Dr. Louis Agnese (center) gathered with family members Jonathan Calvert (from left), Betty Calvert, Henry Amen III, Beth Amen O’Brien, Nelson Amen, Ruth Amen Berg and Jim Berg at the signing of the endowment on March 23.

When Zelime Lytle Amen Braun’s children suggested to family and friends that memorial gifts be made to a scholarship in her memory at the University of the Incarnate Word, they could not have anticipated how it would fall into place.

But many generous gifts combined to create a scholarship fund, which the children endowed so that the scholarship would be a lasting tribute to their mother’s memory. Thanks to this endowment, more students will benefit from the scholarship.

Zelime Lytle Amen Braun attended Incarnate Word from fifth grade through college, finishing in the top of her class at Incarnate Word High School. While in college, she was president of her freshman class, played flute in the orchestra, sang with the Choral Club and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English from Incarnate Word College in 1942.

The Amen Family’s 1959 Christmas card sent from Germany.

After graduation, Zelime married Colonel Henry “Hank” J. Amen Jr. She and her husband passed on their appreciation of learning and music to their seven children, and the clan eventually formed the Amen Family Orchestra. They performed traditional American and German folk songs and dances for benefits in Germany and the U.S. Beth Amen O’Brien, one of the couple’s daughters, fondly recalls the unifying experience as “something to do as a family.” The family performed several times at Incarnate Word, including their last time on stage in 1962. In 2007, Lucy Amen Warner, the couple’s youngest daughter and a composer and playwright, returned to Incarnate Word to perform her original musical “Native Saint: The Amazing Journey of Juan Diego” as a benefit for her mother’s scholarship fund.

Zelime valued her Catholic education and ensured that her seven children attended Catholic schools. Like their mother and aunt, Lucy Lytle Killea, a 1939 graduate of Incarnate Word High School and 1943 graduate of Incarnate Word College, all four of the Amen girls – Barbara, Beth, Ruth, and Lucy – graduated from Incarnate Word High School. Beth also graduated from Incarnate Word College.

Several years after Hank’s death, Zelime married Gen. Julius H. Braun.

All seven of the Amen children have close ties with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Endowing the scholarship was just one way to give back.

“Aunt Lucy always says it is because of Incarnate Word that we are where we are today,” Beth O’Brien said.

“Our family all feels the Incarnate Word Sisters gave us a solid foundation in both our values and our education,” she said, “and they were like family to us.”

Ensure Lasting Support

You, too, can create a permanent legacy at Incarnate Word and help young people have access to a faith-based education that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Named endowed scholarship funds create a lasting gift to students in the form of an annual scholarship award named in your honor or that of someone you love. For more information, contact Diane Echavarria, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, at 210-829-6071 or dmechava@uiwtx.edu.