Meet the board: Sr. Marlene Ann Lama

Q: What is your name, and how long have you volunteered to serve on the St. Joe Foundation Board?

My name is Sr. Marlene Ann Lama, a native of Chicago who answered God’s call to religious life as a Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ to serve God’s people. When it comes to volunteering to serve on the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation Board, I consider myself a novice as I just recently joined the board.

Q: As a member of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, please share what personally inspires you about the life of your foundress, Saint Katharina Kasper. Are there particular values or works that you find especially important?

What personally inspires me about the life of Saint Katharina Kasper, our foundress, is her prayerful attentive listening to the Spirit and seeking God’s will. Saint Katharina was clearly moved by the Spirit to take risks in order to answer the needs of society at that time. Today, the diverse ministries of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ continue to evolve and reach out to serve those in need. I strive to bring a glimpse of God’s loving and caring presence into the world however I serve in ministry. I also embrace the values of Openness to the Spirit, Simplicity, Community, and Dignity and Respect for all.

Q: Please share a memorable interaction you have had with a grantee and their staff/clients. 

Being such a new board member, I am looking forward to meeting the wonderful people that have received a monetary grant from the St. Joe Community Health Foundation and are engaged in ministry to the poor and marginalized in Allen County. At this time, I only know of them via grant proposal requests and the informative St. Joseph Community Health Foundation newsletters. Hopefully some memorable interaction with the grantees and clients will take place in the near future. Right now, my interaction takes the form of gratitude and prayers for each of these ministries as they serve the poor and marginalized.

Q: What do you enjoy most about serving on the St. Joe Foundation Board?

I am edified to see the professionalism of the staff and board members and how much they grasp the charism of Saint Katharina and strive to remain true to it. It is evident in their decision making that they use the PHJC mission, vision, and values as a lens to help make decisions now and for the future.

Q: As a member of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, can you share a job, role, or project you have found especially rewarding during your time?

Being called by the Spirit and our community of Sisters to serve in a Provincial Leadership role, I had the opportunity to have many intercultural experiences. I visited our international Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ Sisters in eight of the nine countries where our congregation ministers. This was truly a blessing! I was not only able to serve and deepen my love for each Sister of the American Province during my eight years of service to the community, but I grew in knowledge that I belonged to an international congregation of Sisters. Gifted with the opportunity to travel to Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya, and India, I was able to see for myself how PHJC Sisters in those different countries ministered and served the poor and marginalized as the hands and feet of Christ in so many diverse ways. Surprisingly, I discovered that although the cultures were different, the spirit of Saint Katharina was alive and well in each of these countries around the world. I truly witnessed amazing things happening that further broadened and expanded my understanding of Saint Katharina’s spirit and charism as well as the concept of universal Church. The cherry on the top was being present at St. Peter’s Square for the canonization of Saint Katharina Kasper in Rome as she was declared a saint for the universal Church.