1st SJFS Mission Day was a Success!

1st SJFS Mission Day was a Success
Mary Stange – Client Advisor

St. Joseph the Worker

May 1st is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of St. Joseph Financial Services. One of the perks of being a non-profit organization in service of the Catholic Church is that we have the ability to set company holidays that make sense for our community of Faith. The first, or which, being the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

The impetus behind this day, however, was to offer employees a day to volunteer in their local communities. We simply asked employees to show up where they saw a need. So excited to see the fruits of their labors, blooming where they are planted.

Headquarters; South Bend, Indiana

Jonathan Boulos, CEO, invited Stephen McNulty, a Client Service Specialist to accompany him in volunteering for St. Thomas More Academy. During their visit, they fed the teachers with a spread from Taco Bell, engineered and created two SJFS four-square arenas along with a hopscotch course. They also fixed a basketball hoop, enabling the refreshment of outdoor play for the school children.

After the experience, Stephen reflected, “St. Thomas More Academy is an incredible place. While it is still a new school you can really sense the amazing work that is being done there. I got to witness the children pray, play, and learn. This also revealed the impact that we do at SJFS. The clients we serve are doing great work, inspiring the Catholic faith to children all around the country. Most of my clients are elementary schools, so to go and see the work that is being done by the teachers and administrators reminded me of the importance of my work to take some of the burden of administering off their shoulders.” 

For Stephen this experience, “continues to confirm that this firm enables me to develop professionally and personally by serving others.”

Annie McAleer, the Office Coordinator, offered her time to Our Lady of Hungary. Annie had been a teacher there previously. During her time there she helped third grade students with their assignments, monitored recess and brought bagels in for the teachers. 

“It was a beautiful sunny day,”  Annie noted, “that was fulfilling and I felt very loved by my old students. Being in a school setting reminded me of how great and how needed the work is that we are doing at SJFS. All of the teachers at OLH! Teaching requires so much patience and endurance.” At the end of the day, “I couldn’t have imagined spending the day any other way. It was a perfect way to honor the mission of SJFS.

Theresa Delgado, a Client Service Specialist, from Mishawaka, IN, volunteered at the Women’s Care Center and the Catholic Worker House in South Bend. After Mass and adoration and a spiritual direction appointment, she met with the Director of Life and Family Ministries and took donations both to a ministry that assists expectant mothers and to another that assists the homeless.

“I observed a family with four small children approach the altar of St. Joseph after Mass. What impressed me the most was the father. He understood his role as the spiritual leader of his family and led them in worship and prayer. Although it was a daily Mass, they all came dressed in their Sunday best. At first glance, I thought he was a businessman, for he came dressed in a sportscoat and a dress shirt. Then, I noticed a peculiar detail, a small paint splatter on his pant leg and then another. I imagined that he was actually someone who worked a physical job rather than in an office. He made time to attend Mass on this important feast day and dress appropriately for celebrating Mass. There may not have been time to go home and change so he donned his dress clothes over what we would wear that day to the job site. His presence with his family and worship of his God touched my heart. What an example he is to his children and, unbeknownst to him, to me. The encounters I had with so many different people today would not have been possible without the time set aside to do so. The impact was strengthened because so much happened all in one day rather than be dissipated over an extended period of time.”

Doug Erla, Chief of Staff, volunteered at St. Monica’s Parish in Mishawaka, IN. He spent the day painting the rectory entryway and stairwell. Doug reflected that spending the day in that way, “Helped to make the SJFS Mission Day and the Feast Day of St Joseph much more significant and connected for me. It’s about serving, and doing so with humility.

“An elderly parishioner who came to the rectory.  When it was explained by a staff member why I was painting, she teared up. It was well worth it and I am grateful.  It made me focus on other’s needs.  Doing this type of volunteering had a different feel to it.  It was purpose-driven time and work that simply felt good.  Here is a quote from the staff that sums it up, “”I admire the leadership at your company–a very cool thing to have a give-back day on St. Joseph’s feast day.”  SJFS – we did it right!”

Shirley Yaich, a Client Service Specialist, opened her day with Mass and Adoration before driving to Fort Wayne to help her friend, Marie for the day. She spent the day offering the ministry of presence. Marie has five boys, three of whom are neurodiverse.

“When I was texting with Marie last week,” Shirley shared,  “I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that I needed to offer to come help her and be with her on Mission Day. So, I spent the day being present to my friend and helping her around her house and with her children. Then I took her out to dinner, because mom’s of 5 boys deserve a night out! She expressed that this time was just what she needed. And of course, as it often happens, when we give to others, we often get more in return. This was no exception and I had a blessed day.  It helped me to see outside of myself and truly SEE the other person. This time felt so worthwhile and pleasing to God. I see the work of motherhood as such hidden work. Most people don’t see it or praise it on a day to day basis. It made me think of our good St. Joseph and the humility of his work as well. My friend Marie inspires me on many levels. On Mission Day, I got to see first hand how she advocates for her children who have special needs and that was inspiring. 

