The pandemic has introduced us to a whole new vocabulary, e.g., who’s in your bubble? And take care to social distance! And for the Sisters of Providence and staff at the Woods, “Have you been stickered yet?”
Let me explain. Every day each Sister of Providence or staff member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has her/his temperature taken, answers a few questions about their activities and then receives a sticker as proof that they were screened that day.
Stickers at the Administration Building change daily: A smiley face, a creature of the deep, a Bible verse, a jungle animal or a message of encouragement, e.g. Wow! You did it! Good job! Some people just take the next sticker on the roll and move on. Others are more selective, so they scour the stickers available until they find the one they want, or one that matches their outfit or mask, or one that expresses their mood.
I asked the sisters and staff at the Woods for their experience of “being stickered” and want to share their responses with you. Enjoy!
There are several “savers” among us! Amy Miranda keeps adding the stickers to her name badge; she has quite a thick stack. The same goes for Bailey Furry. Once the name badge gets loaded, she “takes them home and transfers them to her stack there. It’s more than three inches tall now!” An office desk blotter is where Roberta King has several stickers. “Sure makes for a very colorful blotter!” Sister Jan Craven “sticks them on Kleenex boxes at home.” Sister Janice Smith doesn’t really know why she saves them, but does enjoy the stickers decorating her blue filing boxes
“At the end of the day, I place the sticker in my daily calendar,” states Sister Margaret Quinlan. “I started on March 17 and only missed a few days. What a pretty calendar I now have!” Sister Dorothy Rasche didn’t set out to be a saver. “I. had a piece of notepaper on my dresser and (being too lazy to walk over to the wastebasket) stuck the sticker on the notepaper. Thereafter I would see the sticker on the notepaper and add the next one to it.”
Diane Weidenbenner did not set out to save her stickers either, but finds them everywhere — in her car, in the washer, stuck to the bottom of her shoe, stuck to folders at work. “They never seem to “end.”
Sister Barbara Bluntzer has saved all her stickers! She has them framing the big oval mirror in her bathroom, interspersing the many hearts with a variety of others. “There are a few tigers and monkeys lounging on tree limbs that face me in the mornings. It’s quite a collection.”
Sister Cynthia Lynge likes cats, so that’s always her choice when animal stickers are offered. She also likes hearts and saves them, placing them where she can see them each day. “The heart means love, so it reminds me of the love I have for my community as we go through COVID-19.”
About saving stickers, Sister Marsha Speth wrote, “Okay … I hate to admit it, but I do enjoy seeing what sticker I will get each day! I am starting to feel something is missing if I don’t get my sticker … even when I am not going anywhere. I might need one. I save a week or two of stickers and then arrange them “artfully” on a piece of folded card stock and send to my great nephew, Caleb. There’s usually at least one heart sticker I put on the inside with a little note about my week. Hope he finds them amusing!”
Proof that “once a saver not always a saver” came from Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp. “Well, I used to save them just because they were so cute, and one never knows when she will need a sticker. But then they overtook my bedroom, so I got rid of them.” Sister Mary Moloney had a similar perspective: “Keep them?! Give me strength! I have so many little things to deal with the very idea of keeping stickers sends me up the wall.”
Some sisters save the stickers with an eye toward “recycle” and “reuse.” Sister Jenny Howard admits, “Oftentimes I “wear” them for re-use, for as long as they hold up … rather than throw them away … seems like such a waste.” Sister Joan Kirkpatrick also has an eye toward waste. “I have saved some of my stickers to not have to take a new sticker the next day.”
“Actually, I have saved most of them, not because I actually wanted to, but it seemed such a waste to just throw them away each day,” recalled Sister Janice Smith. “So now they are decorating these very plain cardboard (though blue in color) filing boxes I have.” And Beth Collins is relieved that she has finally found a “repurposing” use for all the stickers she receives in the mail!
And are we surprised that cats like them, too? Jeanne Frost responded: “Sammy, my cat, gets really big eyes when I wear my sticker home. He pats it with his paw. Sammy knows it’s something different that normally doesn’t belong on my blouse.”
And would you believe that some staff and sisters actually look forward to being stickered each day? And for good and varied reasons! Bill Pine usually passes his sticker on to his granddaughter when he picks her up from school each day and “she really looks forward to it.”
And similar to Bill Pine, Bailey Furry shares, “Perhaps my favorite thing about the stickers is that my one year old niece loves them too. I often will grab a few things for her mother after work and take them to their house. When I arrive, my niece is always looking for my sticker! She will peel it off my badge and play with it, sticking it on her shirt, then back on mine. It is just something I look forward to and brings so much joy to her.”
Tara Elmore looked forward each day to getting fun stickers with animals or bugs or crazy bright patterns and was very selective. “I would tend to get very excited for my stickers just like the kids did when I was teaching at the preschool. Some things you don’t outgrow like an octopus or turtle sticker! The turtle was my favorite as it is my soul animal so I would always try to find one.
Sister Regina Marie makes her way to the Administration Building at the crack of dawn and says, “I look forward to being ‘stickered’ each morning after driving in the dark to the administration building. I like to choose one to match what I am wearing. It is all a bright spot in the early morning!”
“I love getting my sticker at the Administration Building each day,” admits Sister Claire Hanson. “I am very careful to choose a color or theme that matches my outfit for the day. I also enjoy meeting and greeting the folks I meet at the temperature-taking desk. It brightens the early morn and I’ve met staff I didn’t know by name —and all while ‘social distancing.’”
Sister Mary Lou Ruck loves colors and so, “I look forward to a color that matches my outfit.” She adds, “Sticker time in Providence Hall is a happy time because many of us see each other for the first time that day.”
Natasha Butcher dispenses the stickers at Providence Hall each day. As the months wore on, she started turning the stickers over on Friday and giving a prize to whoever chose the sticker with the word “WINNER” on it. “The sisters look forward to it and it has become a great source of fun and laughter.”
As a recipient of Natasha’s stickers, Sister Gloria Memering said: “I do look forward to Saturday’s stickers which have a special message on the back of a label; my label last Saturday was the word ‘GORGEOUS,’ so I looked out at the autumn colored trees and whispered: ‘You are gorgeous; thank you for being you.’”
On the opposite end of the question is Sister Janice Smith, “NO! I don’t look forward to being stickered. I am always so afraid that I will forget to go get them that it generally is another stressor to me. But it does help to see all of the varieties of stickers that there are – and for that I am grateful!”
And Sister Carol Nolan reacts this way (having a bad day, perhaps?) “Well shucks, at the beginning we were getting some pretty creative stickers. But now they are pretty much the same. But all in all it’s pretty dullsville. Once in a while some kind of slogan will appear.”
Two final comments … Roberta King reports that “I have been looked at weirdly when I go somewhere after work only to get home to find a sticker that will say “Perfect” or “Fab” or just “Yes” still on my shirt. I have also had them stuck in my hair.”
And a final word from Diane Weidennbenner, “I think we should have to wear the stickers on our foreheads. Just kidding!”