Sister Elena Almendárez entered religious life from St. Kilian parish in Mars, Pa. When considering her vocation, she recalls meeting Sister of Divine Providence Marise Hbrosky, who “seemed so peaceful and happy … I wanted to know what led her to be that way.”
Sister Elena earned a bachelor of science degree in secondary education and a master’s degree in formative spirituality from Duquesne University. In the early part of her ministry, she was the youth minister at St. .Matthew’s Parish in Pittsburgh (1986–87); she taught English at Vincentian High School in the North Hills of Pittsburgh (1987–91); she was youth minister at St. Mary Parish in Uniontown, Pa. (1991–93); campus minister at Vincentian High School (1993–94); vocation director at the Vincentian Sisters of Charity in Pittsburgh (1991–96); coordinator of community service at La Roche College (1997–99); spiritual director at Kearns Spirituality Center (2000–06); vocation minister for the Community (2000–06); mentor director for the Community (2007); and associate campus minister for service and justice at La Roche College (2008–12). At present, she is the director of mission and service at La Roche College, and she also serves as the interim vocation coordinator for the Community.
The Office of Mission and Service works with campus ministry to give students valuable opportunities to develop service and leadership skills while expanding their perspectives on the needs of the marginalized in our society. Sister Elena says of her ministry, “I try to make God’s Providence visible to my students by helping them to understand that the volunteer experiences are meant for them. It’s a way of helping them realize how Providence has touched their lives and how they can become Providence for others.”
Sister Elena, whose enthusiasm is infectious, says, “I am always interested and excited with life! I like to help people become their best selves, connecting people and resources that benefit them and the world.”
She is most passionate about being a full-time foster parent (since 1995, along with Sister Michele Bisbey). She says, “They [the children] have taught me so much about love and commitment.”