When I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in February of 1956, my greatest desire was to be a missionary with our sisters in India, but God’s plan guided me elsewhere. Most of my ministry has been away from Ohio: in Florida (26 years) and in Middleburg, VA at our Academy and boarding school (17 years) with other assignments in Ohio and North Carolina. I taught High School for a total of 30 years (Religion, music, English, Latin, photography) and have now been in parish ministry for 26. My first love has always been liturgy and music, though I have only been able to engage fully in that in Florida.
After Vatican II, I was involved in the development of liturgy and liturgical music wherever I was assigned. During the time of experimentation with liturgical music at the Provincial Center, I taught myself to play the double bass and introduced it as part of the guitar group to add a deeper sound to the accompaniment. I was delighted that it caught on then and is still in use.
During my time in Middleburg, I volunteered at St. John’s Parish in Leesburg as their coordinator of liturgy and music and it was there that I felt the desire to move from teaching to parish ministry. So in 1991, I came to Espiritu Santo parish in Florida and have been here ever since. My ministry has included: directing choirs, developing a Cantor program that serves all Masses, initiating teen reader and teen Eucharistic Minister programs, coordinating the altar server formation, inviting, forming and supporting the adult readers, hospitality and Eucharistic minister programs, coaching the readers and teacher planners at ESCS in their preparation for school liturgies, being a cantor, Eucharistic minister and reader myself, directing the Liturgy Planning Committee and Intercessions Committee, coordinating the liturgical environment for the first 15 years, and writing scripts for all of our prayer services, my most loved being the Taize services in Advent and Lent which I still do. In 2003, I developed a Funeral Ministry to assist families in the planning and celebration of their funeral liturgy for a loved one who has died and also offering pre-planning workshops to the parish. This ministry has become a great support and comfort to grieving families, and is one of my most treasured. When I discerned moving to part- time at 75, the funeral ministry became my main focus.
I also find great joy in being part of our SND Associate program here and participate in one of the faith-sharing groups. I facilitate a Book Club with a focus on spirituality that has met monthly for 5 years. (Our first book was Sr. Melannie’s, Traits of a Healthy Spirituality which the women loved!)
What I cherish most and what I am most grateful for in all that God has enabled me to be and do over the years is that it empowers the laity, gives them hope and draws them into a deeper awareness of God’s sustaining love and presence in their lives at all times. Thus…our lived charism!