Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Life after full-time ministry: ‘I see a great need’ to remember the sick and elderly

We asked four Sisters who have recently retired
to reflect on the transition from full-time to part-time or volunteer ministry
and the gift this new chapter in life offers.

From what full-time ministry did you retire?

Pastoral Care Ministry at St. Mary’s Hospital for 9+ years.

What ministries are you involved in today?

I think that one could call my ministry one of pastoral care for our Sisters who are in local nursing homes in Green Bay and my own sister who is in a nursing home in Manitowoc. I visit two of our Sisters frequently and see that their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met or I try to meet their needs as best that I can. I find listening to them is vital to this ministry.

I, along with two other Sisters, also provide Communion services for the residents at Age Well Assisted Living Residence. There are about 20 residents who attend these. They are very grateful because they are not always able to attend weekly Mass.

Living at the convent there are various minor tasks that need to be done such as providing hospitality as receptionist for individuals who call or come to our door.

What attracted you to your current ministries?

I guess my current ministry follows the ministry at St. Mary’s Hospital and my previous ministry at St. Peter and Paul in Green Bay where I was pastoral minister. Part of my job description was visiting hospitals, nursing homes and private homes. Probably what attracted me was that I was familiar with it and I loved what I was doing.

Why is it important for you to serve others?

I love my Sisters and my own sister. I see a very great need that the sick and elderly should not be forgotten. At this time in their life they are not able to always care for their own needs. They have provided for us in the past and they still provide love, wisdom and understanding for others.

Serving others has been a great part of my life and the lives of all our Sisters. We are here to bring God’s love to others. It is important to bring happiness, peace, and compassion to others in whatever small way that we can.

What do you see as the purpose of retirement?

I see retirement as a time not only “to do” as in some type of ministry for others but also “to be”. It is a time for me to reflect, read, enjoy nature, pray and appreciate friends and family. In these final years, it is important to have time to think about the life to come.

What has been the gift of retirement?

Probably the gift of retirement is the same as the purpose of retirement. During retirement hopefully one is free to have time “to be” and also a time to make choices. One does not have to punch a time clock. One is able to choose what activities best fulfill the need at a particular time.

Sister Madonna Swintkoske

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