By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN The hearts of many at Holy Trinity Parish and School in Winsted were heavy this week, as they mourned the loss of a woman whose career had been devoted to Catholic education.
Cathy Millerbernd, who was part of the leadership team at Holy Trinity, died of cancer June 5.
“Even as she began her struggle with cancer [about six years ago], her decisions were based on what would be best for the school and best for the students,” said Fr. Anthony Stubeda, pastor and chief education officer.
Millerbernd continued to do her job well despite her health, and didn’t let her illness become a dominant part of her life, Stubeda said. Instead, Millerbernd focused on family, friends, school, and sharing her faith.
Even when treatments required leaves of absence, Millerbernd was always looking forward to returning to her job, and doing what she loved.
Before Millerbernd worked at Holy Trinity, she had been a student there, graduating in 1982.
Her employment at Holy Trinity began in 1999, when she was hired as the director of religious education. Previously, she had worked as a Catholic educator in Mound.
In 2006, Millerbernd became the elementary school lead teacher, and in 2010, she took on the role of elementary school principal.
In July 2013, Millerbernd also became the dean of faculty and curriculum, while continuing to serve as elementary principal at both Holy Trinity and St. Pius X Catholic School in Glencoe.
About two months ago, when Millerbernd’s cancer became more severe, she requested a leave of absence. She later resigned, when she realized she wouldn’t be able to serve to her full capacity.
“Even to the very end, her decision was a generous one,” Stubeda said, explaining that Millerbernd’s concern was for the future of the school, and the well-being of the students.
Stubeda said Millerbernd did not allow cancer to conquer her hope in the Lord, and she remained a “great example of faith in how she faced her own death.”
Since Millerbernd’s passing, Stubeda said he has heard numerous stories from former students and others who have been inspired by Millerbernd through the years.
“Cathy was the heart of the school as well as the head,” he said.
A funeral for Millerbernd took place Thursday. See the obituary page for more information.