Sister Gerri O’Neill, O.P., and Sister Kathy Somerville, O.P., are members of the Sisters of St. Dominic, Amityville, L.I., and have ministered at Our Lady of Fatima Parish Community in Manorhaven for 32 years. Fatima’s Mission Statement reads in part, ”We seek to bear witness to Christ’s love for all in our lives, in our community, and in our world...we are dedicated to reaching out to all God’s people, especially those in need.” Because Sister Gerri and Sister Kathy are examples of that dedication, they are bothe people who made a difference in Port Washington in 2012.
Sister Gerri directs the Faith Formation Program in which she helps families and children live and celebrate the life they have been created to live. She also works with the Whole Community Program, which welcomes all people for evenings of prayer and fellowship. She hopes to continue to work within this community for many years to come.
Sister Kathy directs the Parish Social Ministry Program. Her work involves not only taking care of those in need, but motivating teenagers, adults and organizations to work with her on food drives and social service programs. She strives to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in the community who are going through difficult times. Sister Kathy believes “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
While Sister Gerri and Sister Kathy are responsible for specific areas of ministry in the life of their parish, they do not see their work as exclusive to that area. S. Kathy has taught the Confirmation students for most of her years at Fatima, and S. Gerri can be seen each year helping out with the distribution of school supplies, Thanksgiving baskets, and Christmas meals and gifts.
Volunteers who work with these women weighed in.
“Sister Gerri and Sister Kathy give voice to the voiceless in our community, whether it be organizing and stocking food pantries, distributing meals and gifts during the holidays, obtaining services, housing and medical care for those in need or speaking out regarding less than savory living conditions," said Lee Anne Vetrone-Timothy. "They not only love their neighbors, they are moved to act on their behalf. It is a joy to work with them.”
“While working alongside these two amazing women – aka, the energizer nuns – I have gained a loving respect and understanding of the people who are in need in our own community," said Clare Masi, who launched the "Orange Bag campaign" to collect food for local food pantries at Our Lady of Fatima and St. Peter’sWith light hearts and a great sense of humor, Sister Gerri and Sister Kathy create an atmosphere where I, the volunteer, become the recipient of a great sense of community and a feeling that we are all in this together.”
"These are two women who reflect the spirit and love of Our Lady of Fatima parish and have enriched the lives of all they have touched," noted Mary and Steve Shackel.
Cheers to these inspiring women who really, “walk the walk and talk the talk.”
With special thanks to Lee Anne Vetrone-Timothy.