GIRARD Longtime nun to retire and take it easy, sort of
The sister has lived in an apartment to make more room in the center for women and children to stay.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- What does a Catholic nun do when she retires?
For Sister Lucille Conley, it's not jetting off on a long vacation, sipping sweet drinks at a resort on some tropical island.
The 79-year-old member of the Sisters of Humility of Mary, who has directed the Emmanuel Community Care Center here since its opening in 1992 and who has dedicated her life to education, is going home to Villa Maria Community Care Center.
"I want to appreciate what's there," she said.
"I'm not going to sit around and twiddle my thumbs," Sister Lucille said Thursday with her usual candidness.
Instead, Sister Lucille, who has served her religious beliefs since 1945, will volunteer at the Girard center and at the Girard Multi-generations Center, where she's a board member.
She will be replaced at the Emmanuel center by Sister Jean Orsuto, who formerly worked in obstetrics at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and now at a Cincinnati hospital.
Sister Jean will arrive Feb. 17 and take charge March 1.
The center provides food, clothing and shelter and helps empower and strengthen women, children and the disadvantaged by teaching self-reliance.
The center annually provides help to 1,800 families -- food, clothing, furniture and help with utility and medical bills.
Retirement for Sister Lucille only means she won't be working full time.
She plans to initiate a reading club for fourth- fifth- and sixth-grade pupils.
"I love to teach. I want to do what I love to do," she said. "I'll be taking some time out for myself."
"The great feeling is, I leave the center knowing the community has accepted us and wholeheartedly accepts us. That's the treasure."
"The greatest gift to the community is to make it aware of the poor and disadvantaged," she added.
Since 1992, Sister Lucille has lived alone in a Girard apartment so she doesn't take up living space at the North State Street facility that can be used by women and their children with a need.
It's been a long time since she's lived in a religious community.
"I miss sharing with sisters. It's like going home," Sister Lucille said of the villa, noting she lived for 2 1/2 years at the motherhouse just across the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
In addition to her volunteer work, Sister Lucille will also concentrate on her spiritual development at the villa.
"You can always learn," she said, pointing out she will be attending retreats to focus on nonviolence and peace.
"I have to become aware of violence in myself as well as in the world. We all have violence in us," she said.