Planning a large mailing? Let Sr. Angela O’Connell know! Need folders for a special office project? Sr. Angela can get the best deal. Is the printer/copier near the office acting up? Ask Sr. Angela if it’s time for servicing. For all the offices at the OLA motherhouse, these are just a sampling of the situations Sr. Angela O’Connell deals with on any given day as administrator of general services—an office that includes the copy room, mail room, and a multitude of office supplies and equipment.
Sr. Angela has been in this position since 2010. But what about her life in the congregation prior to that? Before meeting the Franciscans, she had connections with two other religious congregations in Ireland. She was taught by the Sisters of Mercy in Mallow. Both her aunt and her sister were Presentation Sisters and Angela considered joining that congregation. However, she was invited by her friend, Sr. Sheila Byrne, to accompany her on a visit to the Franciscans in Mallow. “I was very impressed by their friendliness,” she said. “I visited the sisters a few times and entered the Franciscans in 1950!” Most of her earlier years in the congregation were spent in education—as both teacher and principal. Prior to beginning her current work, however, she had served as parish minister for the Carline Project in Ireland. At the motherhouse for a meeting and knowing that she would soon be returning to the U.S., she met with Sr. Marijane Hresko to see what positions might be available. Sr. Marijane described the position of general services manager and Sr. Angela applied.
In light of its multiple services, the office is definitely a place of comings and goings—contacts that Sr. Angela enjoys. “I love my ministry—and especially enjoy the people who come in and out all day,” she said. “I try to create a friendly, professional atmosphere,” For many people, dealing with machinery would present an insurmountable challenge. However, that challenge is something Sr. Angela enjoys. “I realize that I’m a great deal like my father,” she said. “We both like machines and like to explore different ways to get the most out of them.” At the same time, she recognizes the challenges of her position. “Since so many people use the office, maintaining the machines and the order in the office can be challenging,” she said. “As the ‘steward’ for this office, I take my responsibility seriously, making sure the orders for supplies are placed well in advance and procured in the most economical way—while not compromising quality.”
In spite of the busy atmosphere of the office, Sr. Angela enjoys quiet time—and uses it creatively. Her skill with a needle is evident in the many sweaters, shawls, baby outfits, and scarves she makes. Many of her creations are used to help others. Some, for example are sold or auctioned at events sponsored by our congregational ministries, for example the Franciscan Foundation and the Franciscan Spiritual Center. Others are shared with nearby places where our sisters minister—schools like Drexel Neumann Academy and Our Lady of Angels School. Perhaps Sr. Angela’s response to why she enjoys her ministry applies to her “down time” as well. “I’m glad to be able to help people,” she explained. “It gives me joy to be responsive to the needs of others.”