Sr. Deborah Krist, director of the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, talks to Sr. Geralda about the possibility of knitting scarves for the sisters who will participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Most of Sr. Geralda’s years in ministry were spent on the west coast where she taught elementary school in Oregon, Washington, and California and ministered at St. Ann Children’s Home in Tacoma and St. Joseph Children’s Home in Spokane. In 1988, however, Sr. Geralda’s ministry took a different path when she became the house manager for the archbishop’s residence in Portland, Oregon—a ministry in which she gave dedicated service for the next 24 years during the tenures of three archbishops: Archbishops Laveda, George, and Vlazny. In late 2012 Sr. Geralda moved—not only to a new ministry but to a new location. “Archbishop Vlazny retired and I figured this was a good time to make a change,” she said. After she arrived in Aston, she began thinking about a new ministry. “I have no trouble being busy,” she explained. “I want to do something.” She heard other sisters talk about the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation office where there was a lot to be done. She inquired—and was gladly accepted as a volunteer.
Her main responsibility there is adding a short hand-written note on letters being sent out by the foundation. Her notes might include a short thank you, a seasonal greeting, or a wish for good health and happiness. Like any ministry, this one comes with challenges—the biggest being time. “The letters are dated,” Sr. Geralda said, “and getting messages written and the letters into the mail can be challenging. Sometimes there are just not enough hands!” The blessings, however, provide adequate compensation. Geralda explained that she enjoys the conversations with the people with whom she works and the opportunities to engage with former members who also volunteer. “I feel good when I’m contributing in some way to a sense of community right in the office,” she said.