Need a techie to demonstrate the details of your new tablet? Or maybe you’re looking for a speaker for a program you’re organizing. In either case, Sr. Julia Keegan might be the person to ask. Actually most of Sr. Julie’s 50 years in ministry have been spent in healthcare—either in patient care, administration, or as an instructor in Neumann University’s nursing program. Her current ministry in the Franciscan Spiritual Center began in 2012 when she was asked to develop a new website for the center—one that would allow people to register online or that would offer online spiritual materials.
That task completed, Sr. Julie continues to oversee website updates, hosts a blog, maintains various social media connections, assists the center both with hosting programs and as a presenter, and serves as a spiritual director. She also develops fliers for the center’s programs, does a monthly e-newsletter, and is responsible for marketing programs. “There aren’t enough hours in the day to complete my tasks—at least not the way I would like to do them,” she said. She admits that time pressures can be hard on the nerves but added “Somehow God gets me through every one of them.” Sr. Julie also acknowledged that for an introvert, work that requires a great deal of extroverting can be exhausting! At the same time she finds work at the center an enriching one. “Almost every day my heart is nourished by something or someone and it feels like a surprise that comes out of nowhere,” she explained.
“I feel blessed to have a ministry which focuses on the core of my life—a spiritual ministry that nourishes my own spirituality each and every day.” And the ability with technology? Julie insists that this is an innate talent. “I received the gene from my father who worked on computers for the gover nment in the 50s and 60s,” she said. “As children we drew on and played with IBM punch cards when others scribbled on ordinary paper.”
Having served as a critical care nurse for years, Sr. Julie was not afraid of technology. “I was given a computer in the 80s but being a poor Franciscan, I didn’t have money to get it fixed or upgraded,” she explained. “I had to learn to do that myself. I learned a lot by trying, making mistakes, and then finally getting it right.” Sr. Julie will be celebrating her golden jubilee this year. Looking back over those 50 years as a Franciscan sister, Julie recalled the sisters and the experiences, especially her sabbatical experience—nine months in a hermitage in Kentucky—that have nurtured and nourished her spirit. It was these individuals and these experiences that blessed Sr. Julie with a clear understanding of who she is—to herself and to others. Asked how she would describe herself, Sr. Julie wrote, “I am a task-driven introvert who is talented in multiple areas and is willing to share those talents. I am sensitive and creative at the heart of my being and capable of touching the heart of another if I allow myself to live in the quiet of my being. I am someone who desires quiet and stillness. I have a healing heart that enables me to minister to others in an effective but quiet way.”
Ann Marie Slavin, OSF