Seventy Years of Tradition
By Alejandro Alcocer and Evelyn Potter
When St. Charles Catholic School was founded in 1948 by the Sisters of Mercy, it was because of a drive to continue the traditions of the Catholic church, and provide a Catholic education to young Christians. The school developed to be an institution where teachers focus on the development of the whole child, as well as on sacramental life and service to others. St. Charles is an institution based on faith and moral value, and the goal has always been to help the Catholic tradition thrive. St. Charles continues to grow, having developed a pre-school which opened in 2015. However, the success over these last many decades have been grounded in our Sister of Mercy, our beloved Sister Elizabeth.
Sister M. Philip, also known as Sister Elizabeth, has been part of the St. Charles Catholic school and parish for many generations. In 1947, she entered the convent of the Sisters of Mercy, and in 1950 at the age of 18, she professed as Sister M. Phillip. In 1956 she began to teach grades 4 through 8, until 1960, when she left St. Charles to teach at other schools. She later also became a principal at two other Catholic schools. In the 1970s, she changed her name to Sister Elizabeth Wekall, as she is known today.
In 1981, Sister Elizabeth decided to return to St. Charles Catholic School and taught 6th grade for the next 15 years. Her passion for God and for education left a momentous legacy that still continues to this day. Because of her dedication to teaching her 6th grade class, she became the name for the primary fundraising event for the 6th grade camp: Sister Elizabeth’s Spaghetti Dinner (Festa). Even after her many years of dedication to St. Charles, she became the school librarian in 1996, and continues to happily greet the students every time they enter her library.
The Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, the Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, and the San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer recognized February 10, 2018 as a day of celebration for Sister Elizabeth. On this day, we celebrated Sister’s hard work and dedication towards her community and the Sisters of Mercy. Sister Elizabeth is a role model to all and carries on the tradition of the Catholic faith through everything she does.
Sister Elizabeth is an inspiring to those who know her. Still she encourages others to stand tall and be themselves. She continues to serve, encourage, enlighten, and help young Catholics. Mr. David Blair, the eighth-grade teacher at St. Charles Catholic School, remembers Sister Elizabeth as his sixth-grade teacher in 1993 and relishes the memories of the days that he was taught by her. All those who know her know how great of an impact and what a motivational figure she was, and continues to be, in their lives. We are truly blessed to have Sister Elizabeth in our faith community and school.