How did you end up in Charlotte?
For my husband’s job. He does financial planning and we loved it but we decided that home was calling us back. We wanted our kids to have the same small-town growing up experience that both of us had with family all around.
You recently opened up your own business. Can you tell me about that?
This year, my business partner and I started a creative arts studio in downtown Greenfield called The Field Workshop. It’s a creative arts studio and tinker lab where we welcome kids and families to come in and use our materials, and make whatever their hearts desire. We let them lead themselves, following a Montessori approach. It’s really a culmination of everything that my kids have enjoyed doing.
What inspired you to open that particular business?
My best friend from high school had this vision and, all this summer, we’d sit in the evenings commiserating about how our kids were having a hard time with the pandemic and school and needing a creative outlet. So, when a spot became available, we thought, why not? It’s been interesting because we started it not thinking that it would be a ministry, but it’s really become that. People are making connections and finding people to talk to and it’s really a beautiful thing. I feel like God had such a bigger plan than we did.
You’re also involved in a non-profit, aren’t you?
In 2013, my husband and I were part of a dinner and discussion group at St. Monica in Whitefish Bay, and through that we met a sister from the Little Sisters of St. Francis. A few years after we moved, when we were living in Charlotte, I got a phone call from one of the sisters letting me know that they were starting a fundraiser for an orphanage they had in Kenya. I thought that I’d just donate money and be done, but as I learned more and more about the orphanage, I felt like I was being called to be part of it. I found myself raising awareness, doing more and got really involved. I ended up starting a non-profit with a friend to help out with it in 2014. Little Sisters Angel Fund is strictly volunteer, with five other women and I working on its board to keep everything going. So far, it’s been amazing to see what God has done. We just finished up a huge campaign to build them a new orphanage building. Everything was slowed down because of the pandemic but we’re back on track now and have been able to provide them with things we never dreamed we could. The kids in the orphanage are getting a totally new life because of it.
How have you kept formation up for your family during the pandemic, when you were unable to go to church?
My brother (Andre) and his wife work for the Evangelical Catholic, and do wonderful things with them to help parishes reach more people deeply, and individuals grow their faith; but personally, they lead men’s and women’s groups, where they pour their entire hearts into their ministry. They do this out of their own home, not part of their parish. They have four children, we have three, so we meet every Monday night for dinner and discussion, where we hold our own little version of Faith Formation. Andre and his wife Jackie plan the content that ranges from the weekly Gospel readings, to the Saints, questions about faith, real world topics, etc. We split up the younger three and two parents lead them in discussion, while two lead the four older ones (oldest is 15). They really put their hearts into it and our kids really enjoy it.
Is there a saint you feel particularly devoted to?
I’m completely devoted to the Holy Mother. Especially as a mother myself, I find that I’m constantly calling on her, talking to her and asking for guidance.