p.24sklba-sharonTheir similarly laid-back styles has made working together a smooth process, according to Sharon Krueger, Bishop Richard J. Sklba’s secretary for the past eight years. (Catholic Herald photo by Amy E. Taylor)When applying for her current secretarial position some eight years ago, Sharon Krueger knew she was qualified.

She had done secretarial work at the Cousins Center for six years and prior to that, had done similar work at St. Robert, Shorewood, for 11 years. But there was one line in the job description that caused her to pause.

Qualified applicants will “know the mind of the bishop.”

“How would I know the mind of the bishop until I get to work for him?” she wondered.

In the eight years that Krueger has served as secretary to Bishop Richard J. Sklba, she not only has come to understand the meaning of that phrase, she lives it on a daily basis whether answering the phone, typing his correspondence or encouraging him to go easy on his schedule.

Planned to leave church work behind

When Krueger applied for the job, she was at a crossroads in her life. After raising her two sons, Matthew, 36, and Aaron, 31, and caring for her parents and in laws, Krueger accomplished a goal she had set for herself years earlier. After years of study through Alverno College’s weekend program, Krueger graduated with a degree in business and management in 1998. She planned on leaving church work behind in favor of a secular position.

“But God said, ‘No, you’re not,’ and I’m really glad he did,” she said.

In the years since, she’s gotten a view of the inner workings of church hierarchy and worked for a man she described as “a very gentle soul.”

She also kept the promise she made during her employment interview with Bishop Sklba. Noting, in 2002, that if his health held up, he expected to have seven or eight years remaining as auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee, he asked Krueger where she expected to be at that time.

“If my health holds up, I’ll be right with you,” she recalled responding.

For Krueger, Bishop Sklba’s retirement is bittersweet. While she said she’s happy her boss will enjoy some well-deserved time for himself, she noted she will miss his regular presence, compassion and sense of humor.

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