As a young person growing up in the 60’s, I always thought I needed to stretch myself and do something to change the world. There were so many needs, so many causes.
As a teenager I led several service projects, collecting food and money for Biafra, collecting clothing, selling pretzels at lunch to fund different needs. So my desire to help others in need goes back a long way.
As a young adult, married and expecting a child, I experienced poverty in a different way. While living in central PA, my husband had a serious health problem, was unemployed, and we were penniless. We received food stamps and a medical card and nearly lost our house before he got a job – far from where we lived, in Oklahoma near my parents.
That was the first time we started over from scratch, the first of many that took us from Oklahoma to Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia and back to Pa. again.
In my early 20’s, I felt a call to ministry and went back to school to study theology. I was raised Catholic and have stayed within my religion while ministering in several ways, as a parish religious educator, a diocesan Family Life associate director and as an outreach minister in a parish and with Catholic Charities.
With all those moves and job changes, my concern for those living in poverty has remained consistent.
I’ve been blessed by opportunities to serve directly as an outreach worker and indirectly as a community organizer. I’ve painted houses in New Orleans, done taxes for low income workers, visited dying people as a Hospice volunteer and served in community kitchens and food pantries. It’s been a blessing to learn from the people I serve all along the way.
Recently during a retreat, I was surprised to discover that my years of service and ministry are not the most important parts of my story. During a session on the Psalms, it was as if a light went: I’ve been married for 40 years to a generous, loyal and honorable man, Ed, who promised to love me forever and has made good on that promise every day. We have a son and a daughter who both exhibit their dad’s quiet strength and my desire to help others, and now a grandson whose inquisitiveness and love for life brings joy to us all.
I’m grateful to the God who loves us more than we can imagine for the abundance with which we have been blessed.
I hope to spread that same love here at OFRUCC for many years.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know you all,