Sister Natalie Binversie, community director for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, stands near a statue in front of the motherhouse in Manitowoc.
Name: Sister Natalie Binversie
Hometown: St. Nazianz
Education: Bachelor's degree in elementary education from Silver Lake College of the Holy Family; master's degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton University; certification in Franciscan studies from St. Bonaventure University.
Title: Community director (since Aug. 4)
How has the transition into your new role been going the past couple of months? The transition has been good. The days are filled with many opportunities for new learning. The Sisters have been very affirming, encouraging and supportive.
What are some of the main duties in your new role? The most important responsibility I feel I have is getting to know each of the Sisters. I enjoy visiting with the Sisters and hearing about their blessings and concerns. I am also learning the business of the congregation, including the responsibilities for our Community Sponsored Ministries: the health care facilities and Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.
What do you like most about your new role? I enjoy visiting with the Sisters and getting to know them better.
In addition to God, to whom do you turn for assistance when making important decisions? I have four Sisters who are on the General Administration Council (Sister Adrianna Schouten, Sister Anne Marie Lom, Sister Myra Jean Sweigart and Sister Theresa Feldkamp). I appreciate them sharing ideas from varied viewpoints. I depend on their insights as well as insights from others who have the expertise in a given area needed for a decision to be made that will be in the best interest of all.
What are some of your other interests/hobbies? I like to garden. I was raised on a farm, and my family grew a big garden each year. We canned and froze vegetables and fruit for the winter months. Here at the convent we have lots of areas to pull weeds and plant flowers. I also enjoy reading, letter writing, jigsaw puzzles, working Sudoku puzzles, playing cards, cooking and baking.
What do you like about living in the Lakeshore area? I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to live in many different regions of the United States. Each of these experiences was unique to the mission where I was assigned to teach and I felt at home. The Lakeshore area is where I grew up and where the motherhouse is, so it is home. I appreciate the protection that Lake Michigan gives in warding off severe weather that seems to plague other parts of our country. I enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds us and the small-town friendliness of the people.
Outside the motherhouse, what are your favorite places? I like to walk the grounds of our property and make use of the benches to sit and enjoy the scenery. When the insects are abundant, the gazebo is a good refuge.
How would you describe daily life at the motherhouse? Daily life at the motherhouse is structured around our daily times of prayer, work assignments and meals. For me, the in-between times are filled with scheduled meetings, visiting with the Sisters, reading and study.
What are a couple of your favorite chapters/verses from the Bible? Ezekiel 36:24-36; Genesis 37 to 50; John 8:12 "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Psalm 121; Psalm 117; Psalm 148 and Psalm 150.
Any words of advice to people who may be feeling a calling to serve their religious faith? It is very important to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making a life decision. There are many options from which to choose, making a decision more difficult. Do not be afraid to take a risk and reach beyond one's comfort zone. There will always be questions and unknowns to deal with. This is where faith and trust in God comes in. For various reasons, sometimes the parents do not want their child to follow a call from God. It is important to pray for parents to be open to the call God is giving their son or daughter.
Who is your favorite saint? My favorite saint is St. Natalia because she is my namesake. She was a wife, mother and compassionate person. She had an inner strength, cared for the needs of the poor and was not afraid to stand up for the truth.
What do you think of the selection of Pope Francis? I believe that Pope Francis was chosen as a result of prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit's guidance. The election was a blessing from God for the world. The media has portrayed an image of Pope Francis being a prayerful man. He lived and continues to live a life of simplicity, which enables the common person to better identify with the church. That Pope Francis has chosen his name after St. Francis of Assisi speaks to the desire to give the world an example of living the Gospel. As attributed to St. Francis, "Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words."
What are your favorite movies? The movies I like have a special message to convey.
"Mr. Holland's Opus" portrays the ordinary struggles a family may face adjusting to a new job and the creative energy needed to meet the needs of the students; raising a handicapped child; faithfulness in marriage and up-holding significant educational values that will impact the future of the individual and of the world.
"Spitfire Grill" depicts the trust and acceptance of a woman to hire a young woman who served time in prison. As the story unfolds, one finds out the reason for the prison time and the events that impact the young woman, the grill owner's children and the town. Again, it is a reminder of the connectedness of lives and how no one comes into our life by chance. God has a reason for each person we meet.
"I Heard the Owl Call My Name" is the story of a young missionary who has been diagnosed with cancer. His Bishop sends him to a remote village to learn the real meaning of life.
"Pay it Forward" is the story of a young boy who comes up with a social studies project of doing a good deed which is unexpected. Instead of the person paying for the kind act, they are commissioned to look for another person to do a kind deed. The principle behind the project is to show how we are responsible for one another and how our actions and attitudes can impact and change the world.
I enjoy stage places and musicals as well.
What are your favorite TV shows? I do not watch much TV. I try to watch the news. Most times this is not very uplifting; however, it is a way to keep me aware of what issues and people I need to hold in prayer. Once in a while I will watch "Jeopardy."
Any interesting tidbits about you that many people don't know? I come from a strong faith in God background rooted in my biological family and growing up on the farm. I thank God for these special gifts and all the people who have been a part of my life as well as the many varied cultural experiences.