Sister Maureen was a devoted and tireless volunteer at Trinity Cafe for almost 14 years. She touched every guest, every volunteer and every staff member in profound ways. Her goodness, faith, compassion, humor and love will remain with us always.
Sister Maureen spent 40 years as a teacher educating and shaping lives of students. She was instrumental in setting them on a path to be good citizens serving as principal, counselor and friend. As a sister, she also led them down the path of righteousness and faithfulness.
Sisters don’t stop working when they retire; they volunteer! Sister Maureen served nearly one million dinners, volunteering four days a week since Trinity Cafe opened Oct. 15, 2001. The fifth day she went to jail where she counseled and ministered to those behind bars.
One said, “Lawyers aren’t allowed to come in the pod with inmates but Sister Maureen could. She’d gather us all around and share scripture with us. I’ve never met another person like her in my life. She was special.”
She also gave bus passes to those released from jail so they can get to the café. They thought it was so they could get a nice dinner but really it was so she could keep tabs on them. Don’t think you could bamboozle her though. If you messed up, you were required to explain your actions. She was the epitome of tough love. Those that made mistakes knew she would write them a letter of encouragement because she was also the essence of compassionate love.
Sister Maureen glided among the hungry waiting to eat, face aglow, filled with humbleness and love. She consoled people that had lost hope, faced violence, lived in the elements and felt alone. She would reach out, cup a scruffy face in her hands and listen with her heart. And she prayed.
She never saw herself as an advocate for the homeless or criminals yet she was beloved and respected by them all. If she missed one of her brood, she looked for them. She said, “If anyone told me I’d be walking up and down Florida and Nebraska Avenues I’d have said I wouldn’t be caught dead.” But there she was because these were her children. She was their mother, sister, pastor and now, their guardian angel.
She was fun and light-hearted too. She loved to dance in the dining room with “handsome,” as she called the male guests! She fed the body and soul of each person she touched reminding all to “Stay with God.”
I always told Sister Maureen I wanted to be like her when I grew up. When I joined Trinity Cafe she took me under her wing giving me unwavering support, advice and love. She helped me discover my purpose and rediscover my faith. She was a wonderful friend and role model.
Sister Maureen was truly an inspiration; faithful in her commitment to God. She quietly but powerfully made a difference in the lives of so many, many people. Her commitment and service to mankind was indispensable. She was an angel on earth; now she’s an angel in heaven.
In honor of Sister Maureen’s beautiful life and devotion to service, donations can be made in her memory to Trinity Cafe.
By Cindy Davis, Trinity Cafe Program Director