Sister Mary O’Neill, PBVM, of Newburgh Ministry, will be honored at our 30th Anniversary Dinner in New York on September 21. 

Sister Mary writes that SOAR! is meaningful to her because of the aging religious in her own life…

I want to thank SOAR! for choosing me to be one of the recipients receiving an award this year.

Both the organization, which raises funds to help support aging religious, and the award, are very meaningful to me because of the blessings it (SOAR!) brings to my Sisters, with whom I have worked and shared life for many, many years.

Although many of these Sisters are now retired, it doesn’t mean that they are no longer reaching out to those in need. Many of them volunteer and work alongside me at Newburgh Ministry. One Sister, 90 years old, serves three days a week answering the phone, writing thank you notes to donors and sorting through books and clothes given to our thrift store. Those clients who come to the ministry have come to appreciate her quick wit as well as her compassionate listening to those who come asking for help.

Another Sister, in her late 80s, volunteers every Thursday, helping during the thrift sale and using her knowledge of Spanish to translate for those whose knowledge of English is limited.

My “stay at home” Sisters also help in countless ways. Most importantly is the prayers they constantly offer for our people and their many needs. Added to that, they collect hygiene supplies for the people staying in our homeless shelter, write to them at holidays and prepare gift bags to let them know that someone is caring about them. I know that these valiant women will never stop caring for those made poor, and knowing that SOAR! exists to help support them brings me great comfort. 

To all of you who contribute to SOAR!, please by assured of my prayer of intercessions for each of you and your families, and know that the prayer of gratitude is powerful.

Sister Mary has been active in Newburgh Ministry for more than a decade, caring for those who are disadvantaged in Newburgh, NY. She is the recipient of the 2016 Father Victor Yanitelli Award. Each year, SOAR! presents the award to a senior religious in the greater New York area to honor their service to others.