We often think that to share our faith stories with others, it has to be amazing, life-changing, or awe-inspiring. But some of us have relatively mundane faith walks that have maybe wavered over time — or perhaps they haven’t. No matter what your story is, it’s important to know how to share it, then to share it!
That’s just what Patrice Schulte did this past January at St. Andrew’s. Although it was outside of her comfort zone, she shared it with the congregation.
Patrice grew up attending St. Andrew’s and is one of seven children to Margie and Marvin Hemingson. She and her husband, Ron, have a son, Vincent. Ron has told Patrice that he can tell St. Andrew’s is her happy place.
“I wasn’t always such a devout person,” Patrice says. “I remember turning the clock ahead in religion class so we could get out 10 minutes early, and my mom was our teacher. I still feel a bit guilty about that one.”
The family always attended Sunday Mass — no exceptions. After Patrice graduated, she wasn’t always attending Mass, although she had a strong faith. Ron encouraged Patrice to return to church more regularly as she was going through some low times in her late 20s.
“My husband said to me that he thought I should start going to church more — that I was always smiling when I came home from church,” she says. “And so I did. And he was right. I began smiling again.”
Patrice taught religion classes when Vincent was attending because she recognized the importance of teaching children the faith and service.
“I had no idea how to go about it, but others seemed to think I was capable, so I volunteered,” she says. “And Jesus used what little I had to give and expanded it immensely. Not only did the children learn and grow, but I learned and grew right along with them.
When Patrice was considering her vocation, she was feeling a call to religious life or to serve as a missionary. Her mother wanted her closer to home, so she decided to go into healthcare. She worked her way up from starting at the nursing home in high school and eventually became a registered nurse. After retiring, Ron once again mentioned spending more time at her happy place — St. Andrew’s.
“My husband has been my biggest support person in this life,” she says.
Patrice has used her extra time in retirement to get involved in many ministries and opportunities at St. Andrew’s. She is president of the Council of Catholic Women, as well as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Mass and to the homebound. She also brings the Eucharist to the Granite Falls Care Center and prays the Rosary with the people. She manages the St. Andrew’s Prayer Ministry prayer chain and the library. When Patrice is available, she helps with parish meals and funeral receptions. She admits that she doesn’t always feel equipped to help.
“During those times, I pray to Jesus and wait for His response,” she says. “Sometimes, I am not happy with the response I get. I will ask Him to find someone else to do that job, and He doesn’t do what I ask. So, I go ahead and do the best that I can, leaving the rest in the Lord’s hands.”
Putting it all in the Lord’s hands is something Patrice tries to do regularly. He never lets her down. Ron and Patrice give back to the Church what works for them — following the parish recommendations.
“All of the time, talent, and treasure that I have given has come back to me many times over, bringing great peace and joy,” she says. “That is what I wish for you all — the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus and living His way.”
Patrice is thankful for the strong faith community at St. Andrew’s, and she knows that’s a testament to the people.
“I feel very blessed to be part of this wonderful community and to be able to share and receive the love and friendship generated here,” she says. “Most importantly, I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to know and love the Lord.”