Home » Features » Loretto Celebrates Earna Volk’s Co-membership Commitment

Loretto Celebrates Earna Volk’s Co-membership Commitment

Posted on September 1, 2019, by Sister Anndavid Naeger SL

From left, Earna Volk presents her co-membership commitment to Loretto President Barbara Nicholas, center, receiving congratulations from Barbara and Agnes Ann Schum.
(Photo by Peg Jacobs)

The sunshine-yellow of a large field of mustard plants was the flowing theme of the co-membership commitment ceremony of Earna Rae Volk on June 15.  “As soon as I heard of my acceptance into the process of becoming a co-member, I started preparing for this day,” mused Earna. Her family, friends and Community were not disappointed with her plans as they gathered to participate in the unfolding of her special day in our church.

The opening song, Jean Sibelius’s “Finlandia,” contained a line that proved to be a preparation for the announcement at the end of the event of Mary Ann Coyle’s death that same afternoon. “Be still my soul, when dearest friends depart.”

Earna became the 342nd co-member, which inspired a poem from her entitled “342” — “Close your eyes and pray with me/ In the warmth of falling sun/ As butterflies drink from the wild mustard leaves/ … I take my place in Loretto/ As co-member 342.”

Kathleen Tighe read Edward Hays’s “Psalm of My Whereness.” Kathleen, along with Peg Jacobs, Anthony Mary Sartorius, Elizabeth Croom, Kay Lane, Agnes Ann Schum and Liz Perez formed the Loretto history-study group who met with Earna once a month for two years. Readings from Mary Luke Tobin, Helen Sanders, Patricia Jean Manion and Martha Alderson enriched the whole group.

“Close your eyes and pray with me/ In the warmth of falling sun/ As butterflies drink from the wild mustard leaves/ … I take my place in Loretto/ As co-member 342.”

– Earna Volk

JoAnn Gates, for the Loretto Co-membership Team, reminded us that “membership in Loretto is not for the faint of heart. While Loretto offers the opportunity for deep and lifelong relationship, we are not a rescue shelter, a wound-care clinic or a cruise ship.   In Loretto, self-reliance and reliance on one another walk hand-in-hand. We are a motley crew of human beings. Each of us individually and all collectively — Loretto is a mix of light and shadow. Just as community deepens our capacity for love and patience, so does it invite us to forgive and to ask forgiveness of one another. Monday your co-membership becomes a platform from which you dive deeply, over and over, into the life-death-new-life cycle that grounds this Community of faith.”

“One of the many reasons I wanted to become a Loretto co-member is to satisfy the deep longing in my heart to share the gifts that God has given to me.”

– Earna Volk

As Earna mentioned several people who helped her on the co-membership journey, each placed a shaft of yellow forsythia in a brown jug next to a small table holding seven candles, each flame for the named individual and the center for Loretto. In Earna’s commitment statement she reminded us that she has spent her life here in three areas: nursing, activities and presently receptionist. Over the years she has been involved in too many Loretto events to list in this space but they are summed up in her statement: “One of the many reasons I wanted to become a Loretto co-member is to satisfy the deep longing in my heart to share the gifts that God has given to me.”

At far right, Earna Volk admires the beautiful cake prepared for her celebration by Patty Jo Byrd, at center.
(Photo by Peg Jacobs)

 Earna gifts us by being a welcoming presence of hospitality as receptionist, by taking pictures, sharing her music, song and dance and being joyfully involved in everything. President Barbara Nicholas gratefully accepted Earna as a co-member.

We thought the yellow theme ended when we gathered in the reception area to enjoy punch and Patty Jo Byrd’s creation of a purple-decorated cake. However, the theme continued with each slice being a delicious piece of yellow cake.

Sister Anndavid Naeger SL

Sister Anndavid Naeger SL

After years in a teaching career plus other endeavors, Sister Anndavid returned to the Motherhouse to create a "Sewing Loft. Every kind of sewing need enters and exits the space, including mending, upholstery, curtains, etc. When not dealing with a wide variety of sewing requests, material is gathered for a monthly newsletter which began in January 2003 called, "Our Days at Loretto Motherhouse." This historical record of the sites, sounds and activities here at the Motherhouse has a wide distribution and avid readers!
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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!