In 2004, not long after I joined forces with the Sisters of Humility
as we celebrated their 150th anniversary.
l-r: Sisters Marilyn Schierbrock, Sue Sellers, Bea Snyder, me with
nametag, Sisters Rae Elwood and Miriam Ehrhardt.
I'm re-posting the first post I made in "A Nun's Pocket" in November 2013. I love this story. I continue to serve the Sisters of Humility helping them continue with their mission of caring for the poor and for Earth.
Standing at a a podium in front of 100+ nuns I was just a tad bit nervous. I was their newly hired, non-catholic communications director and my start date was a month away. The sisters of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary (CHM) had come together in Davenport, IA, from all over the U.S., Mexico and Haiti for their annual assembly.The CHM president–my new boss, Sister Jude, had asked me to make an appearance at this meeting and introduce myself.
My perception of nuns came through what I’d seen on television and at the movies; I grew up with Gidget in a habit ("The Flying Nun") and had seen many movies with stars ranging from Audrey Hepburn, to Whoopie Goldberg to Meryl Streep. At this point I’d done my research and had met several members of the CHM community during the hiring process. I knew these were highly educated women who wore regular clothes and had a mission of caring for the poor and Earth. Perhaps Susan Sarandon’s portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in the movie “Dead Man Walking” was Hollywood’s closest brush with the current nun reality. (Later I was lucky to meet Sr. Prejean, who wrote the book "Dead man Walking"...an amazing woman.)
Now I was sweating as their eyes were upon me. “Hello, I am Lisa Martin, and I look forward to working with you. I'm a single mother with a 5-year-old daughter. Having been out of the job market for 10 years, I have been struggling to find employment; sitting beside recent college grads who would settle for a lot less than what I need to keep my home and support my daughter. In the past, fate has always led me to the right job, but the circumstances for me at this point are so very different...fear was creeping in.
From the start my daughter, Lia,
jumped in to help Sister Jeanette Kopel
at a local environmental expo.
“For the first time in my life, I prayed for a JOB. I prayed the same prayer every day for two months. And guess who answered? You did–the Sisters of Humility–that prayer thing sure did work!” The room erupted with laughter then applause; I was relieved and felt blessed.
That was over 10 years ago when they accepted me based on my skills and desire to contribute to their mission. I am grateful to this group of women not only for hiring me for the best and most fulfilling job I have ever had, but also for their love and support of my family.
The posts in "A Nun's Pocket" will be about many experiences within this world of women religious and will come from a variety of voices–sisters, lay staff, friends, and family, speaking about the interesting, faithful, lively, humorous, loving, spiritual and dedicated world of the Sisters of Humility.