You raised your family in Pewaukee but moved to the Third Ward a few years ago as empty nesters. What has that been like?
It’s amazing; I love it. You can walk and bike everywhere; there are great little restaurants and shops to go to. Before, we were living in a house out in the suburbs, which was nice, but living downtown, there is so much more activity. People are always out on the streets and walking around. Summer in the Third Ward is busy, which is not for everyone, but I love it. I enjoy the craziness and I love to watch the Summerfest traffic and the boats on the river.
What’s your biggest passion in life?
A big passion would be my granddaughter Rory. We spend time with her whenever we can and enjoy her so much. She is such a gift to us. We love taking her to the park, stopping for ice cream and having her sometimes overnight. I also enjoy reading, walking and biking. We are on a trivia team and love spending time with friends. We’ve made a lot of friends since we moved downtown. All are empty-nesters in condos so not burdened with cutting grass or shoveling snow, making more time to take part in all that the Third Ward and downtown offers.
But even despite the move, you’ve never left your parish, St. Anthony, and have no plans to.
I love this parish. We had a unique situation in that my husband was transferred to Chicago while we were still living in Pewaukee and the boys were in grade school. He actually got an apartment in downtown Chicago, spending weekdays there because we didn’t want to leave the parish. I love the people, the work and everything St. Anthony’s has to offer. We’ve been blessed with great priests who have all shared the same values and programs that make this an awesome parish. My husband retired several years ago, but I don’t have any desire to give it up yet.
Is there anything about your job that would surprise people?
Maybe the fact that I am the longest-standing employee at the parish. I’ve got a unique job, in that I handle all my faith formation duties, but also head up our sister parish in Peru program. The parish does not have a budget for the Peru program; it is all based on support from parishioners and others, but I am blessed to be able to do a lot of the communications during my hours at the office.
What has that mission work brought to your life?
It’s just amazing: the people I’ve met, the compassion I’ve encountered through our relationship with our sister parish, Santissimo Sacramento. Most families are living with dirt floors, many without running water or electricity. (It’s) a real difference from the way we live, but they are so faith-filled and full of love. When we go down, we think we’re helping them, but really they’re helping us to be compassionate and grateful. We sponsor three families there, which is so little on our part, but it means so much to them.
What is one question you would love the answer to?
I don’t understand why there’s so much hate in the world, so much sadness and so much violence. I would love to know an answer to that — or an answer to a cure for cancer and other diseases.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
It was from my mother: to treat everyone with a kind heart, as you would want to be treated. My mother was a saint. She never said a bad word. She had six kids in seven years and we probably drove her crazy, but she was always calm, cool, collected and kind.
If you could have any other career, what would it be?
I wouldn’t want another career. I love what I do, and that’s why I’m still doing it.