[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]COMBINED LOCKS — “Everybody mourns differently, but keeping busy is the trick,” said Barb Glasheen. She certainly can speak from experience because she and her husband lost their middle child Erin to a heredity heart defect at 4 months of age. “When she died, my faith (grew). I wanted to make sure I got to heaven to see her again.”
Even though this happened 40 years ago, the memory is still very painful. “After my daughter passed I really started getting into volunteering at St. Aloysius Parish in Kaukauna (now St. Katharine Drexel). I just needed to be busy and luckily I had a giving family that let me do those things,” she said.
Serving at St. Aloysius was her outlet. “If I wouldn’t have had that, I don’t know where I’d be today because coping with that was the most horrendous thing that ever happened to me,” said Glasheen. “I lost my husband in 2006 and it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as losing a child.”
Glasheen belonged to St. Paul Parish as a child. She started her volunteer work there as a religious education teacher at age 16 and did that until she was married. She and her late husband, Daniel Robert, lived in Kaukauna and belonged to St. Aloysius and St. Mary parishes. After he passed away, Glasheen moved back to Combined Locks to be closer to her elderly parents, who have since passed away. She rejoined St. Paul in 2007.
“When I came here I was lonely because I was a widow,” recalled Glasheen. “This was my hometown parish. St. Paul Parish welcomed me with open arms — it was like I had never left. It was phenomenal.”
“When my husband passed, I was just too lonely,” said Glasheen. She’s found the way to fill those lonely hours. The list of her volunteer activities for St. Paul includes helping with the annual parish golf outing, collecting gift cards for gift baskets and lining up workers for the Lenten fish fries. She is also president of Christian Service, which is a parish outreach committee that helps the homeless and, at Christmas, helps parish families in need. This year, Christian Service is collecting gifts for seminarians of the Green Bay Diocese.
Glasheen delivers meals in Kaukauna through Meals on Wheels and is a St. Paul Care Minister, visiting nursing homes and delivering Communion on first Fridays. She’s also a Mary’s Girl. “That’s a diocesan organization that dedicates itself to the Blessed Mother,” she said. “We do service work, fundraisers and part of our meetings is devoted to education on Mary or the saints to get us more in tune with our faith.”
The volunteer work that Glasheen is the most proud of is her job as chairperson of the parish’s Fall Fest. “We have a country store, Mary’s Girls has a booth. This year we had a pancake/porkie brunch which the Knights of Columbus put on,” she said.
Glasheen is responsible for purchasing gift certificates for raffles and scheduling the workers.
“Pulling that all together is a huge undertaking,” she said, adding that this year’s event brought in more than $23,000.
All this is pretty good for a person who had renal failure five times three years ago. “I’m not supposed to be here. They said I’d never make it through,” said Glasheen.
Because of her kidney issues, she developed arthritis in her spine. She’d love to go to daily Mass and even though she lives near the church, she isn’t able to. “Getting moving in the morning is really difficult. I can hardly get out of bed,” she said.
But once she’s up and moving, she’s going almost non-stop. “The rewards of volunteering are tenfold,” said Glasheen. “When you see the looks on people’s faces that you helped them, or the organization you’re working for, you did something they needed or wanted. It’s priceless. It just gives you such a warm, fuzzy feeling. The (feelings) of being alone are gone.”
Glasheen encourages others to use their God-given talents. “God gave them to you for a reason, not to sit on them,” she said. “My talent is raising funds and talking on the phone. People in our parish have so many talents to give. You never know until you try. For me it’s opened a whole new world. It helped me to cope when I was mourning.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]
Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Barb Glasheen
Parish: St. Paul, Combined Locks
Favorite saint: Teresa of Calcutta
Words to live by: “Live each day as if it’s your last because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”