Left, Sisters Nancy Wolf and Ellie McNally; middle, Sister Nancy at her desk in the administrative office of Salem Heights; right, Sister Nancy talks with Sisters Laura Will (right) and Barbara Agnew (left) in the dining hall.
As a kindergarten and first grade teacher for 46 years, Sister Nancy Wolf didn’t realize she was honing the skills she uses in her new position as Coordinator of Sisters’ Services at Salem Heights.
It all comes down to fundamentals: listening and loving, learning and openness, organization and multi-tasking.
“It’s actually amazing that what I always did is what I still do,” said Sister Nancy, who began her position at Salem Heights last October. “I think because of teaching kindergarten, where you had to change activities very quickly, I learned to think quickly and move and adjust my schedule. Those skills transfer very easily.”
Her adaptability was put to the test immediately. Sisters Nancy and Jeanette Buehler, who was serving as interim coordinator, were going to share the responsibilities, but after three days Sister Jeanette had to leave the position for health reasons.
Sometimes God’s plans are different than your own, but in working with Sister Judy Kroeger, Salem Heights administrator, Sister Nancy has settled into her new role. She oversees everything from helping a Sister get batteries for a TV remote to handling arrangements when a Sister is taken to the hospital. She works with the Sisters to facilitate community at Salem Heights through prayer, socialization and service.
“I love what I do here,” Sister Nancy said. “I love working with the Sisters. They made me feel so welcome.”
The best part of the job, she said, is visiting with Sisters and getting to know them. They’re eager to share their wisdom and experiences. It’s inspiring how the Sisters interact and support each other.
“These people are just wonderful and they are so appreciative of anything you do,” Sister Nancy said. “It’s nice to hear that, too. You feel like you’re doing what you should be doing. I just feel like God put me in the right place at the right time.”
Sister Nancy has come to enjoy the position, but it’s not what she expected when she retired from Immaculate Conception School in Celina, Ohio, at the end of the 2012-13 school year after 30 years of teaching there. She has also taught in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona.
After leaving the classroom, Sister Nancy took a yearlong sabbatical and figured she might volunteer as a tutor or perhaps in a children’s hospital or early childhood center. Meantime the job at Salem opened up. She was asked to consider taking it.
Though she never knows what each day will bring, Sister Nancy said God put her in the job for a purpose. That motivates her do to her best.
“There’s no manual,” Sister Nancy said. “You use common sense and figure as you go what needs to be done.”
Story and photos by Dave Eck