A Transition in Glenmary's Vocation Office

Posted: 2/7/2014

Pat McEntee, Glenmary's associate vocation directorKaren Stemann, administrative assistant in the Vocation Office, is retiring this month after seven years with Glenmary Home Missioners. Although she will miss working here, she is looking forward to enjoying a slower pace and having the ability to travel and golf when she chooses.

We will miss her terribly. Karen has been a kind, gentle and steadying presence in our department throughout her time at Glenmary. She has witnessed transitions in the associate director position from Kyle Brandon to me, and in the vocation director position from Father Steve Pawelk to Brother David Henley. She has done an amazing job of helping to make sure those transitions went smoothly and the vocation work continued.

The director and associate director often have to be away from the office—to travel to vocation fairs, visit vocation prospects, and lead Come & See mission trips with discerners. So at times, Karen has had to be the one to "hold down the fort" in the vocation department. She has always done a great job of keeping in contact with us while we traveled. Even in the office, Karen has helped keep us organized and has reminded us to follow up with various vocation contacts.Glenmary Home Missioners' Vocations Team

As an administrative assistant, she has also been assigned additional duties at various times. For example, she has become the Vocation Office's primary contact person for discerners from Kenya and Uganda (and for a time, Nigeria). As Glenmary invited men from these countries to begin their formation, she learned and carried out the application process—at this end—for their student visas.

In her work and communication with men in the discernment process, Karen has also been a motherly figure to many who have entered Glenmary formation over the years. She has shown love and care for these men. Often, that same motherly demeanor has carried over to those of us who have worked with her in the Vocation Office.

Personally, I can't count the number of times she has, for instance, warned me to be careful on my drive to and from work if the weather was not good. After giving advice, she usually concluded by saying, "Okay, I'll stop being like your mother now." Still, I cherish those times that she was so kind and genuinely concerned. Her friendship is greatly appreciated and will be sorely missed—by those who have worked with her and all those who have had regular contact with her.

In her final weeks at Glenmary, Karen will be training her replacement, Margherita Ligorio, to continue her work. Margherita was born in Italy, recently married, and also recently moved to the United States with her husband. At Glenmary, she is learning the ropes in the vocation department and has been feverishly taking notes about processes and procedures so she can take over for Karen.

Among her many skills, Margherita brings experience from her work at the United States Embassy in Italy—including expertise in the area of immigration and non-immigrant visas. She also speaks several languages including Spanish, which will help in communicating with many Spanish-speaking discerners.

As with most transitions, this one is bittersweet. We are sad to be losing Karen, who has been usch an asset to us over the last seven years, but we are happy that she will be able to spend time enjoying her retirement with her husband and visiting her children and grandchildren. We are also thrilled to have Margherita on board to continue the work. We are impressed with her work ethic and desire to absorb the knowledge necessary to do the work ahead of her.

We ask you to pray for both Karen and Margherita, as well as Brother David and me, so that this transition may continue to go smoothly and we may keep serving you as well as possible during your vocation journey.