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Former professor returns to Avila to help with retreat

April 13, 2011
For more information, contact Bob Luder at 816.501.2434.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo - - Sr. Helen Miljour, CSJ, isn't very good with rememberinghelen dates and times, so she can't tell you exactly what year or years she taught at Avila.

What she can tell you, however, is that coming back to the university for five days in early April felt like a return home.

"It's been wonderful being back here," Miljour said from her small, makeshift office in Hodes Center. "I can't believe how much things have grown since I taught here."

Miljour was back at Avila helping with the Busy Person's Retreat, which took place April 3-7. Each of those days, she met with students and other workers around the university to talk about their lives, spiritual and otherwise.

"We meet with (retreat participants) for about 30 minutes each," Miljour said. "We look at prayer life and life in general. Very often, I give them a scripture to look at. Other times, I share something in my life with something that happened in theirs.

"It's very individual. No two are the same."

Standing out as an individual is something Miljour is quite familiar with. Though she can't recall the year, Miljour said she knows that, while she taught at Avila in the evenings, she also taught during her days at a Catholic grade school in Kansas City. In the mornings, she said she taught two classes of sixth-grade science. In the afternoons, she taught two classes of either first-, second- or third-grade science.

In the evenings at Avila, she taught physics, physical science, home repair and auto technology. Yes, that's right – home repair and auto technology. She said, while she was living and working in Atlanta, she took 44 hours of brake work, 88 hours in auto servicing and 88 hours in auto electricity.

Not only that, but in her years following teaching at Avila, she taught courses in therapeutic massage and retreat direction.

"I was just a person who would try anything," she said. "When I look back on it now, I probably didn't know how to say no."

Miljour's life is quieter these days. She lives at Nazareth Retirement Home in St. Louis and spends her time playing cards and surfing the Internet. But, she said she'll always cherish her visits back to Avila.

"It's been great," she said. "I spent some time with a friend I'd lived with when I lived here."



Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.