It is with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to two incredible women this month.
A Legacy of Mercy: Sister Berenice Eltz
In the 1960’s, Sister Berenice Eltz of the Sisters of Mercy left teaching at Walsingham Academy and entered into social ministry at Saint Bede Catholic Church, what has evolved to become Williamsburg House of Mercy. Often called the “Mother Teresa of Williamsburg,” Sister Berenice touched the lives of countless souls in the Williamsburg community. Her dedication and passion for working with the poor formed our community’s activism for decades. We have seen many faces and changes over the years, but Sister Berenice’s legacy of mercy and service to the poor remains.
A Presence of Mercy: Ms. Gloria Moss
We also said goodbye to one of our longest serving volunteers this month, Ms. Gloria Moss. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of volunteering with Gloria, she was the anchor of our Monday morning crew and the face of welcome to thousands of people over her decades of service. When you were with Gloria, you were family.
So many of our staff were (and still are) inspired by her prompt readiness and the “click” of her heels as she cheerfully went to answer phones and assist clients. Her deep faith was obvious and inspiring. Gloria frequently shared how she prayed the rosary on daily walks for those she loved and whom she was concerned about. We know that included ourselves and the people we saw each day. Gloria was a determined, fiercely independent woman who managed to be distinguished and gracious to everyone around her.
Personally, I remember experiencing Gloria’s hospitality every Christmas. She knew that Thanksgiving and Christmas are extremely busy at Williamsburg House of Mercy, so Gloria brought homemade peach preserves, toffee, and Christmas cookies to our family each year. It brings a tear to my eye to remember how engaged she was with all of us in the office and our families. Gloria took care of us with the same kindness and attention that she gave to the people of Williamsburg who came to us for support. She truly embodies our mission of being family to our neighbors in need. Gloria’s absence has left a hole, and she is already missed.