By Liz Dossa
At home in her riding pants and cowboy hat, Sherron Sandrini is devoted both to her spiritual life and riding her horse. “The back of a horse is good for my soul in my book,” she said. She loves riding in the Wyoming countryside where she and her husband Lou have a 110-acre ranch surrounded by 6,000 acres of public land. She likes to say, “My passions are horseback riding and Bible study.”
The path to Bible study and riding was winding. Daughter of a WWII Ace fighter pilot, she was born in Honolulu on December 1, 1941, six days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 7, the Japanese strafed the hospital 30 feet from her mother’s room. Twenty-eight days later she and her mother were evacuated to the U.S., the first of many moves throughout her childhood. Perhaps used to change, later Sherron married Lou, a civil engineer in the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Navy, and they moved 19 times before settling down in Millbrae, California.
She and Lou have been consistent donors to the Sisters of Mercy since 1982, nourishing a community that has sustained her.
Raised as a Protestant, her faith was strengthened and enriched when she became a Catholic during her college years. Sherron remembers clearly that she came to Mercy Center in September 1982, the year it was founded as a space for retreats and spiritual direction. She had seen a flyer posted at her parish. It was an invitation to a new Shared Scripture Study program from Sister Mary Eucharia Malone, proclaiming “All are welcome.” Sherron ventured to the first meeting. In the hallway was Sister Mary Eucharia herself who promptly hugged her. The deal was sealed. Sherron joined the Shared Scripture Study program and the next year she led a faith sharing group. Some years later she became the program director.
The hug was not the only factor. “On the first day when I drove through the campus gates, I felt I was on Holy ground,” said Sherron looking back. “Every time since, it has enveloped me. I was here to be spiritually fed. I loved the Sisters and their charism.” Sherron continued to be part of the Shared Scripture Study program for many years.
Sherron became an Associate in 1995 after she went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Israel led by Sister Eloise Rosenblatt and Associate Marian Monks. Sister Eloise suggested that she become an Associate. Sherron put it off. Then one day when she was driving out of the campus after Shared Scripture on the way to the stables, she remembers, “The Holy Spirit prompted me to go back and get an application. I did and sent it in.”
Where there was a need for a combination of vision and practicality to support Mercy, Sherron was there. She’s been on committees for fundraising events. In 2004 she was on the committee to plan the 150th anniversary celebration of the Sisters of Mercy at the San Francisco Cathedral. She has led an Associate dialogue group, important in connecting Associates and the Mercy Community.
She splits her time between the ranch near Newcastle, Wyoming and Millbrae. She says, “I think I’m the only Mercy presence in Wyoming!” Association has been a key part of her life. She names other Associates who have been her close friends and spiritual support. “I would say my ministry has been the Bible study, shared Scripture Study, prayer and hospitality.”
And her vision for Mercy? “Our family focus is on supporting the Mercys broadly. I hope everyone’s donation can keep those gates open, so others can share in the great hospitality and spiritualty that I have experienced.”