Not many people can say their mother was a nun. Anthony Hayden and his 12 siblings can.
Hayden can also say his mother, Sis. Joann Hayden, was the inspiration behind his plan to give $5,000 scholarships in her name to two students Monday, allowing them to attend Lexington Academy of Barbering tuition free.
Hayden, who is a co-owner of the Exquisite Belvedere Barber Shop, and owner of the barbering school, said the scholarships are for low-income students who are on the waiting list to enroll for classes.
"She was a pretty good lady her whole life," Hayden said of his mother. "She was the mother of 13 and I was the youngest. She never drank or smoked or cussed. Our father was totally the opposite."
Born in Lebanon, Ky., Sis. Joann married soon after graduating high school and moved to Lexington. She had embraced Catholicism when her mother died and she was reared by an older sister who was Catholic.
Eventually she divorced her husband and got an annulment, leaving her to raise the younger six children alone. Hayden was the youngest of those children.
He remembers going to bed as a child on Christmas Eve with nothing under the tree and awakening the next day to piles of presents. He said he knew then that it feels good when someone gives in your time of need.
Still, he went through a rebellious stage and eventually dropped out of school, much to his mother's dismay, and joined the Marines.
"I thought that was what I was going to do with my life," he said. "But as I got older and bumped my head enough, I realized that was not what God wanted me to do."
He left the Marines and became a barber.
About the time he joined the Marines, though, in the early 1990s, his mother told the family she wanted to become a nun. Hayden said he and his siblings already knew.
Sis. Joann took her final vows when she was 62 and joined the Sisters of Divine Providence. She later became the chaplain at Bethesda North Hospital in Cincinnati.
"It was something she wanted to do," said James Weathers, parish life director at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. "As it turned out, the kids and grandkids could make normal visits, and the nuns up there fell in love with the whole family."
Weathers said Sis. Joann had worked at St. Peter Claver and at St. Paul Catholic churches before going to the nunnery. "She was a Mother Theresa figure," he said. "She never met a stranger and she was truly a humble servant."
Sis. Joann had gotten a second chance to live her dreams and that is what Hayden hopes the scholarships will do for two low-income students.
The scholarships are part of the non-profit Lexington Academy of Barbering Community Foundation, which was established in April and is supported by donations. The foundation also helps students who need help paying for transportation, rent, or utilities through its Emergency Finance Assistance Program.
To help support the foundation, the barbering school is offering specials on the services the 18 students provide through Dec. 24.
Hayden said $10 or $25 donations, students are offering various services, including haircuts, shaves, shampoos and facials. The proceeds go to the foundation so that future students can benefit.
"We like to help people who come in the second half of their lives and have their minds made up," Hayden said.
Just like he has done and just like his mother did before him.
IF YOU GO
The Lexington Academy of Barbering is offering free haircuts and other services for donations to the Lexington Academy of Barbering Foundation, Inc. The foundation provides scholarships and financial support for low income barber students.
When: 9 am - 7 pm, Dec. 23 and Dec. 24.
Where: LAC, 1132 Winchester Rd.
Information: Call (859) 231-1820.
Merlene Davis: (859) 231-3218. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reportmerle. Blog: merlenedavis.bloginky.com.