Three Mission Partners who worked at House of Good Shepherd Chicago (HGS) paid a summertime visit to Sisters at Immaculate Heart Convent in St. Louis, Missouri..
Jennifer Christy, Pat Meneghini and Sr. Mary Catherine Connolly, SLW, drove from Chicago to St. Louis to see the Sisters they had worked with. The two-day reunion was a charmed time. Conversation was still buzzing about the visit long after the women left and returned to Chicago.
During lunch one February afternoon Pat suggested to Jennifer and Mary Catherine that they take a road trip to St. Louis to see the Sisters at Immaculate Heart. The idea took root instantly.
“I don’t know why we waited so long to do it,” Pat said. “We love these Sisters and had a long history of working and playing together. Even our husbands are friends and know the Sisters.”
Among the many tales the women and Sisters shared were stories of how the Good Shepherd Mission Effectiveness program shaped the positive culture at House of Good Shepherd. Jennifer said, “The Mission Effectiveness office brought enthusiasm and creativity to our staff retreats, gatherings and the Angers Pilgrimages. The program helped Lay Staff learn about, engage with and commit to the Good Shepherd Mission. This commitment enriched the programs at House of Good Shepherd and created a sense of teamwork and mutual support.”
Mission Partners learn art of caring at House of Good Shepherd
“I learned love, patience and the art of real caring from the Sisters at House of Good Shepherd. Seeing how Sisters and Staff treated one another made the women feel supported,” Jennifer said.
According to Sr. Dorothy Renckens, the philosophy of St. Mary Euphrasia took hold at House of Good Shepherd. “It was a wonderful place to be,” she said.
The three retired Mission Partners had a combined total of 49 years working with House of Good Shepherd. Sisters also had a long history of service there.
Sr. Fidelis Lubos worked at HGS for 11 years. Sr. Dorothy Renckens was there for 12 years. Sr. Stanislaus DePolonia spent 10 years at House of Good Shepherd, and Sr. Michael Maguire was there, on and off, for 10 years.
Sr. Sharon O’Grady had been assigned to HGS three times and was the last remaining Sister to leave before it turned over to Catholic Charities. She said, “People built up a lot of trust for one another at House of Good Shepherd over the years. Everyone focused on bringing healing to the women.”
Gift and blessing to serve at House of Good Shepherd
Sr. Mary Catherine said, “I always felt like we treated the women and children with respect. In keeping with their dignity, we tried to help them move into the future with the help they needed to succeed. It was a gift and a blessing to be at House of Good Shepherd.”
Sr. Stanislaus summed up the shared feelings when she said, “There was a real family spirit there. We were close to one another.”
After spending two nights at Immaculate Heart Convent and spending some time sightseeing in St. Louis, the women left and returned home to Chicago.
“We had a truly wonderful visit and loved seeing the Sisters again. We had such fun reminiscing with them. We’re coming back,” Jennifer said.
Sisters of the Good Shepherd entrusted House of Good Shepherd to Catholic Charities on July 1, 2015.