What do you love about volunteering to bring Communion to the participants at the Adult Day Center?
To see the joy that receiving the Eucharist and reading the Gospel to them (brings) is so rewarding. Over the years, I have developed great relationships with the staff and residents. Every time I walk in the door I get many shout-outs: “Mary’s here!” “Can you pray for me?” “Will you pray for — ?” and when I leave, “When are you coming back?” I often tell them I wish I lived across the street because I would come and do a Communion Service for them every day if I could.
You have a longtime devotion to St. Therese — can you tell us about that?
Growing up, my parents often took us to the Marian Shrine. In April 1997, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I fervently prayed to keep my health to see my four small children grow up. My dad urged me to pray to St. Therese also for help in going through this tough time, and said perhaps she might “send me a rose.” When I was in my cancer treatments, I would stop on my way home at the shrine and pray.
Did you get your rose?
One day, I didn’t have time to stop at the shrine, and I was beside myself with anxiety, but I figured I would drop by and pray without getting out. As I came close to the shrine, all the roses and flowers were blooming. This was not the case on the Friday when I had stopped three days earlier. I got my roses.
How have you stayed involved in the shrine since then?
Over the years, those many shrine prayers have had our family realizing what a special place this is. We reached out and offered to help them keep Jesus’ Mother’s place in tip-top shape for all those to visit. We have helped donate funds for the updated lighting, statue renovation — and honestly, anything they need, we will help. We’ve met a great group of volunteers who are alike in our devotion to Mary.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
As a child, often when I couldn’t sleep, I’d yell to my parents “I can’t sleep.” My mom always would reply: “Say a Hail Mary” — and darn if I wasn’t down for the count. I’ve carried that over in so many ways. If in doubt, pray. A Hail Mary cures all sometimes.
Your parents were both very devout Catholics. What are some things they did that impacted your spiritual development, and are there any specific parts of their example that you try to emulate in your own life?
The greatest gift my parents ever gave me was the gift of faith. I do not know where I would be in my life if I didn’t have faith. My dad had a strong devotion to the rosary. I say a rosary (sometimes many) faithfully daily. I have a rosary CD I always listen to in the car, and I start my day with that being one of my first prayers.
Who is someone in your life you admire and why?
My husband Jerry. He has the resilience and strength to conquer any storm. After selling our business to enjoy retirement, he broke his leg in a fall and dealt with the complications of that for three long years. While some might feel down about this, he chose to always look on the bright side of things. More importantly, God has always been at the center of his life. It’s not, “Are we going to church?” it’s “We going to our usual Mass?” That’s the thing I love about him most.
What is a quote that means a lot to you?
“Love God, love others, transform our world.” These words are hung proudly in Holy Apostles Church, and Jerry and I try to live this out as often as we can.
You have four grandkids — what do you love about being a grandparent, and what is one thing you want to make sure your grandchildren know about Christ and the Christian life?
I love everything about being a grandparent. You know not to sweat the small stuff, and, oh, the humor they bring to our lives. Children and grandchildren are truly God’s blessings. The one thing I’m always telling them is that Jesus is always there for them, and to not hesitate to talk to him.