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Home Away From Home

July 3rd, 2012by Mary Anne Bressler

I’m now working at my third parish and in my third re-purposed convent. It is highly comforting to know that there are certainly a number of women religious who called these buildings home who are now  praying for those who have been handed the torch that they carried so well. I have no doubt that they are indeed praying  for us, the grateful products of their labors.

In my first office, I was located in a space adjacent to the kitchen. I found this to be a felicitous placement as it put me in contact with nearly everyone who came into the building. Besides the obvious nearness to the food, the kitchen was also where many meetings took place.

One of my favorite groups I became acquainted with were the Vincentians at Blessed Sacrament. They would greet me as they came and touch base with me on their activities. I developed a fondness for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul through their enthusiasm and witness. At one point I had an opportunity to move to a larger, rather nicer office upstairs, but I declined because I preferred to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the downstairs.

My second office was also at a crossroads as it was located at the point where visitors and staff would go left, right, or up to get to their meetings. When people came in looking for someone, they would more than likely find me first. Parishioners would pop in to say hello as they passed. The luxury of this particular space was that it had its own little bathroom, of which my favorite feature was my “bathtub bookshelf.” When the building was converted from living quarters, I suppose it was cheaper to leave the tub intact and cover it up with wooden frame and shelving.

My new office is, to use a term from my Little Women days, in the garret (aka the third floor). Obviously I will be removed from the traffic in this particular office. Now I will find out who my true friends are, because they will have to climb two sets of stairs to come see me! It’s a cozy space with dormer ceilings and a much better view than the two previous, which looked out on a wall and fire escape respectively. I’m looking forward to making this way upstairs room my new home away from home.

And honestly, that is what these offices are. To me, working in church ministry is not just a job, it’s a calling. I spend a great deal of time and put my heart into what I do because it’s where I believe God wants me to be. As a result, that office becomes a center of my life, as it was for the women who lived there. I am grateful to them for their example and their prayers and pray that I will serve as well as they did.

Mary Anne Bressler

Mary Anne Bressler is a parishioner and Pastoral Associate at St. Anthony Church in Madisonville and an adjunct faculty member at Xavier University.