The end of the liturgical year is less than a month away; the end of the calendar year is less than two months out. It seems appropriate as we near the end of the year to take time to look back. The liturgical year does that by celebrating two feasts. On November 1, the focus is on those individuals identified as saints. On November 2, the focus is on all who have died. Although these commemorations may seem more somber than celebratory because they both focus on those who have died, the celebrations are about their lives rather than their deaths.
Here at St. Anthony’s, these celebrations bring some of our own “saints” to mind. To be clear, none of our saints have the recognition of official sainthood, but in our hearts, their presence and service here during their lives makes them saints to us. In just the past several years, we said goodbye to a number of people who were very important to St. Anthony’s.
Delores Schneider was a volunteer for many years who served in our Bookstore and our library. She also organized and kept our scrapbooks up-to-date, and tended to the plants in our meeting rooms.
Fr. Marty Pable, OFM Cap. was on staff here for many years and returned a couple of times after the transition to present programs for us. As was common for the Capuchins who lived here, he also served in area parishes to help with weekend Masses, offer missions and provide training for evangelization.
Fr. Bob Streveler was our resident priest for five years, but his contributions went far beyond the sacramental role he provided our guests. He was a member of the transition team and the Board of Directors, presented retreats, and was passionate about resurrecting our garden. He bought and planted the fruit trees and berry bushes, and spent many hours weeding and picking produce.
Fr. Ron Smith, OFM Cap., was also on staff here for a number of years. He also returned after the transition to offer a healing retreat for us, despite (or perhaps because of) his own need for healing from cancer.
Joanie Wilichowski was a faithful member of the staff for more than 40 years. Many would say she was the face and the voice of St. Anthony’s for all those years, greeting every person who called or entered these doors. After the transition, she continued as a volunteer, serving on the Board of Directors and helping out in the kitchen, garden and office.
Fr. Werner Wolf, OFM Cap., was the director of St. Anthony’s in the early nineties. While here, he preached retreats and celebrated the sacraments, but will forever be remembered for his exuberance, infectious joy and his frequent reminder to “Praise the Lord!”
Those pictured and mentioned above are not our only saints. Trying to name them all would surely lead to missing someone, but they are no less on our minds and in our hearts at this time of remembering. It is also appropriate that this time of remembering leads into our traditional time for giving thanks, as we are grateful for them all and all they have done. They are our role models, our mentors, our inspiration as we continue the work they began.
For all of our “saints”, for all they did and all they gave, we say Deo Gratias!