Our pastor, Fr. Sergio Mena, hails from the town of Mazatecochco, Mexico, located in Tlaxcala, the smallest state of Mexico, about a two hour drive southwest of Mexico City. His first assignment in the Chicago area was at St. Frances of Rome Church, here in Cicero. He attended elementary and high school in Mexico, and in 2006 he came to the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. Father Mena always thought he would get married and have a family, and at 18 years old, he was planning to build a house for his future family to live in. Then he went on a spiritual retreat and everything changed. “I was experiencing God in a very particular way,” he said. “It was God who touched my heart and called me to the priesthood. I did not know anything about priesthood or religious life.” His father objected at first, but then, when he saw his son was serious, supported him. He looks to the example of a priest offered by a Latin American bishop: “A priest should be a disciple missionary of Jesus the good shepherd. He should be a man of prayer, well integrated in his humanity, with a profound experience of God, with extraordinary love for the Church and therefore for his brothers and sisters.” He also looks to the example of Father Felipe Cuamatzi Cano, a Bible scholar and former rector of the seminary in his home diocese. “I learned a lot in his class but also in the way he was forming us,” Mena said. “He always taught us how to be a good shepherd of the people of God. For example, he was always with us playing, praying and working. His presence produced a profound impact on my formation. He was like Jesus with the Twelve.”
Fr. Sergio Mena
Mr. Frank Zárate, Jr.
Frank Zarate, Jr., is proud to serve as the principal at Our Lady of Charity School. Mr. Zarate holds a B.A. degree from UIC with a double major in the Teaching of English and the Teaching of Spanish, and an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership, also from UIC. His 2013 doctoral degree is from National Louis University in Chicago, where he wrote his dissertation on reducing out of school suspension rates. Mr. Zarate has taught all grade levels, from kindergarten to high school seniors, in both private and public schools, and has worked in a variety of school administration capacities. It is his goal at OLC to help create "saints and scholars," and to make a Catholic education a reality for any parents desiring it for their child.
Ms. Candelaria Rosales
Hello! My name is Candelaria Rosales, and I am the Marketing Director at Our Lady of Charity. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a minor in Latin American Studies. Prior to Our Lady of Charity, I was the Marketing and Development Director at Our Lady of Grace School, located on the north side of Chicago for 4.5 years. I have a background in photography, arts, and journalism. I am excited to be part of a new Catholic community this year and to work with our families in continuing to make OLC the place to be!
Mrs. Norma Avalos
Mrs. Avalos has been the school secretary at Our Lady of Charity since 2013. She herself is a graduate of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese, having attended elementary school at St. Anthony School in Roseland and high school at St. Elizabeth Seton in South Holland. Much of her career was spent at Univision as an assistant to the general sales manager. Mrs. Avalos said the best thing about her job at OLC is “assisting the staff, the families, and the children.” She is a strong believer in Catholic education, having sent her own children to Catholic schools as well.
Mr. Sean Knight
Mr. Sean Knight graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Education majoring in both secondary education and community health education. He immediately began teaching preschool in a classroom setting in summer of 2000. A few years later he began working on his master’s in early childhood education and graduated from Roosevelt University in 2008. When he thought he was finally done with schooling, he returned to obtain his English as a Second Language endorsement from Kendall College. He additionally teaches at National Louis University. Prior to joining the Our Lady of Charity family, Sean taught at various nonprofit early childcare facilities around Chicagoland.
Ms. Julie Contant
Miss Contant received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a middle school endorsement from Northern Illinois University. She earned her English as a Second Language certificate in 2017 from Northeastern University and has been teaching at the primary level for the past 5 years. Miss Contant grew up in the Chicago suburbs and attended a Catholic school during her grammar school years. She currently teaches kindergarten and is loving it.
Her two Dutch Shepard / Labradors, named Peanut and Cashew, turn three in March 2022. Miss Contant loves relaxing outdoors and spends her free time with her family and friends going mini golf or practicing another language like Spanish and sign language.
Ms. Marisa Villasenor
Miss Marisa Villaseñor began working at Our Lady of Charity in 2018 after receiving her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Lewis University. She holds her English as a Second Language Endorsement and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Second Language Special Education from Roosevelt University. Working at OLC provides Miss Villaseñor with the ability to enrich students with a Catholic education. She loves providing her 1st Grade class with as many educational opportunities as possible to grow as a Saint and Scholar.
