Sr. Mary Kaye Nealen, a Sister of Providence, has enjoyed working at the University of Great Falls so much that she has returned twice since her original position in Student Development. She has wanted all her life to study theology. While a doctoral student in systematic theology at the Catholic University of America, she spent five months in South America. She wanted to experience, and not just read about, the life of the people and the local churches there. She then took up full-time teaching at UGF, with the joy of helping traditional and non-traditional students find deeper meaning in their lives.
The Sisters of Providence called her to Montreal, Canada, as General Councilor 1992-97. That time of service, of learning French, and of acquaintance with people of many cultures enriched her greatly. Since her return to campus in Fall 1997, she held the position of Provost and Academic Vice President for three years before resuming a faculty position. She loves to research, write, and talk about the church, Providence, ethics and social justice, and the mission of Catholic higher education.
Her response when asked, “What energizes you most?” was “learning, and creating new things.” In the footsteps of Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, Providence foundress in the West, she has “pioneered” several new endeavors with others. These include: the University Telecom distance learning system, begun for permanent deacon training; the Certificate for Lay Ecclesial Ministry with the Catholic Diocese; the LUMEN program to prepare teachers for under-resourced Catholic schools; and the Great Nurses Great Falls RN-to-BSN degree completion program with Providence Health & Services.