BLOG: How my life is different in retirement

Posted on: May 29, 2015 3:00 pm
Tags: Blog, Retirement

Sr. Mary Janet Stamm, SND

How my life is different in retirement

By Sister Mary Janet Stamm, SND

      Life is a journey.  I am still on the way.  Reflecting on this truth helped me as I ended one grand chapter of my life, took wings and then set foot on a whole new path.  After eighteen years in active ministry in education at St. Julie Mission in Uganda, East Africa, I returned home to stay.  It was a big adjustment in many ways.  I had been living in a remote part of Uganda where electricity was still something new and also quite unreliable.  Water was precious as we counted on God’s good rain at the right time and in the right amount for our needs and for the gardens.  Most of what we ate came from our gardens and farm.  With my white skin, I was a minority living with dark-skinned children and other beautiful dark-skinned people.  Our daily schedule and routine was quite regular and predictable: up early each morning for prayers, holy mass, breakfast and then, off down the dirt path to school.  There was only a little time after classes for afternoon break and then family work with the children.  Our students were boarders and with us 24/7.  We ended our day with prayers, supper, recreation, which was usually a card game, and then welcomed sleep.  Life was good and rather simple.

     I came from a land where the very basic needs of water, food and shelter were daily pressing concerns.  I returned home to a land of super-abundance.  It seemed strange to drink water from a tap and what a luxury it was to have hot water for a shower.  Food in variety and also abundance, paved roads, carpeted floors or shiny tiled floors, it was all so different.  I was eager to watch some good TV programs and the news, but I was somewhat shocked by the bombardment of commercials and the rapid speech of the anchors.  It made me feel like something had happened to my brain because I could hardly understand what was being communicated.  My first experience in the giant Kroger and Wal-Mart made me almost panic and want to leave.  It was so overwhelming.  In May 2015, it will be two years that I am home.  I think I am over the initial readjustment, but there is a part of me that will never feel at peace in this land of super-abundance.  I am now semi-retired.  I am involved in ministry at St. Augustine School in Covington, KY as a volunteer tutor for first and second graders.  I volunteer at St. Elizabeth Hospital as a communion minister one morning each week.  Community services to my sisters at our Provincial House, St. Joseph Heights, round out my assignments.  To promote good health I go with a sister to exercise class three times a week.  I am so grateful to have the luxury of extra time for prayers, reading and visiting with my family and friends.  The journey goes on and, as I am soon to be 75 years down the road, I praise and thank God for all that has been and for the blessings of my present semi-retired life.  Yes, God is so very good!

Gerald Muhanguzi, CPA
Date: on June 1, 2016

Sr. Janet has been too sincere and exact! It's 3yrs now since you left the land of simplicity, Uganda. I was one of the first students you started with and my first time to see solar power was at St. Julie School (1998 - 2002). I believe that one of the most profound ways in which we can truly give thanksgiving to God is through serving him by serving others. He told us that, "In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me" (Matt 25:40). Thus, we know that to give thanksgiving to God we can serve Him, and to serve Him all we need to do is serve others. It's so simple. All it takes is a little planning and personal sacrifice and even then many opportunities to serve our fellowmen will arise when the Lord knows we are willing and seeking to serve each other. You are my HERO!

Karen Mc Keown Minshall
Date: on January 15, 2016

Sister Janet, you literally laid your life down on the line to do Gods will in Uganda. You are a true warrior of Jesus! Every time I see you it reminds me of all the good you did while there. Thank you and God Bless that you are back home safe with family and friends.

Date: on July 13, 2015

Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing! fbkkeedeaceabeae

Mary Compton
Date: on June 4, 2015

Sister Janet, Loved your article. I loved my short visit with you in Uganda and would go back in a heartbeat to the simpler but tough life. In Montana now but will contact you when I'm home perhaps for a visit. Peace Mary

Date: on June 2, 2015

Sr Janet have shared much since high school through entering the convent together. I missed Janet when she went to Uganda. I admired her but I,m HAPPY she is home.

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