"When I'm six feet under, you'll know I'm a retired Sister."
So says Sister Lois Ann Meyer, who earlier this year turned over coordination of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Associates Program.
But though Sister Lois Ann's schedule may now be more of her own making, she's remaining active working on the Ohio Province Jubilarian Program, transcribing the dissertation of deceased Sister Rosemarie Bosler, SNDdeN, and helping her fellow Sisters negotiate the tightrope of maintaining ministry while keeping others and themselves safe during the pandemic.
"I have enough to keep me out of trouble," she says.
Sister Lois Ann began with the Associate Program in 2008 when then-Provincial Sister Claire Foley, who was in addition coordinating the Associates, asked for her help. The program, which had started in the 1970s as a loose connection of Scripture and study groups, had approximately 60 members. Over the next twelve years, Sister Lois Ann built the program to 140 members spread over Ohio, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Now, she's using her time to pursue personal interests such as photography, swimming, art, and especially cooking.
"Anyone who knows me," she says, "knows I love to cook. I've asked three times formally to be a cook starting when I was a young teacher, but they always wanted me as a teacher, a principal... now I'm finally getting my wish!"
Cooking now includes special treats for Sisters (such as a pineapple upside-down cake) and preparing meals one day a week for her 8-member floor in St. Julie Hall at Mount Notre Dame. As with the other floors, the Sisters even in community are social distancing due to the pandemic. It's difficult, Sister Lois Ann says, not seeing her other Sisters, especially those in the Health Center. "We see each other outside sometimes," she says.
Given that her formal career was just ending as the pandemic took hold, reduced personal contact is an additional change she's having to get used to. "It's hard at times to know how much is related to Covid and how much is related to 'retirement,'" she says.
But she continues to push ahead.
"I'm finding myself transitioning from being very involved in ministry to a more contemplative ministry. And it isn't easy. And I'm not there yet. Maybe by the time I die, I'll make it."
Published in 2020 Annual Report