Looking for Sr. Rose Christopher Sheridan? On any given day, you might find her busy in any part of Our Lady of Angels Convent. Your two best options, however, would be chapel or a small, out-of-the-way area on the third floor. Sr. Rose is the sacristan at OLA and is often busy in chapel—setting up for liturgy or prayers, watering plants, trimming candles, maintaining decorations, or seeing that needed supplies are in order. Visitors to chapel can easily see Sr. Rose’s attention to detail and her gift for decorating. However, she feels that the ministry is actually a gift to her because it allows her quiet time for prayer and contemplation—as she explains, “I talk to him as I keep his house looking presentable.”

Until recently, Sr. Rose had also volunteered in the foundation office, entering information into the computer, preparing welcome packets for new contributers, and any other bit of work that needed doing. A conversation with Sr. Mary Vandergeest, director of the foundation, about our sisters’many and often untapped talents led to a project that is now entering its third year—a holiday sale to help our sisters’ ministries. “We concentrate on handmade items for the holidays,” she explained. “I’m always looking for new patterns or ideas for the sale because you can’t have the same things for sale from year to year. Variety is important and presentation is everything!” Other sisters became involved also, especially the sisters at the motherhouse who contribute their favorite crafts for the sale. So…when Sr. Rose heads up to that out-of-the-way area on the third floor, it’s to spend time at the sewing machine or the cutting table. The result—beautiful hand-crafted items to supplement the donations from other sisters. This creative ability is simply another part of Sr. Rose’s giftedness—one that apparently is inherited. “My mom was a great knitter and we were taught to either knit, crochet, or sew. My elder sister had her own craft shop for a while.”

During most of Sr. Rose’s years in the congregation, she ministered in education—initially in elementary school and later teaching diocesan certification courses at Neumann University. One very unique aspect of her own education pursuits is that Sr. Rose had the opportunity to study Hebrew. As part of a sabbatical at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, she spent the first semester in the Holy Land. Returning to Chicago, she took advantage of the opportunity to study Hebrew. “It wasn’t easy but because I loved it, I kept at it and got a handle on it to the point that I can read it,” she explained. “I’ve begun to memorize my favorite parts. I continue to read the daily gospel—first in English and then in Hebrew.”

And when she’s not busy with these activities? Sr. Rose enjoys reading, walking outdoors, watching a good story on TV, reviewing journals from her trips to Assisi and the Holy Land, and simply having a good conversation. As she says, “I just try to enjoy what the Lord sends along each day!” That spirit seems to have been the guiding force behind much of Sr. Rose’s life—an awareness that in whatever she did, she gained as much as she gave—and it’s the same spirit that permeates her work and her efforts today. “All the many years I spent as a teacher were very rewarding, especially with the youngest children. I really enjoyed them,” she said. “But the thought did hit me one day as I was sewing: ‘Gee, I wish I could have done this a lot sooner! I’ve always enjoyed making things!”