It’s December in Wisconsin, when the nights are long and dark (and super cold as it turns out this week), which means that the stars shine the brightest. And so it is fitting that we name Rachel E. our December Star of the month because she seriously lights this place up!
Rachel has worked at the Cathedral as an Administrative Assistant to the Cathedral’s Director of Music and the Director of Outreach since 2002 – nearly 15 years. She’s only had one Director of Music to deal with in that time, but she has worked with at least 4 Directors of Outreach – meaning that she is one resilient, adaptable woman!
In addition to loads of clerical work for the extensive Music program at the Cathedral and helping with events like Women’s Spirituality on the first Friday of the month, Rachel handles the scheduling of Open Door Café volunteers, the keeping of statistics for outreach, reserving spaces for and then taking and storing of photos for Open Door Café events and activities, appeal and thank you letter production for Human Concerns and then, famously: Other Duties As Assigned. Those other duties include but are not limited to: keeping “regular” guests who sometimes cause trouble in line (Rachel has a particular gift for a look that means “I mean business, mister”), coming up with creative ways to ask for donations and honor volunteers, being able to recall (in memory and/or in hard copy) program history, and most importantly: leading us in the happy dance when we receive an unexpected or particularly timely donation.
And that’s only WHAT she does, when the most important part of her shininess is HOW she does all of the things. She does them with precision and flawlessness, with acute attention to detail and impressive creativity. She does them with amazing efficiency, even with annoying last-minute requests courtesy of her not-as-organized supervisor in the Outreach Department. She does all these things with COMPASSION and CARE and an unfailing SENSE OF HUMOR and PERSPECTIVE, because she knows who her efforts serve: people who have fallen on hard times and who come to the Cathedral seeking the support and care that Christians are called to give by being followers of Jesus. “Feeding the hungry is what the Church is supposed to be doing. This is where Jesus would be,” is something I have heard Rachel say on more than one occasion. Her contribution to this great effort at the Cathedral’s Open Door is pivotal to our success.
Rachel lives that famous quote of St. Teresa of Calcutta – that we are called to do “small things with great love”. And it’s these small things that allow the soul to know its worth, as the old Christmas hymn goes. So this Christmas, as you hear or sing the beautiful hymn “O Holy Night”, I hope you’ll say a prayer of thanksgiving for Rachel as we remember that “the stars are brightly shining!”
Thanks for everything, Rachel!