For more than half a century a Columbus nun has devoted her life to serving the south side community. Now, 84-year-old Sister Wilma Ross is ready for her second act. The nun is retiring from the church and eventually moving closer to her loved ones in eastern Ohio.
Sister Wilma first came to St. Ladislas Catholic Church on Reeb avenue in 1964. This after first entering the church in 1958. Only in her 20s at the time, Sister Wilma said it was her destiny, “I felt like nothing else could have been,” Sister Wilma said. At the time nuns wore the traditional habit.
“The habit we have now is probably in a museum,” Sister Wilma joked.
Coming to Columbus was a bit of a mistake, Sister Wilma said she and another nun were switched at the last minute.
“I believe in God’s intervention,” Sister Wilma said.
For the next five decades, Sister Wilma taught at the church’s Catholic school, became a nurse to aid the sick and in the last two decades, visited people in their homes who were too sick to attend mass.
“I love my community, I love St. Ladislas, I love my family. I just love people,” Sister Wilma said.
At a recent goodbye party, hundreds of past students and churchgoers showed up to say goodbye.
“She has a laugh that is so contagious, it makes you want to laugh,” Church member and volunteer Sandy Martin said.
Martin will help take over Sister Wilma’s duties when she retires in mid-November.
“I am going to miss her, she is an angel, she’s my guardian angel,” Martin said.
After a lifetime of helping others, Sister Wilma is heading back to the Sisters of Charity in Nazareth, Kentucky for a time, then she will move closer to her loved ones near Dennison, Ohio.
“Its just been wonderful,” Sister Wilma said of her service.
But in true fashion of a devoted woman of the church, Sister Wilma believes in retirement, she will still be available to help,
“I know they will ask me to be on this committee, and that committee, and I can’t say no, so I’ll be busy,” Sister Wilma said laughing.