Jubilarians of the Year | Ellen Keyser Buggy, HA ’69; Patricia Jung Lazarczyk, HA ’69; Ellen Retzer Zielinski, HA ’69
Holy Angels Academy Historians
For over 20 years, Paty Jung Lazarczyk, HA ’69, wished to create something to commemorate the building that was previously Holy Angels Academy and honor the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). The BVM’s opened the school in 1892 on 12th and Kilbourn in downtown Milwaukee. It was the first all-girls, Catholic high school in the area. With the decline of Catholic school enrollment, and fewer sisters to teach in the 1960’s, the BVM’s made the difficult decision to close the school in 1970. The building was sold to what is now Aurora-Sinai Medical Center and was mostly demolished at the time. However, alumnae families, the BVM’s, and other Catholic community leaders wished to maintain the unique educational experience for young women. This desire led to a creative solution—the students from HA would join students at Divine Savior High School to become the newly formed Divine Savior Holy Angels (DSHA) High School.
With enduring perseverance to create something, Ellen Retzer Zielinski, HA ’69, and Ellen Keyser Buggy, HA ’69, joined Lazarczyk on this special project in 2021. The three decided to commission a reproduction of the original sign that hung outside the HA building to place on the new medical building. To do so, they had to gain approval from the large and complex Advocate Aurora Health Center. With the help of several family members who worked in the system, they were connected to two administrators who could approve the project. Coincidentally, both administrators had attended all-girls high schools. Buggy stated, “we hardly had to present the project to them. They got it immediately and understood the benefits of an all-girls education. They were part of the sisterhood.”
After securing approval, the three started finalizing the design of the plaque and communicating the project to the other members of the class of 1969. Their classmates were enthusiastic, generous, and appreciative of the effort to pay homage to their beloved school building. Coming together, the group raised the necessary funds for the plaque in less than 8 weeks. After facing significant production and supply chain delays, the plaque was complete and back to where it originally greeted HA students daily.
Zielinski shared, “The plaque acts as a tribute to not only the people who taught there, but to the women who went there. It’s a tribute to us all, both living and deceased.”
Buggy agreed with the sentiment. She stated, “it’s all about the HA sisterhood. My mother, aunts and cousin went to Holy Angels and I was the only one in my family to graduate from there. My younger sisters were part of the transition and graduated from DSHA. I’m sure there are students here today who have family members who went to HA. This is a reminder that we all belong to a much larger sisterhood.”
For Lazarczyk, the plaque is a long-awaited goal coming to life. “My time at HA was absolutely fabulous. It was hard when it closed, and I kept thinking how special it would be to make something to honor these women who taught us with a plaque on the original structure. And now we’ve done that.”
The plaque reads “Holy Angels Academy: A High School for Girls.” It can be seen on the Aurora-Sinai Medial Center building at the same address as in 1892; 1218 W. Kilbourn.
Ellen Keyser Buggy, HA ’69, received her BS in Nursing from Marquette University, MS in Nursing from the University of Michigan and Nurse Practitioner Certificate from UW-Oshkosh. For many years, she served as a staff nurse in general medical and critical care. After graduate school, she worked as a hospital-based nurse manager and as an undergraduate clinical instructor at the Marquette University College of Nursing. Currently, she is a Nurse Practitioner at the Student Health Center at UWM. In her free time she enjoys her family, gardening, choral music, cooking, and her two cats.
Patricia Jung Lazarczyk, HA ’69, received her BA in Social Welfare from UW-Milwaukee. Recently retired, she worked at the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin for over 20 years. She has been involved in several past reunion committees and enjoys spending time with her HA classmates. She enjoys spending time with her puppy, volunteering at the Humane Society, and doting on her two nieces and great-nieces.
After graduating from HA in 1969, Ellen Retzer Zielinski, HA ’69, started working for the Laub Group doing dictation. She was there for over 14 years and served across four different departments. Additionally, she handled all the claims for the Milwaukee County Airport Division for approximately 30 years. In 1992, she founded EZ’s Secretarial Services that assists organizations with bookkeeping and administrative work. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her puppy, lifelong HA friends, and husband.