Monday morning—and Sr. Connie Davis is heading to Holy Cross School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, where for the past year she has volunteered two days a week. Her work there includes assisting the kindergarten teacher. For example, she helps students with letter recognition and assists them as needed with workbook assignments. At other times Connie is busy assisting students with art projects or helping out in the school office.
Tuesday afternoons and evenings find Connie in the religious education program at St. John Fisher Parish in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania—a service she has rendered for the last three years. She assists the director with some of her ministry work, answers phones, and helps to get materials and memos out to the catechists. At the other end of the parish age spectrum, Connie tires to provide a presence to the more senior members, attending the bimonthly senior meeting as often of possible.
She is also a member of the religious education Fundraising Committee. Whether the committee is selling Yankee Candles or pretzels after Sunday Masses or tapping into percentage-based efforts at restaurants like Applebees or Wendys, the resultant profits are welcomed and put to good use. She also takes part in planning and preparing for the annual flea market. One of the main thrusts of this committee is to raise funds to support the parish’s summer Bible Camp. “It costs quite a bit to run the camp but as many as 80 children attend as well as volunteers ranging from grandparents to Confirmation candidates,” Connie explained. “By and large this is a great evangelization effort.”
Prior to high school, Connie had been taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph and had leaned toward entering their congregation. When it came time for high school, she was scheduled to attend Little Flower but lack of space found some of Connie’s class being assigned to Hallahan—Connie among them. It was there that she met the Sisters of St. Francis for the first time. “I admired their sense of humility and the fact that they worked so hard in the school,” she said, explaining her attraction to the congregation. “They had charge of the discipline at Hallahan but I didn’t find them very strict. In fact they were kind and caring of the students.”
Such changes in plans and the resultant call to look at new possibilities have been part of Connie’s ministry experience as well—not all of which have been easy, especially changes necessitated by school and parish closures and/or mergers. “In this day of change, I have found closures challenging,” she explained. “In fact, in my short time here, we have experienced closures of both school and parish.” At the same time, Connie’s experience over the years in education, religious education, and social work—as well as the changes in community living necessitated by ministry changes have created what Connie refers to as part of her tapestry. “I bring many experiences from all of this,” she explained, “and I try to share it with others.
– Ann Marie Slavin, OSF