“This was an incredible opportunity to pray and to give back. To me it means that SJFS cares about ME as a person (more than just a cog in a wheel), and wants to invest not only in me but in the people around me. I have a special devotion to St. Joseph and to be given this day to honor him with our work was such a gift. At Mass, Father spoke about how St. Joseph spent his life hidden in work. And this really struck me, especially with what I chose to do. It wasn’t anything big with fanfare, but it was small, hidden and humble. I felt close to St. Joseph during this day and I’m so thankful!”

Pennsylvania

Paul Evans, our Chief of Operations, hails from Pennsylvania and offered his time to Regina Coeli Parish. After going to Adoration, he weeded and cleaned overgrown flower beds for the parish.  “It was an enjoyable change of pace where I was able to focus on a single analog project for the day.” says Paul. “I love the satisfaction of the noticeable before & after difference, especially reclaiming sidewalks that were overgrown and moss-covered.”

While volunteering, Paul encountered Mike & Mike, the facilities team at Regina Coeli. “They have their work cut out for them with 3 churches and several other buildings to care for.” Paul reflected as well as, “ I joked that we got the day off of work so that we could work. But the change of pace offered a great chance to reflect on service and what we do at SJFS.”

Michigan

Geoff Turbiak, our Chief of Marketing, comes to us from Michigan, offering his time to St. Genevieve-St. Maurice as well as a local nursing home. Geoff spent the time mopping floors between the pews and in the gathering area. He also invested his time in visiting with his wife, Anjanette’s, grandmother who is in a nursing home. He didn’t arrive empty handed, though, and shared her favorite drink, coffee.

Reflecting on volunteering, Geoff noted that, “It made me realize that while I’m working at SJFS there are a lot of people behind the scenes that take care of things that positively impact me.”

At the end of a day of service, Geoff felt, “blessed to not have to do physical labor every day.” 

During the course of his work, Geoff interacted with their parish maintenance manager, David. “I had never met him in the 2 years we’ve belonged to our parish.” Geoff recalled,  “He is definitely like St. Joseph – working quietly in the background to make sure everything is running smoothly.” Geoff’s conclusion, “I couldn’t think of a better use of a day. I pray that the entire team had a positive experience like I did.”

 

North Carolina

Olivia Walleser, a new hire working as a Systems Implementation Specialist, hails from North Carolina. Olivia volunteered at the Salvation Army Center for Hope, a homeless shelter for women and children. She spent the time helping to prepare meals for the residents and cleaning the kitchen. Afterwards she donated blood, went to adoration and then spent the evening at a special St. Joseph mass with a panel of speakers discussing St. Joseph and the Catholic perspective of work.

“It was an amazing experience.” Olivia shared, “I had volunteered at this location prior so it was wonderful to get to continue to build relationships with the individuals there. It really made me reflect on the blessings of my life and pray for those who have far more extreme daily burdens than myself. I really feel like Jesus is most present with those who are suffering. A religious community I’m close to calls it the Anawim – the Hebrew word for poor in spirit. I love working with the Anawim because it reminds me to go beyond myself and take on that same spirit of humility that will allow the Holy Spirit to be present with me as well. ”

During her time, Olivia interacted with Diane, a resident of the Salvation Army Center for Hope. Olivia enjoyed her interactions with Diane and has seen her stay after to clean up after meals more than once. “She is so cheerful. I don’t know her story, but her joy and kindness inspire me.” Olivia reflected.

Even though Olivia is a new hire, she shared, “I think it really shows that we are an organization that truly wants to live its values and put its priorities straight.”

 

Ohio

Meg Heller, Client Service Specialist, comes to us from Ohio. Meg volunteered in downtown Columbus, OH, distributing homeless bags of health foods, toiletries and sanitary products, encountering homeless people and praying with them if they were open to it.

Meg recalled that, “It was a beautiful day to witness the love of Jesus Christ in a tangible way. It humbles me with gratitude for all that I have in my life. These people don’t have a lot. I am struck when speaking to them, making eye contact it validates their dignity and translates to how much they have in that moment. Being seen, heard, and loved.  I encountered Crystal who has hit a rough patch in life. She is a mother and grandmother. She woke up that day asking God for a sign that something good was to come. She was delighted by our interaction and was open to praying for physical healing.”

Serving in this way gave Meg the opportunity to reflect on the life of St. Joseph. “St. Joseph humbly worked in the background of the gospel we have come to know. His humble work at the side of Jesus brought human work closer to the mystery of redemption. To our patron Saint we offer our work everyday. It was a nice change of pace to honor our patron by stretching ourselves and offering work in a different way.”