Stories & News
Meet some of the men and women who benefit from the Retirement Fund for Religious.
Sister Geraldine Vogel, 84, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri, is a testament to “on-the-job” training. During more than 64 years of religious life, her ministries have included everything from teacher to retirement center administrator and even a couple of stints overseeing building maintenance. Often, she entered her new ministry with little to no formal training. “You just learn to do all kinds of things,” she says with a laugh.
Growing up, Sister Geraldine was taught by Precious Blood sisters. “As an older child, in seventh and eighth grades, I would help the sisters in the sacristy,” Sister Geraldine explains. Working closely with the sisters and getting to know them inspired her to pursue a religious vocation. She entered the novitiate in 1948 and made her first profession three years later.
In 1952, Sister Geraldine began teaching. “For my first assignment, I had roughly 50 children in a combined first- and second-grade class,” she recalls. “I had no training, but the former kindergarten teacher used to come by, and she really helped me a lot that first year.” Sister Geraldine served for some 35 years in education, as a teacher, principal, and curriculum coordinator. Along the way, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in teaching, a master’s degree in education administration, and a certification in Montessori teaching.
Sister Geraldine also spent a number of years ministering in senior care. For four years, she served as activities director for an adult-day center sponsored by her community. In 1993, she was asked to be the administrator for Regina Cleri, a retirement residence for priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “I thought, I’ll come a day and see what it’s all about,” said Sister Geraldine. She ministered there for 16 years.
In 2009, at the age of 79, Sister Geraldine retired from active ministry. Yet she continues to serve in numerous volunteer ministries at her community’s motherhouse, including gardening, working in the gift shop, and driving members who need assistance to various appointments. Sister Geraldine prefers to keep busy. “I have to get up and move,” she explains. “If I can do something for somebody else, that’s a good for me.”