Drawn by a desire to be of service to those most in need, Sister Mary Virginia entered the Sisters of Mercy in Auburn, California, at the age of 21 in 1955. Throughout the next 66 years, she served primarily in health care, beginning as an EKG/EEG technician at Mercy Medical Center, Redding, and later moving into pastoral care. Her years in pastoral care were ones that allowed her deep compassion and gift for profound listening to thrive. For her, the ministry was sacred ground, rooted in prayer, and she served at Mercy San Juan Hospital, Mercy Folsom and Mercy Medical Center, Mt. Shasta.
The 11 years Sister Mary Virginia spent in Mt. Shasta as chaplain and director of mission services were precious to her. She loved the natural beauty of the mountains and the opportunity to form bonds of friendship with neighbors, coworkers, and patients. Her home was a place of hospitality, and she enjoyed having sisters come to visit or stay for a few days.
Sister Mary Virginia excelled as a peacemaker. Non-judgmental and able to see both sides to an argument, she assisted family, friends or coworkers come to a place of healing and reconciliation. As the new century dawned, Sister Mary Virginia moved to Mercy Medical Center, Sacramento, where she served as the sister liaison for Mercy Hospitality House and Outpatient Services until her retirement in 2011.
For her sisters in Auburn, Sister Mary Virginia was a gentle presence, always approachable with a comforting word and welcoming smile. The words of her motto, “My God and my All,” were fully expressed in the witness of her life.