Sr. Debbie gives Sr. Theresa Kevin Donahue, Sharon Tracy, and Sr. Margaret O’Brien a sneak-peek at the 2019 Christmas card insert.
That brings us to 2016 when Debbie became director of the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation. “I felt led to move from my ministry as an elementary school principal,” she explained. Simultaneously I became aware of this opportunity and, through God’s grace, I saw it as a new way of sharing our chrism with others and filling a community need.”
Debbie directs the work of the foundation and works with the board seeking financial support for our ministries with the poor, retirement needs, and other designated needs. Outreach takes varied forms: direct mail appeals, hosting participation in various events, the Good News publication, and personal contact. During a typical day, she might meet with donors or offer a tour or lunch with our sisters at Assisi House. The foundation also explores ways to attract new and younger donors by providing opportunities for them to experience our ministries firsthand and to sponsor events such as the 5k run scheduled for this coming fall. And then there are the “old favorites” such as the annual golf outing. Our 25th will take place in the fall!
Then there are staff meetings, networking with others, and planning future events. As in any position, there are challenges, including the inability of scheduling appointments with major donors due to their busy lives and schedules. Although the foundation is blessed with wonderful volunteers and a dedicated staff, Debbie herself is the only full time member. However, there are also many blessings. “The greatest for me is that I constantly get to be in relationship with others—meeting new people, sharing our charism, and deepening relationships. I am also grateful to our sisters for their ongoing, faithful support.” And through it all, Debbie herself reflects the joy she sensed in the sisters she met in high school. Her broad smile greets sisters, coworkers, donors, and guests alike, a visible reflection of the Franciscan spirit that is her life.
Read about how Sr. Debbie recently donated one of her kidneys to a fellow sister, Sr. Lynn Lavin, here.