Ms. Kate Cary
Ms. Cary received a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning Elementary Education from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Clarke University. She has been teaching at OLC for 11 years. Ms. Cary enjoys spoiling her 12 nieces and nephews, exploring nature, and working with children and animals. In fact, Ms. Cary published a book about animals that can be found in Illinois, called Illinois Animal Alphabet.
Mrs. Helen Immordino
Mrs. Immordino graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and holds an endorsement in Social Science as well. This is her 25th year in education and she has taught all grade levels from first through sixth. She has had the opportunity, at a personal and parental level, to experience the outcome of a Catholic education, and firmly believes in the many benefits a Catholic education provides, both academically and spiritually. Mrs. Immordino enjoys spending time with her family, reading, running, and being outdoors.
Ms. Mary Tierney
Miss Tierney attended Catholic grammar schools, high school, and college in the Chicagoland area. She earned her bachelor's degree at Saint Xavier University, and was a teacher’s aide in a Special Education classroom in the Burbank School District 111 for two years before coming to Our Lady of Charity School. She has taught here for over thirty years. In 2017 Miss Tierney received her Illinois State Board of Education endorsement in teaching English as a Second Language.
Mr. Karl Holub
I graduated from Columbia College in Chicago with a BA, and minored in communications. My first job was at WLS talk radio. From there I operated a mortgage company from 1998 until 2010. I went back to Roosevelt University to get my education degree with a master's in Education. I have two children Ethan, a graduating senior attending the University of Illinois, and Dori, a high school sophomore. My first teaching job was as a STEM teacher. I was later hired at Our Lady of Charity, and am the 5th-grade homeroom teacher. Teaching at OLC has been a wonderful experience. I coached soccer my first year and have a great relationship with my students and parents. I'm a true believer in the quote, “Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I enjoy coming to work every day educating my students. God Bless.
Ms. Maura Mullins
Ms. Mullins received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from National Louis University. She grew up in Orland Park, and attended Catholic grade school, high school, and college. She feels lucky to be able to teach at a Catholic school; especially OLC! Ms. Mullins started teaching at Our Lady of Charity in 2016. Ms. Mullins is a third-generation teacher. Outside of school, Ms. Mullins is a huge Chicago Bears fan, she also enjoys going to concerts, and spending time with her two adorable nieces and nephew. Ms. Mullins loves being able to share her faith and love of reading with her students.
Mr. Joseph Letendre
L. Joseph Letendre has been the middle school History and Writing teacher as well as the 7th-grade homeroom teacher at OLC since 2002. He holds degrees in psychology, philosophy, and theology as well as a teaching degree from Dominican University. Mr. Letendre is also a writer who has published a number of articles as well as three books. He is a Benedictine Oblate of Chicago's Monastery of the Holy Cross. He and Susan, his wife of 40 years, have three children and four grandchildren.
Mrs. Margaret Sweeney
Mrs. Margaret (Peg) Sweeney was born in Cleveland and grew up in New York. Her family later moved to Illinois, and she graduated from Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire. She continued her studies at Illinois State University in Bloomington and received her bachelor’s degree in Education there. Post-graduate studies were completed at Dominican University in River Forest. Mrs. Sweeney has been a teacher at Our Lady of Charity School since 2004. “Mrs. Sweeney is a very kind and caring teacher, who cares greatly about all of her students,” said 8th graders Ethan Motes and Jayden Panduro.
Sra. Edith Parra
Ms. Parra is a native Spanish speaker from Ecuador, where she previously taught in a well known dual language school in the capital city of Quito. She enjoys connecting her OLC students via Zoom with students in her former school in Quito for practice with Spanish conversation and for cultural exploration.
Mrs. Lisa Johnson
My name is Mrs. Johnson. I attended high school at Alan B. Shepherd, and started college at Moraine Valley in the fall, while I was a nanny for two little boys. I started working as a teacher and assistant director at Mary Sears Children's Academy in 1990. While there I received My Child Care Professional certificate through the State of IL. I came to Our Lady of Charity in the fall of 1999 as the pre-k teacher, and taught here for 10 years. For the last 11 years I have been working in all different classrooms as an aide and the librarian. In 2020 I recently earned my Paraprofessional certification and a now working pack in preschool. I have been married for 23 years and have a great son who will be 22 this year. My family and I enjoy traveling around the midwest with a group called Northwest Territory Alliances putting on recreations of the Revolutionary War. I love being part of the OLC family and I have enjoyed watching all your children grow educationally and spiritually. I am proud and honored being part of so many of your children's lives and watching them grow into wonderful young ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.