Ann Margaret Boone, SCN, recently began a new ministry as one of the Motherhouse Coordinators. When she is not tending to the needs of the Sisters who live at the Motherhouse, Sister Ann Margaret volunteers her time at the St. Vincent De Paul Society Mission Store and Food Pantry. She also spends time visiting residents of a local nursing home.
The mission store in Nelson County, Kentucky, sells a variety of donated items from clothing to appliances and furniture. The store supplies household items at no cost to those in need of assistance after a fire or unplanned move. Susan Hardin, the executive director, meets with clients who need help with rent or water bills.
“Really any basic need that they have can be met at the store. But, if we can’t help, they are referred to other local programs. It’s a great service that Nelson County offers,” she said.
Sister Ann Margaret helps wherever she’s needed, tending to the cash register and helping to sort through the bags of donations. She said clothes are looked over for quality, and cleanliness, making sure there are no rips or tears. “And if our store is full we fill boxes for Appalachia. So it’s a service not just for Nelson County. We help other counties also.”
Down the road at the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry, Sister Ann Margaret spends her time with clients, helping them fill their baskets with food. “The good thing about the store, we call it client choice, so they can take a cart and pick out what they want.” She is made aware of the realities of the unmet basic needs of others as she shops with them. She remembers assisting a woman at the store and suggesting she pick up a box of the free cake mix. “I said, ‘Don’t you have children. Wouldn’t you like a cake?’ But she said ‘my oven doesn’t work’ and she passes up the cake mixes.” Sister Ann Margaret described other experiences of offering clients something like a cookie with nuts. But without good enough teeth – or any teeth – to eat anything crunchy, they decline. Through these experiences, helping others to meet their most basic needs, she’s appreciative of how fortunate she really is. She said, “I think of all that I have.”
Throughout the pantry, the walls are painted with the words: acceptance, love, support, forgiveness, and understanding. She said, “Every day, we as volunteers, when we meet for prayer or have a staff meeting, we talk about not judging others. We don’t know their circumstances.”
“I love this ministry and the people. It’s gratifying to be a part of this.”
For 21 years, until 2012, Sister Ann Margaret served as the director for the SCN housing ministry, Nazareth Villages. She continues to frequently visit about 10 former residents of Nazareth Villages who now live at a nearby nursing home. Dropping by their rooms or meeting up in the community rooms and dining hall, Sister Ann Margaret spends time catching up about all sorts of things. “It’s mostly listening,” she explains.
She recently spent time with her friend, Inez. Stopping by Inez’ room, the pair talked about their families caught up on the latest news. Inez, who loves bingo, was disappointed in her recent bingo outings. She hadn’t been very lucky lately. Sister Ann Margaret affectionately encouraged Inez and they shared some laughs. Sometimes, on nice days, Sister Ann Margaret likes to take some of her friends outside to sit in the sunshine and share a meal.
“I know their families, their sons and daughters, their grandchildren. It’s nice to have the connection and for them to talk to someone who knows them and loves them. They feel free to share and I love to hear their stories.”
Written by Dana Hinton with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Happy National Catholic Sisters Week to Sister Ann Margaret!