Mother Teresa said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
That quote served as framework for the Servants of the Lord, a group of parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Washington who help parishioners with small tasks they can no longer do for themselves.
The group helps with things like changing light bulbs, helping with shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry, providing respite care, doing yard work, caring for plants and pets and doing small home repairs.
The group also provides rides to church and appointments and simple companionship.
Organized in 2007, the group, which also is referred to as the Corporal Care Team, currently has about 42 members.
Dixie Schneider and Carole Lohmeyer met with Senior LifeTimes to explain what the group is all about.
Led by Holy Spirit
Lohmeyer said it was the Holy Spirit who led her to “do something” for others.
“That’s as vague as it was,” Lohmeyer said. “I believe with all my heart that it was the leading of the Holy Spirit.”
Lohmeyer went to then-pastor Father Jim Byrnes, who advised her to talk with Sister Marilyn Chall.
Chall, in turn, recommended she join forces with Schneider.
Because the parish takes care of members’ spiritual needs, the group decided to focus on physical needs.
“It’s in the Bible that you’re supposed to be doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” said Schneider. “The corporal works are more physical things. . . those are the things we saw that we were supposed to do.”
When Father Mike Boehm came to the parish, he supported and continues to support the program.
One Corporal Care Team member, Mary Beth Kincaid, provides transportation for a parishioner to attend church each Saturday.
“I wanted to make sure she was able to go to church. It means a lot to me to help someone who wants to worship and attend church,” Kincaid said, adding that the parishioner is thankful and appreciative for the ride.
“It makes it all worth it,” Kincaid said.
Schneider, Lohmeyer and Sister Chall worked together to create guidelines for the program. They spoke at Masses to inform parishioners about the program.
Other parishioners volunteered to do specific items and outlined when they could help.
The type of help provided is kept completely confidential, the ladies noted, adding that a Corporal Care member can fill in when a parishioner’s family is unavailable.
Some people only need help one time, while others need it more often.
The group was slow to start, both agreed, because they were still working out the details.
The Servants of the Lord only provides services for Lourdes parishioners, but members said they would be more than willing to share their model with other groups, churches or organizations who are interested in starting a similar program.
“Sometimes, people are a little reluctant to ask for help, and they think they should be doing it themselves,” Lohmeyer said. “We’re a community of believers. We help one another.”
For Schneider and Lohmeyer, the help they provide is as important to them as to the person they’re helping.
“It’s really a joy when you help other people. It’s amazing what the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to when we make ourselves available to Him,” Lohmeyer said.
“I’ve been given so much in this life that it overflows into wanting to give back. It gives me so much joy,” Schneider said. “I feel that God put us on this Earth to be His hands.”
Schneider said the group shows people that others care, as well as shows young people what a joy helping others is.
How It Works
Schneider and Lohmeyer keep a master list of Servants of the Lord, what they feel comfortable doing and their availability.
When a parishioner calls one of the two ladies, they look at a spreadsheet to see who volunteered for the task.
Schneider or Lohmeyer call the volunteer with the parishioner’s name, address and phone number. The volunteer then calls the parishioner to set up a mutually agreeable time to accomplish the task.
Once the task is completed, the volunteer lets Lohmeyer or Schneider know and they record the work so volunteers are not called more than they sign up for.
Lohmeyer said there is no difference between the person who volunteers weekly and the one who completes a single task.
“We’re all threads of the same fabric,” she said. “No one is more important than another. We are all a team.”
If one person can’t do it, it’s no big deal, Lohmeyer said. They move to the next person on the list.
“It’s more blessed to give than to receive,” Lohmeyer said. “The Servants of the Lord are blessed and hopefully in return our parishioners are too.”
The Servants of the Lord are not allowed to administer medication or lift parishioners. They are not allowed to accept compensation, as they are “doing unto the Lord.”
For more information on the group, people may call Schneider, 636-239-8449, or email Lohmeyer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SLT Lourdes Group