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

Life after full-time ministry: Serving others continues but with fewer commitments

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?

I retired from pastoral ministry at St. Mary Parish, Appleton

What ministries are you involved in today?

Continued support and assistance to refugee families who came to St. Mary recently from the Congo and Uganda. More African families are finding their way to St. Mary so there are signs of their readiness to become active in the parish. With my assistance, they share their culture’s music at weekend Masses. I also facilitate an Alpha group of mixed cultures to bring about shared faith as well as getting to know one another. I also visit people who are homebound or in nursing homes.

What attracted you to your current ministry?

Over the past 26 years at St. Mary, a part of my ministry was resettling nine refugee families from different parts of the world. I never realized how significant this ministry would be for me. I admire their courage, adaptability and challenges in the midst of the suffering and grieving they have endured. I have always been drawn to the elderly, sick and dying. As a child, I adopted “grandparents” around the block with whom I would visit on summer evenings.

What do you see as the purpose of retirement?

I see the purpose of retirement as no different than when I was in full-time ministry. I seek each day to live the values of prayer, presence and hospitality with other Sisters in our Community where we each reside. I do appreciate fewer hours of teaching preparation, deadlines, meetings and set schedules. I am “me” when I see where my presence or assistance can bring joy to others.

What has been the gift of retirement?

What has surprised me? I can take my time when I grocery shop! I actually look at other items on the shelves besides what I am searching for! Amazing the varieties I never saw before!

I love the extra time I have in the morning for prayer, spiritual reading and the news. In the later afternoon or evening, I give in to my passion for non-fiction reading! What a treat! I started a book discussion group which fuels my passion. Retirement is going well!

Sister Joanne Goessl

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