On April 21, more than 900 volunteers were recognized for their outstanding volunteer service at the annual WPS Volunteer Awards.
We are thrilled to be celebrating our long-time volunteer, Sister Mary Berg, who won runner-up in the Heart of Gold Lifetime Achievement Award. Sister Mary has volunteered at St. John’s Ministries and the shelter for the past six years, and at Wellspring, our daytime resource center for women, since it started in 1998.
Volunteering has always been important to Sister Mary. From a young age, expressing love and care through volunteering was modeled to her. When she was a young girl, her mother, a department store clerk, set the example of volunteering for church events or buying coffee to donate to somewhere that needed it. And so, Sister Mary would volunteer at the church ice cream social or watch the neighborhood children.
As an adult, she continued in the spirit of volunteerism. As a sister of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, a local diocesan community of religious women, service is at the heart of her calling. In addition to driving fellow sisters to various appointments, she volunteers weekly at both St. John’s as an office reception volunteer and at Wellspring as a hospitality volunteer. Further, Sister Mary volunteers her time weekly tutoring in English as a Second language to adult women through the Literacy Council. She helps foster tangible skills that allow the students to navigate everyday components of life more effectively. Sister Mary found that retiring from teaching allowed her to serve multiple days per week for the organizations she cares about.
Sister Mary is a faithful volunteer with a steady, compassionate heart, always there to serve our guests. Her motivation is deep within. Sister Mary says the best part of volunteering is to be a listener to the women to hear their struggles. It’s meaningful to her to be able to just walk alongside our guests and hear their successes and joys along the way. Meeting the need for belonging and community is one of the most critical needs facing those experiencing homelessness, and Sister Mary has proven that she will faithfully stand in the gap and be a friend, listener and supporter.
We thank Sister Mary for her example of humble service to those most in need in our community. May her legacy of reaching out to people in need and seeing their dignity instead of their circumstances inspire us all.
To watch the awards ceremony click here. The video starts with Sister Mary’s award.