 2012 bicentennial and purchased by many alumnae – if you can find them. The several times I have visited Nazareth since then, they are no where to be seen.

  3. Mary Bonn

    Although I did not know Sister Theodora when she was at Anatok, I was in grades 2-4 across the street at old Bethlehem Academy in those years
    and have fondest memories of the old residence. Happy to read about this brick memorial.

  4. Barbara Gilmetti, SCN

    I remember Sr. Theodora very well. She was indeed a real sweetheart!

    This brick is a very beautiful gift in her memory.

    Thank you, Joe, for this beautiful remembrance of your dear aunt!


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