Just being there becomes ministry

Salvatorian Sister Pauline Feiner calls her work in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis. a ministry of presence. She explains it simply, “To listen and support, comfort and care, and just be there. In other words, to show people the goodness of a loving God.”

As pastoral associate at St. Rose, Clintonville and St. Mary’s, Bear Creek, Sr. Pauline lives in the former rectory adjacent to St. Mary’s. It offers many opportunities to be present to Bear Creek villagers. Her typical week might include visits to hospitals and nursing homes, or home Communion calls.  Offering grief support after attending wakes and funerals is also a piece of her ministry.

“Once a month I’m the person ‘in charge’ for Sunday liturgies – overseeing, welcoming, checking on lay ministers and just seeing that it all goes smoothly.” Sr. Pauline says it might sound like she’s just giving the deacon a weekend off, but the time is precious. “It gives me the chance to be one-on-one with parishioners, hear their stories, and enter into their lives. I’m privileged to be present and share with them.”

In the wider community, Sr. Pauline looks forward to helping prepare and serve free meals at Clintonville Community Center and distribute food at Ruby‘s Pantry. Another aspect of her ministry especially close to her heart is teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to immigrants who live in Bear Creek. Sr. Pauline says, “It keeps me in touch with people in our area who suffer hunger and struggle with immigration issues. I trust that my presence makes a difference in their lives.”

Every so often, Sr. Pauline’s ministry of presence includes homemade bakery goods, her surplus garden produce, or fresh-picked berries from a nearby farm. “We Salvatorians strive to bring the goodness of our loving God by all ways and means.”

Our 2016 Christmas appeal supports Sr. Pauline and all our sisters God has called to the sacred ministry of pastoral care. Whether comforting the sick, offering grief support, or visiting prisoners, our sisters are the face of Christ to people in need. Help us bring His blessing of hope, faith and love to others with your gift this Christmas.

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