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Jim Holmes: Volunteer loves time spent with sisters

Volunteer Jim Holmes makes sure a Sister of Providence’s chair is set after transporting her andother sisters to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray.

The desire to help others and the peaceful surroundings of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods drew Jim Holmes to volunteer with the Sisters of Providence.

Jim had been to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods many times for various jobs related to his work. “I’ve worked out there on roofs,” said Jim, who is associated with a Terre Haute real estate company (Coldwell-Banker) and is a maintenance employee for Tremco based in Cleveland, Ohio. “And I’ve worked on the library at (Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College).

“I just really enjoy being out there,” he said. “I always talked about volunteering out there and doing something. I thought, ‘I’m gonna do it.’”
But time passed and he never seemed to make the connection he needed to make things happen.

The connection came during the times Jim crossed paths with Sister Rita Lechner. “She lives in one of the apartments and I know her from being at St. Joseph church,” he said.

It was Sister Rita Lechner who called Sister Becky Keller, Volunteer Services coordinator at the Sisters of Providence, to tell her of Jim’s interest in volunteering. “I’m glad she did,” the Terre Haute native said.

And, so they say, the rest is history.

Jim Holmes, a volunteer with the Sisters of Providence, has his own personal prayer time with the sisters in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

Jim’s participation in the Volunteer Services program is steady and matches the time he actually has to devote to volunteering perfectly. The first Friday of each month you’ll find Jim at health care where he takes approximately six sisters, who are in wheelchairs and who otherwise may not have the opportunity, to pray at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Jim Holmes, a volunteer with the Sisters of Providence, has his own personal prayer time with the sisters in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

“I just enjoy being out there and with the sisters,” he said. “I’m really glad I made time to do it.”

Jim also enjoys his association with Sister Becky and with Diane Thompson, who is the activities coordinator in health care. But then there’s just something about being with the sisters that is extra special to Jim.

“I take the sisters (to the chapel). I stay with them, and sit with them, while they pray. I get a lot out of it just by being there,” he says. “We stay there for about an hour. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to be there with them.”

There are times after Jim has taken the sisters to pray at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel that he may end up at another part of the Woods or in the Church of the Immaculate Conception for some quiet contemplation. “I’ll sit in the church and there’s nobody there and it’s quiet. And sometimes I’ll go to The Gift Shop.”

When Jim first met with Sister Becky to discuss what volunteer opportunities were available he had no idea where he would end up. “I figured I’d probably do maintenance work or yard work,” he reasoned. But the focus shifted to the needs of sisters in health care. That became his station of service.

Jim also does service in connection with his church, St. Joseph, with his wife, Chris. His family also includes “four great kids,” he said, naming Mike, 26, of Terre Haute; Laura, 24, of Franklin; in addition to Tim, 22, and Katie, 19, both of Terre Haute.

Jim knows the sisters in health care are “really grateful” for their times of prayer at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Jim is grateful, too.

“This is a spiritual thing,” he said. “I get much more out of it than I give. It’s very rewarding for me. I look forward to that first Friday.”

Questions? To learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., contact Volunteer Services Coordinator Sister Rebecca Keller at 812-535-2878 or rkeller@spsmw.org.

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Becky Igo

Becky Igo worked as a marketing manager for the Office of Congregational Advancement. She was an Indiana State University grad and former newspaper reporter/editor who worked with Providence Center, Volunteer Services and the Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin.

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