Board instead of bored
Sister Joyce Lehman • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
Recently someone asked me what I plan to do once I retire. “After all,” she said, “now that you’ve got all that knowledge and experience, and all those skills, it would be a shame not to use them.” I’m sure that our Sisters who have been in such a wide variety of ministry positions over the years have been asked, or asked of themselves, that same question.
Thinking of retirement brought back the memory of the wife who commented to me about her newly retired husband who was bored and at a loss for things to do. “If he rearranges my kitchen cupboards one more time,” she said, “I may have to find somewhere else for him to live.” Preparing for the time after working full-time is a challenge, but those of us who are disciples of Jesus might look at “retirement” in a different light.
If you have been reading Sharing & Caring for a while, or if you know some of our Sisters, you will understand that “retirement” is not a word in our lexicon. Retirement’s financial overtones indicate a time when a person is no longer remunerated for the work they have been doing full-time. The implication is that once released from the necessity of making a living, people are free to do what they wish, or nothing at all. But many people continue to work after they have left their full-time profession. It is the same for many Precious Blood Sisters.
Mission and ministry are born from the same source but are not the same thing. A mission is the impetus flowing from an encounter with God, from a specific understanding of the purpose of life, from a desire to go beyond ourselves for the common good in the name of Jesus. Ministry is a particular way of fulfilling or living out a mission and the same mission can encompass many kinds of ministries. Some of our Sisters may have left ministry, but they know they always remain in mission. There is always some way that they can be of service.
So, instead of being bored, a number of our “retired” Sisters — as well as Sisters still in full-time ministry — serve on boards of nonprofit groups. Board membership gives them the opportunity to share their hard-earned knowledge — and, hopefully, wisdom — as organizations strive to meet the unmet needs of our neighbors. When invited to be on a board along with other people of willing spirit and open arms, our Sisters are sure to give with their whole heart. They offer insight gleaned from years of serving, an outlook on life informed by immersion in Gospel values, the wisdom of the church and our Precious Blood Spirituality, and a desire to see every person respected and their human dignity guarded and protected.
In this issue you will read about just some of our Sisters who definitely are not bored while serving on boards. Being a board member gives our Sisters an opportunity to influence the organization where they serve to remain faithful to its own mission — and to continue our mission of “proclaiming God’s love by being a life-giving, reconciling presence in our fractured world.”