She knits, sews, and cooks and bakes. None of these are easy tasks for a women whose hands can be painfully uncooperative due to Lupus. Yet, what Sister Josephine “Jo” Birchmeier describes as her homemaking ministries continue to be a blessing to our Congregation of Dominican Sisters and to the West Michigan community.
Sisters who live on the memory loss floor of Aquinata Hall respond positively to the apple sauce, home-baked bread and jam, and pies that Sr. Jo makes to share. “The nurses and other care-providers say that these foods must conjure up joyful and comforting memories, which is particularly important in this complex care arena.”
Sister Jo, a retired educator, is one of the volunteers who helps make cold weather hats and headbands for the Santa Claus Girls. She also makes sure the yarn cupboard at Marywood is full for Sisters who crochet and knit these children’s hats throughout the year. At Christmas, the Santa Claus Girls distribute the hats as gifts to children in Kent County. “There’s something especially gratifying about helping kids stay warm in the winter,” she says. Which is why she and so many Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters have been knitting hats for the Santa Claus Girls for the past five years.
Read more about Sr. Josephine’s lifetime in ministry.