Sister Pam Mueller: Mixing faith and laughter in service to others

Another change in ministry

“I was planning to come home to be the development director,” in 2000, she said. “I’d never done that before, I wanted to know if the community would support me. I was so affirmed. I’m always reminded that this community supports me.”

For several years, Sister Pam has been putting smiles on the face of kids at the Mystery Booth during the Mount Saint Joseph Picnic.

A series of changes over the ensuing months resulted in Sister Pam taking a different ministry – director of vocations. The first few years were trying ones for her, but the experience had its rewards.

“The gift in vocation ministry is you learn your own vocation – you walk the talk,” she said. “I understand my vocation much better having been a vocation minister. Nobody’s vocation is the same.

“The focus in vocations is who we are and why we are,” she said. “I gave it my best, I had to be satisfied with doing everything I knew to do. If I help someone become a Passionist, or a young man become a priest, that’s a success. It’s not all about vocations for ourselves. God wants us all to be happy, using our gifts in service to the world.”

In late 2005, she was hired as director of campus ministry at Brescia by her former sixth-grade teacher, Sister Vivian, who was then president. “I knew that she liked young people and is not afraid of work,” Sister Vivian said. “I thought she needed something different.”

Sister Pam said she’s “doing what I need to be doing right now. I wouldn’t have had the depth of knowledge and experience without the vocation experience.”

An outdoors sister

Although some people call her a “girly girl” – Siciliano notes her great love of shopping – Sister Pam especially loves being outside, preferably around water.

“I love to detail cars,” she said. “Father Phil Riney is a good friend, we’ll go to Rough River and wash and wax our cars.” (She drives a Toyota Corolla.)

Sister Pam presents a check Feb. 23, 2010, for $1,095.32 to Becky Ivy, with Global Outreach International, for earthquake relief in Haiti. The money was raised by a “Hot Dogs for Haiti” fundraiser at Brescia.

She became friends with Father Riney when she lived in Whitesville, Ky., and he was the pastor there. “He had a boat, and I love the water,” she said. “I love to swim, to ski, just to float.”

Father Riney, who is retired, said the two have a lot in common despite their age difference.

“We had a retreat on the houseboat one time,” he said. “If we got hot, we just jumped in the water. There are no artificial put-ons between us.”

Sister Vivian lived with Sister Pam at Brescia for awhile, and enjoyed taking part in those boating trips as well. “You never have to wonder what Pam is thinking, she’ll let you know,” Sister Vivian said. “I’m very proud of her.”

Siciliano said that no matter what Sister Pam is doing, she’s finding a way to serve others. In the summer of 2008, Siciliano wanted to take her mother, who was recuperating from hip surgery, on a vacation, but she wasn’t sure where to take her. Sister Pam suggested she bring her to the Mount for a few days, and then the three of them would go to Hurricane Hills, an Ursuline property used for recreation in central Kentucky.

“It was such a great experience, that she’d be willing to spend five days with my mother and me,” Siciliano said. “She took her camera along, and about two weeks later, I got a package. It was a memory book of our trip. My mom got one too. It is one of my mom’s treasures to this day, and mine too.”

There’s one more common occurrence when she gets together with Sister Pam, one that others also share, Siciliano said.

“We laugh all the time.”

By Dan Heckel