As I look back over nearly 50 years in ministry I can say I have been deeply enriched and often transformed by the people I have been privileged to journey with. I began teaching in elementary school in Fitchburg, MA right after receiving my Bachelor’s in elementary education, enjoying nine years at St. Joseph’s, teaching grades two through eight during that time and meeting many wonderful families. I also studied theology part time during these years and received my Masters in Theology from St. Michael’s in Vermont. This was followed by a year of advanced Spiritual Formation (known as Tertianship) and final vows. From here it was back to my own alma mater at Blessed Sacrament in Providence, RI where I served for nine years as principal (while studying for a masters in School Administration at Boston College). This was followed by three years as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Providence where I had direct responsibility for twenty three elementary schools and was available to all sixty six schools as a consultant on how to develop an endowment plan for their schools – a great gift from my time at Boston College. Following this I was blessed to serve as Parish Administrator at Blessed Sacrament for another three years. Here I did everything except administer the sacraments! It was during this ministry that I met a man named Eddie who would have a profound influence on my future ministry. During these six years I also walked with numerous FCJ’s as local leader.
Then I was given a sabbatical year (1995-96) a year after celebrating my 25th Anniversary of religious profession. This year I spent at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara in Berkeley CA. One year turned into two and I received a Masters in Spirituality. I trained as a Spiritual Director and massage therapist during this time. Upon completion of this program I was offered a job at JST. I went on to work there until 2008 filling various executive roles including Director of Field Education and professor of practical theology. During these thirteen years I also journeyed with many in Spiritual Direction and as a volunteer massage therapist at Providence House in Oakland, CA. My deep interest in massage was a direct result of my encounter with Eddie so many years earlier. He deeply touched my life for the last three years of his life. His was a very deeply moving and profoundly touching story that really ignited within me the lifelong desire to develop a more compassionate way of moving through this life. Healing touch was the key to that way of living.
Providence House is a forty unit apartment building of permanent, subsidized Housing for people living with HIV and Aids. Eddie was my first exposure to someone living with this disease back when there was no cure and meds were very toxic and only prolonged life briefly. Back in 2008 I had decided to leave JST and work in a more hands on ministry once again. Fortunately for me there was an opening at Providence House. They were looking for an Assistant Director to supervise personnel, pay bills, collect rent, oversee building and grounds and deal with tenants one on one to help with their various needs. As a result of relationships of trust established with many tenants there, who came for regular massage, I now spend a good bit of time in pastoral counseling as well. This job is full time but usually for eight hours a day Monday through Friday. This enabled me to have my weekends and nights a bit freer to walk with folks in Spiritual Direction. I’ve also been blessed to work part time doing Spiritual Assessments for Kairos Psychology Group. We do these for individuals interested in priesthood, religious life, permanent diaconate, or suffering with mid-life crisis issues and often burnout. All in all I’ve been gifted by the FCJ Society with a tremendous education and a life time of wonderful ministry opportunities and I am blessed with good health and great energy to enjoy the variety of challenges and gifts God sends my way each day.