Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On "mission" in Richmond...

Today is my second day back at Saint Gertrude High School. I feel more myself - more rested from the travel and eager for a whole day in the office! This would probably be a good time to explain why a Benedictine Sister from Bristow, VA is living in Richmond. Briefly...our community was founded in Richmond in 1868 - just after the Civil War. The sisters came here to teach and to minister to the Catholic families in the city. In 1894 several sisters were sent to teach in Bristow alongside the monks of Belmont Abbey. In 1901 the monastery in Bristow became our motherhouse. (More history to come as we get closer to celebrating our 140th anniversary in May.) There has always been a Benedictine Sister of Virginia serving God's people in Richmond. Our prioress, Sister Cecilia, is committed to continuing our presence here. In that effort the community purchased a bigger convent and three of us make community for one another while serving in this diocese.

Sister Charlotte Lange, OSB works at St. Mary's Hospital - being a compassionate presence to the patients and staff there. Sister Andrea Verchuck, OSB staffs our Mission Effectiveness Office (located in Saint Gertrude High School.) Her ministry is to be present to our students, faculty, staff, parents, and board members - nurturing our charism in the school community. In Sister Andrea the Benedictine values of stewardship, peace, prayer, beauty and silence take on flesh and bone.

Me? I am serving our community as Director of Vocation Ministry. Normally, this is an internal ministry of the monastery. Sister Cecilia asked me to join the sisters here and to set up a satellite office in the diocese of Richmond. The president of SGHS, Mrs. Susan Walker, graciously found a space for me in the school, just down the hallway from Sister Andrea's office.

One of the "perks" of living "on mission" is the chance to be with young people again. I taught in Catholic high schools before I entered the monastery. Now...I hear giggling in the hallways, the mad rush of teenage feet as the last bell signals freedom, and "Hi, Sister Vicki" dozens of times throughout the day. Saint Gertrude High School has made a place for me literally, and in the community heart. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

PS - For more information on our high school, visit the website at http://www.saintgertrude.org/

FYI - Now that I have returned to Eastern Standard Time, look for a new blog each day around 10:30 am.