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

Still teaching and lending a compassionate ear to others

Prayer, presence and hospitality permeate volunteer ministries

by Sister Mary Berg

I am keeping busy in my retirement. On Mondays I volunteer as a receptionist at St. John the Evangelist Homeless Shelter. St. John’s philosophy is not to turn away any person so when the shelter reaches capacity, the overflow goes to St. Willebrord Church or a nearby Methodist church. My duties include answering the phone and taking donations when they come. Hardly a Monday goes by that a call comes in from someone looking for a place to stay. The hardest calls are from adults with children, and I have to tell them they need to be 18 or older.

When I leave there, I go to our local literacy council, Literacy Green Bay, to work with a student on reading comprehension and writing skills. We also meet on Wednesday afternoons. My teaching experience has prepared me to work with my student.

Friday afternoons find me at Wellspring which is a day drop-in center for women. We provide a peaceful presence for these women. Many of them are homeless or have drug/alcohol addictions. Here I see the face of Jesus as they share their stories of both struggles and successes.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I am available to drive Sisters to appointments or shopping. On Thursdays I am a receptionist at our Motherhouse.

The last part of the Sisters’ charism statement reads, “Guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, we compassionately respond to the needs of our times through prayer, presence and hospitality.” I am living this through my volunteering. As you can see, no Sister “retires”.


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