As sponsors, we publicly identify with, exert appropriate influence on, and provide various levels of support to these ministries. In so doing, we fulfill our responsibility of stewardship for our heritage, mission, and resources.
During her early years in the congregation, Sr. John Celeste Weitzel ministered in education but later studied to be a physical therapist. When she moved from Baltimore to the Aston area in November 2015, she came with a dream—to work with our sisters at Assisi House who were not getting PT for a specific problem.
Mandee DeMarco ministers at the Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s in Wilmington, Delaware. The Family Counseling Center of St. Paul’s provides access to compassionate, culturally responsive emotional and behavioral health services that empower individuals and families. Mandee works with the center’s administrative department where she works collaboratively with clients. Mandee also assists with donor listings, grant applications, insurance, billing processing, and pre-intake screenings.
Mandee recently graduated from Canisus College in Buffalo, New York, earning a Bachelor of Psychology with a minor in religious studies and counseling. Mandee finds her ministry site to be a space that provides her with the opportunity to stay committed to her future goals both in her professional life and her spiritual life. Working with an organization that is in collaboration with a church enables Mandee to remain focused on her aspirations of working with people in need of mental and spiritual health as well as providing support for her strong belief system.
While Mandee is not at her ministry site, she maintains a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. She has found a new love for yoga where she places her physical, mental, and spiritual reflections into practice. She is also a talented artist and enjoys drawing, sketching, and painting.
Rachel Dunlap ministers at the Aquinas Center in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Aquinas Center builds unity in diversity, supports learning, and inspires thoughtful action. Rachel coordinates service trips for high school and college students which expose them to the different cultures of the area allowing them to gain an empathetic insight into the community needs.
Rachel earned a Bachelor of Theology and Psychology from St. Ambrose University in Iowa. She feels that her ministry gives her the opportunity to bridge the gap between faith and the human psyche by working with people on a personal level. Rachel’s ministry represents the medium with which she can help influence systemic structural changes within the community. She realizes that these structural changes provide an opportunity for personal growth through increased faith and spirituality.
When Rachel has free time she enjoys yoga and reading. She is excited about exploring her new environment through staying active and connecting with nature.
Theresa Kennedy ministers at Red Hill Farm and Assisi House, the retirement convent of the Sisters of St. Francis. Red Hill Farm is one of the sisters’ many environmental initiatives. It provides its 120 members as well as the sisters with organic product and also offers social and educational programs. Theresa works as a full-time farmer at Red Hill. During the winter months—when things are slower on the farm—she spends a few days a week at Assisi House working in the physical therapy office providing sisters with holistic care.
Theresa feels blessed to be serving at two “wonderful and unique ministry sites.” She greatly appreciates working outside, physically intertwining her life with nature. She sees her winter ministry at Assisi House as a place of relationship building where she describes it not as a place of employment but rather, “a home and place of healing, for the sisters, employees, and the volunteers.”
Theresa holds a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Political Science. When she’s not at her ministry, Theresa enjoys running, yoga, cooking and baking, arts and crafts, and reading. She also thoroughly enjoys spending time with her community members and the sisters.
Our 2015-2016 year volunteers had a great year! We wish them well on their future ventures and know we have built relationships that will stand the test of time.
Kathleen Lamontagne Hometown: Manchester, NH
Ministry: I volunteer as an organic gardener on Red Hill Farm. I love caring for creation by cultivating natural gifts from the earth to feed God’s people.
As a nature enthusiast, I love spending time outdoors, whether it is hiking, swimming, going for long runs, or just exploring the natural world. I am always up for an adventure and enjoy traveling to new places and immersing myself in different cultures. I like to make creative gifts and bake gluten free treats for my big family. I am excited to start dental school this fall so that I can live out my calling to lovingly serve my community as a dentist.
Hometown: Taneytown, MD
Ministry: My ministry site is at Anna’s Place in Chester, Pennsylvania. There I am able to work alongside the sisters while helping to bond with and instruct students from the Chester area in computer skills.
I really take interest in the happenings of my city, Philadelphia, whether that takes shape in its exciting cultural events, music, food, recreational opportunities—such as biking along the Schuylkill river—or enjoying the nightlife environment with friends. I had something interesting happen to me recently. Over the weekend, I was driving back from Massachusetts with a friend. About halfway through the trip—while we were driving through New York City—our car conveniently decided to give up the ghost. We ended up stranded for some time before we got our car towed off the highway in Queens and into the Brooklyn neighborhood where we would have to wait for what felt like an eternity before AAA towed the car to a mechanic. By then it was getting late in the evening and we had no other option but to find some other way back to Philadelphia. Did I mention that our cell phones were dying? The AAA service worker was kind enough to allow us to charge our phones in his truck as we were being towed—he even dropped us off at a subway station and directed us to where we could catch a bus back to Philly. In the end we made it back home safely and sanely after a 12-hour ordeal. In retrospect, however, it was a transformative bonding experience between the friend with whom I was traveling and me.
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Ministry: The community at the Aquinas Center in Philadelphia, is a favorite part of my ministry. The diversity, hospitality, dedication, and faith present there has been so life giving! I especially enjoy when we host groups at Aquinas and they are able to be immersed in our community for a week. Watching people come together from various walks of life is always beautiful.
My first day of ministry was a late night that ended in a storm and the discovery that my car battery had died. With almost no phone battery left, I thought I was going to be stranded in a brand new city. Thankfully someone from Aquinas came with the parish priest to give my car a jump and save the day. It’s been an adventure every day since!