By KATIE BORKOWSKI
HALBUR/ROSELLE/TEMPLETON – Even though Rosie Sporrer uses a computer and not an electric typewriter anymore, she still believes in keeping a paper copy of everything after more than 50 years as a secretary and bookkeeper.
Rosie, a life-long parishioner at Sacred Heart in Templeton, is currently the bookkeeper for the parishes in Halbur, Roselle and Templeton. Her office is located in the rectory in Halbur and she works with Father Shinoj Jose.
As the bookkeeper for three churches, she takes money to three banks and picks up mail for all three. She even acts as the janitor for Halbur and Templeton. Rosie works from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In the beginning
“I was born and raised in Templeton,” she said. “My maiden name was Kemper, not like the school. My husband and I went to Kuemper and our four children went there.”
Rosie graduated from Carroll Kuemper in 1966 and at that time students took a civil service test, which if she passed she could get a job anywhere in the United States.
“I passed the test and my first job was supposed to be in Ames,” she said. “At that time, my mom was fighting cancer, so she didn’t want me to leave home. She said, ‘Would you ever stay here and work around Templeton?’”
It so happened the pastor in Templeton needed a secretary at Sacred Heart.
“My mom said, ‘You could stay here and work for him,’” Rosie recalled. “I decided to stay at home and work for him.”
It was a good job and she enjoyed it. When her mom died in 1968, Rosie became the caretaker for her two younger siblings.
“We lived on the home place, a farm near Templeton,” Rosie said. “Every day I would take them to Sacred Heart School in Templeton and I would go work in the rectory from 8 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m.”
She has been working for Templeton and the other churches ever since. In May, it will be 52 years.
“That’s a lot of weekends,” she said. “I added it one time and I think I was up to 27,000 weekends that I did a bulletin. I enjoy it. I really do.”
Over the years Rosie has worked for 12 or 13 different priests.
“I like working for the church and helping people,” she said. “I have worked for wonderful priests.”
Over the almost 52 years, Rosie has seen many changes. One thing she has noticed the most is the decline in numbers.
“When I started the number of baptisms, marriages, first Communions and funerals, there were so many,” said the bookkeeper. “Now, we are so few.”
When she started, the rectory in Templeton had 18 rooms and she could never let the phone be unattended.
“You always had to have someone answer the phone,” Rosie said. “If the priests weren’t there, we turned it to another number because there might be a call about someone who was sick or dying and needed a priest.”
Times are different now, she acknowledged, with answering machines and not getting as many calls.
Back in the day there were no copy machines and every letter was typed on the typewriter with carbon paper and onion skin behind it. Rosie typed 12 to 15 letters per day.
She began working for Roselle and Halbur as well in 1999, when Father Gary Snyder was the pastor. This was about the time when Rosie started working on a computer.
“The rectory was so bad in Templeton, they were going to tear it down,” said Rosie, who then moved to the Halbur rectory, where she has been ever since.
In the past, Rosie received bulletin announcements through word of mouth or through the mail. Now she gets most submissions through email. She starts putting the bulletin together on Wednesday. It is usually on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper but sometimes on 8 1/2 x 14 because of the number of submissions.
“People are so good and so nice,” said Rosie. “I like helping people out. If you can go to work and help people, you make someone happy.”