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Partner Spotlight: Jo Ann McQueen

Posted on: January 11, 2016 11:00 am
Tags: Associates, Spotlight,

The Sisters of Notre Dame are missioned to proclaim God’s goodness and provident care, but we do not do it alone! Hundreds of individuals and organizations dedicate their prayers, their time, and various resources to share in carrying out Jesus’ mission near and far. Each month we pass the mic to one or more of our partners and shine the spotlight on their relationship with the Sisters of Notre Dame.

January 2016 Partner Spotlight: Jo Ann McQueen

As the Sisters of Notre Dame prepare for their provincial chapter, themed “Encountering the Word, Engaging the World,” I think about my first encounter with the Sisters of Notre Dame and how our shared engagement with the world has grown.

My husband, Rick, and I first encountered the Sisters of Notre Dame when we lived in Morehead, KY. We attended Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church, which is where we met Sr. Mary Jeanne Frances Cleves, who ministers at St. Claire Regional Medical Center.

A friendship sparked and Sr. Jeanne told me about the SNDs’ women’s retreats in Covington. Despite the distance, I signed up for one of the spring retreats. There was something about when I came and walked through the doors at The Heights for the very first time. I didn’t want to leave, but when I did it was with a spirit of joy. I knew then that I would be back. 

Furthering My Commitment 

I returned the next year (and the next, and the next) for the women’s retreat. During the yearly reflection and fellowship, I learned about the Notre Dame Associates and, along with my husband, decided to pursue this commitment to the SND charism.

Five of us from Morehead joined the Associates. Sr. Jeanne was my sponsor and it was wonderful having her guidance. In our one-on-one meetings, I learned a lot about faith, scripture, and the Sisters of Notre Dame. The relationship was developing between the two of us, and I knew I wanted to do more.

And so, I became a planning member for the retreats. I would travel from Morehead to attend our meetings and I kept saying, “Lord, I want to help out up there, even though it’s a two-hour drive. If I was just closer!” 

When my husband retired, we moved to Covington and the Lord put us twelve minutes from the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sr. Marylyn Ehrman had also recently relocated from Morehead back to Covington. One day, she called and asked if I was interested in sewing at the Provincial House. I started coming in once a week and met Sisters Mary Noella McEntee and Mary Janet Stamm. The next thing I knew, we had formed the Sew-So Group and were sewing for the sisters and for the children at the SND mission in Uganda.

Mass

One of the special and powerful things I experience at the Provincial House is celebrating Mass with all of the sisters. When I walk through the doors into the St. Joseph Heights Chapel, it is a whole different world and everything else is put aside. When I walk back out, I resume my normal life. That time in chapel, however, is rewarding and enlightening.

At a recent Mass, Fr. Rosing explained in his homily that when we celebrate the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, but we are the body and the blood to go out and be mercy for others. 

Walking Together

I cannot express enough what I feel when I am at the Provincial House and getting closer to the sisters, sharing with them, and growing in faith together. They inspire me. They are full of life. I used to keep women religious on a pedestal, but I realized they are human just like you and me. They care for each other and pray with and for each other, especially for their fellow sisters in Lourdes Hall, the skilled care area. The Provincial House is a very special place to be and I wish more people got to experience it. More importantly, the relationships I have made with the Sisters and Associates of Notre Dame have shown me that we are not walking alone. We are walking together as one, toward one goal: to Encounter the Word and to Engage the World through Christ.

 

Lil Dance
Date: on May 25, 2016

I have had the great honor and that of being blessed to be on the retreat team with you. Your ideas are inspiring and you do live the mission that the SND community aspires to. I miss being on the team and being at the retreat with you. I love your smile, it radiates to all that you meet. Take care my friends my prayers are always with you. Thank you for all you do at The Heights.

Beth Schoettle
Date: on January 18, 2016

Jo Ann, you share your sewing talent for the Sisters of Notre Dame but more importantly you share with all of us the Light of Christ that burns brightly in you. Your kindness and dedication is greatly appreciated. May God continue to bless you on your spiritual journey.

Sue Miller
Date: on January 16, 2016

Jo Ann I had the pleasure of meeting you at one of last spring's retreat days, and then again at S. Marge Mouch's Jubilee celebration. You inspire me to grow! Thank you.

Cathy Stevens
Date: on January 16, 2016

Jo ann, what a wonderful gift you are to the SND community! We can all learn from your example. Everyone can see God shining through your beautiful smile and your encouraging words. Also, thanks to Rick too for both of you sharing your time, talent, and treasure with SND community! We are truly blessed! Blessings!

Michele Ferguson
Date: on January 15, 2016

And, thank you so much for sharing your time to be my sponsor - the first Associate to be a sponsor! You are such an inspiration for all of us!

Sister Marge Mouch
Date: on January 15, 2016

Thank you, JoAnn, for sharing your SND journey. I just want everyone to know that YOU have been such an inspiration to me! Our friendship began in Morehead with Cursillio and then through SND Associate formation. I am so happy to call you my sister!

Jan Ferguson
Date: on January 14, 2016

So proud to call you my friend. Your faith radiates from you. You touch lives. What a gift. I still need to learn to see. LOL

Tina Bernheimer
Date: on January 14, 2016

JoAnn, You are such a kind, caring, giving person. I admire you and I am honored to know you.

Mary Ellen Millar
Date: on January 14, 2016

Jo Ann, you are a gift to the sisters and associates. What a gift to give clothes to the children in Uganda. God bless you.

Judy Parsons
Date: on January 14, 2016

How eloquent you are, Jo Ann! What a wonderful road you traveled to become an Associate. You have lifted my spirits just by reading (and rereading) about your faith and dedication to the SNDs and the road you have traveled. God's blessings are certain to be yours!

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