The Charismatic Gift of Hospitality
In life, we come to understand that friendships are special. Friendships are formed by individuals being faithful, honest and trusting of one another. For individuals that have the gift of hospitality, friendships can begin before one is consciously aware. Mary Schmid is one who is blessed with the charismatic gift of hospitality, an attribute she shares with the Sisters of the Presentation, more specifically the Rottinghaus sisters.
Mary Schmid, a life-long Dubuquer and parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, has a daughter Karen. Karen began her teaching career at Holy Trinity Parish in South St. Paul Minnesota, where Sister Anthony Rottinghaus ministered from 1985 until her retirement in 2001. Karen and Sister Anthony were colleague and became friends. “Karen would call and talk about how Sister Anthony would provide guidance to the students in their religious studies. She always talked highly of her friend, Sister Anthony,” Mary states.
At Sister Anthony’s date of retirement, she packed her belongings with the help of Karen, and Karen brought her things to Dubuque. Unfortunately, due to Karen’s responsibilities as a teacher, she did not have time to deliver Sister’s belonging to her new home so she had to leave them at her mother Mary’s home. Mary recalls, “I remember Karen calling telling me Sister Anthony is coming and she has been away from Dubuque for a long time. Can you help her get settled in?”
Little did Sister Anthony know, but Karen leaving her belongings at Mary’s created a life-long friendship through hospitality.
When Sister arrived in Dubuque, Mary made arrangements to move Sister’s belongings into her new home, with the assistance of Sister Anthony’s sisters, Sisters Michael and Rosanne.
“Hospitality is the bridge between the individual and the community. People with this charism build a sense of being cared for as an individual, but also a sense of belonging to the greater community. People with the charism of hospitality thrive on being with others and having people in their space is never an imposition.” Jeffery S. Arrowood, MTS
At this time, Mary renewed her first encounters with the Presentation Sisters. She became involved and engaged. Mary wrote letters, made phone calls and even joined in on card night. Sister Rosanne mentions, “Mary always added to the fun, especially on card nights. She enjoys the time spent with her friends.”
The first moment of this new friendship took place nearly 15 years ago. Since this moment, Sisters Michael and Anthony passed away, 2007 and 2014 respectively. Sister Rosanne reflects on the last 15 years of friendship, “Mary’s friendship is a blessing in our lives and continues to grow in my life. Our time together has been spent living out the Presentation mission by attending various religious, social and community events; practicing charitable deeds especially through prayer and support of each other’s families at time of sickness and death. I see Mary’s response to the larger community as a witness to the Gospel through generosity, hospitality, love of neighbor and God. What more could a friend want?”
Both Sister Rosanne and Mary agree, “May we be able to enjoy more times together in years to come.”
Mary also had a few words to say, “I like our friendship. I would not have known the Rottinghaus sisters without the special connection of my daughter Karen bringing us together. Sister Rosanne and I are now life-long friends.”
The Sisters of the Presentation are blessed to have a friendship with Mary. She is truly a great partner in mission.
Photo: Left to right: Mary Schmid and Sister Rosanne Rottinghaus