Tell us about yourselves and what you do.
Bev is a Certified Spiritual Director at Loyola serving on the Retreat Ministry Staff while also offering spiritual direction and the Spiritual Exercises. She has been on staff dedicated to ministry at both the parish and archdiocesan levels for almost 30 years. She presently is a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church’s Pastoral Council. She enjoys bicycling, dancing, reading and the shore! Tom is happily retired after spending most of his career in publishing and the twilight of his career working for the Home Depot. He co-leads with Bev spiritual book study groups for individuals and married couples at their local parish. For the past 20 years, he has been an active volunteer for the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Action Network in fundraising and lobbying efforts on the State and Federal Levels. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling with Bev and plays tennis as often as time permits.
How did you first get connected with Loyola Jesuit Center?
Through attending the Holy Week Triduum Retreat, we offered to help Father Bill plant the Easter flowers. When Father Bill left for the Philippines, we stepped up to groom the flowerbeds closest to the Mansion. Bev’s connection to Loyola has more history to it as her Mother was a retreatant from Saint Catharine’s Church of Glen Rock for many years. When Bev was seeking a place for spiritual nourishment, she recalled the impact her Mother spoke of finding at Loyola. She then attended a beautifully powerful Day of Prayer with Father Steve Pugliese S.J., and the rest is history in the making!
How long have you been volunteering with Loyola Jesuit Center?
Tell us about your volunteer experience with Loyola Jesuit Center–what you’ve worked on in the past or upcoming projects.
We have worked on the flower gardens in the Mansion courtyard and designed new landscaping flanking the front entrance. In 2019 three of our specific projects were the creation of lily gardens and a cutting garden to supply fresh flowers throughout the retreat center in season and Father Charlie’s Memorial Garden by the front driveway. Late last fall, we undertook with a group of volunteers a major project to plant nearly 1,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and alliums throughout the gardens.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for Loyola Jesuit Center?
Being able to enhance the beauty of nature for the Jesuits, staff, retreatants, and visitors both inside and outside the center. Also, meeting new people through creating and coordinating Loyola’s “Glorious Gardeners,” a spirited group that comes together periodically to maintain and enhance the plantings. All are welcome! Just give us a call to join in…no experience or expertise needed… just a joyful heart!
Please share a favorite memory/funny story while volunteering at Loyola Jesuit Center.
Two memories really stand out for us: First, becoming aware of nature in the garden (other than flowers) with surprises like a white frog no bigger than a quarter hanging on the leaf of a daylily and a large bird-of-prey (hawk or falcon?) which flew close enough to Tom’s head that he could hear the beat of its wings and feel the wind being driven as the bird flew through the gate to land by the First Station of The Cross to pick up a morsel for its dinner! The second came out of our conversation with Mr. Frank Diassi during the Summer Historical Society Mansion & Garden Tour when we were discussing the enhancement plantings of annuals in the garden and, lo and behold, a short time later nearly 1,000 bulbs where delivered for planting through the abundant generosity of Mr. Diassi!