National Catholic Sisters Week: Sister Susan Holmes
Sister Susan: Minister to the dying
As we continue our celebration of National Catholic Sisters Week, we introduce you to Sister Susan Holmes. Sister Barbara Ann Mayer wrote this profile of Sister Susan, which first appeared in the winter 2016 issue of Threshold.
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Sister Susan Holmes has had a variety of ministries during her 50 years as a Benedictine sister. She has done pastoral ministry, hospital chaplaincy, and is currently hospice chaplain in St. Joseph, Missouri.
“I love working with the dying and their families,” Sister Susan said. “It is a gift to be with people as they process their lives and prepare to meet God. My experience of grief in my own life has allowed me to be open to the grief of others and help them journey through it.
“I am grateful for God’s call and support during these 50 years as well as the grace and challenge community has been for me,” Sister Susan continued. “I’m particularly happy for the experience of being on the founding team of Good Shepherd parish in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.
“I’m also thankful for Pope Francis who has rekindled the joy of the gospel that motivates me to extend the spirit of Vatican II into the future. My hope is that the vibrancy of our monastic life will attract new members and bring a contemplative vision to our world.”
Sister Susan grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, one of three children of Faye and Richard Holmes. She entered the Benedictines after graduating from Lillis High School. She graduated from Benedictine College with a BA in history and holds a MA in pastoral ministry from the University of Dayton. She later took courses in Clinical Pastoral Education and became a certified chaplain.
“As I look back on my life, I am struck by the immensity of God,” Sister Susan said. “I find that I have been loved, forgiven, and helped in more ways than I can realize. My sisters in community have likewise loved, forgiven, and helped me more than I deserve. I am blessed with a joy that is unexplainable.”