Sr. Mary Joseph Reinke
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Current placement and ministry: I live in Princess Anne, Maryland; I work at the Joseph House Crisis Center for the distribution of coats and toys; and wherever needed.
What did you do before joining the Little Sisters? Missionary work in Peru and Bolivia — wonderful experience and adventures.
When did you start thinking about a religious vocation? After my first year of college. I had always wanted to get married and have a family, but during the summer before returning to school I began to think seriously about religious life. I wanted to have more freedom from “worldly” concerns to get closer to God. I saw the religious vows as the better path.
What attracted you to the Little Sisters? The spirituality of Brother Charles, the simplicity of the sisters’ lifestyle, their trust in Divine Providence, the religious habit, and their joyful dedication to the poor all had a role in attracting me.
I was looking for a group that treasures community life and Church teachings, serving the poor in the lifestyle of Br. Charles. I visited the Little Sisters and found it was a good fit.
What are the most rewarding aspects of religious life? The support of a community to lead a disciplined sacred life, and to work with the poor.
What are the more challenging aspects of religious life? I find it challenging to live and interact with others who may have difficult personalities or that have very difference opinions.
What’s a special memory you have of living in community? Being with our the community listening to our Foundress, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, telling stories of her life experiences. Those memories are very precious.
What’s a special memory you have of ministering to others? I was going through the living room with a laundry basket of dirty linens and clothes of a crippled elderly man whom I had just bathed. A 4th grader visiting the family said to me as I passed by, “It’s mighty nice what you do for him.” Her words made me realize that not only God observes our works of mercy, but that others are watching, too. Indeed, we can cry the Gospel with our lives.
Is there a passage from Scripture that is especially meaningful to you? “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you” (John 21:17). I relate to this beautiful confession of St. Peter because like him I have acted cowardly often, and yet I know that Jesus knows my heart.
What spiritual practices and devotions are important to you? At the heart of our community’s way of life is the Sacrifice of the Mass and Adoration, which will take me a lifetime to appreciate fully. I particularly like the scriptural rosary and devotion to the saints, meditating on their lives and praying for their intercession.
What are your hobbies and special interests? What do you do for fun? I love animals (dogs are my favorite). I have always felt akin to children and enjoy their books and toys, especially puppets which I have often used to befriend shy little ones (and adults!) It’s fun to me to play community games like Dictionary, or ping pong, or any activity involving animals such as visiting the zoo, the Humane Society, even a pet store.
Another fun activity is to stop at a thrift store or yard sale, because I like to treasure hunt (or on the shore of the ocean, for example). I would very much like to have a therapy dog to take to visit the elderly in their homes or in the nursing home. I also hope to resume watercolor painting, which I did a little of some years ago.