Pope Francis proclaimed a Year of Consecrated Life that began the first Sunday in Advent and will conclude Feb. 2, 2016. The Catholic Messenger asked members of religious communities in the Davenport Diocese to reflect on their ministry in religious life.
Sister Mary Bea Snyder, CHM
What year did you enter the CHM community? 1964
What inspired you to join the community? Growing up, I often thought about religious life but didn’t have time or energy to look into finding out anything about it. After all, I was a kid, doing what kids do! Then, I went to Ottumwa Heights College, met the Sisters of Humility, observed the novices and postulants, was impressed with the good humor and kindnesses shown to the students and felt a strong call to be one of these sisters.
What ministries were/are you engaged in? Elementary education: taught at St. Alphonsus in Davenport and St. Pius X in Rock Island, Ill.; and served as a teacher and principal at Divine Redeemer in Colorado Springs, Colo. I was director of religious education for a parish of 1,700 families in Colorado Springs. I switched gears and worked with a community of men and women in Colorado Springs who were (are) committed to living simply and in solidarity with the poor. My first experience was being in charge of a hospitality house for women while also working at the soup kitchen. Later, I worked at a hospitality house for men and women, was responsible for helping those applying for SSI with their paperwork and appointments at the Social Security office, was a jail chaplain and, for a few years, served on the board of the mental health center plus a plethora of other needs. Now I am director of the Humility of Mary Center in Davenport.
What is your favorite form of Prayer? Contemplative.
What is your favorite Scripture? I like the parables and Matthew 25. They make for good reflection and lessons to be embraced and lived.
Who [was] your spiritual mentor? I’d have to say my mother— though I didn’t realize it until my later years when reflecting on and realizing what a powerful impact she had on me. (My mother is not a Catholic, I’m an only child and she was not at all happy when I told her I was going to enter a religious order. Years later she shared with me her peace with my decision when she realized how happy I was and that was all she ever wanted for me … to be happy.