Julia and Tony Albrecht met in 1950 as students at Oberlin College in Ohio. They fell in love, and as Julia says, “although we were obviously too young to know what we were getting into, we made a life plan.” Julia packed her wedding dress and a going-away suit and sailed to France, where they were married in 1954. They lived around the world and in Washington with the US Foreign Service, worked hard, and raised 4 sons. Later, Julia joined Tony in the State Department as a Civil Service employee. Their family has grown to include 2 daughters-in-law, 4 granddaughters and one grandson.
They will celebrate their 60th Anniversary this summer.
They are dedicated Ignatian Volunteers, with 24 years of combined IVC service. Their love is evident in their marriage, and they share this so generously and sincerely with those they serve.
When asked about how IVC has impacted their marriage, Julia answers, “Profoundly. I have to confess that when Tony said he wanted to join IVC I briefly feared he was encroaching on my new career. Instead, being co-workers in IVC gives me joy. I believe that we have been called and sent out as a couple, like the disciples who were sent out two by two, to love and serve others.”
Tony says, “We’re doing something together. I sense that our IVC community sees us as a couple just like we were a couple at Oberlin. That’s a very tender thought. In between there’s been a lot of time, which we spent raising our children, working hard to take care of and provide for them. Now we get to do this together.”
“The other day, we got an advertisement in the mail for a retirement community,” says Julia. “The ad read, ‘Spend your retirement on vacation!’ It showed people around a pool table, a swimming pool, a spa. That’s just not us.”
Julia started her IVC service in 2000, attracted by the spiritual reflection opportunities, and has spent 14 years writing resumes for the unemployed and underemployed. Tony followed in 2004 and teaches construction, math, and English to immigrants.
“Julia recruited me by example,” says Tony. “She shared great stories from people, stories which touched me.”
“He noticed I was getting so much out of it,” says Julia. “IVC has become our major base community within the Church, along with our Holy Trinity parish prayer group. We really came to know and love our fellow volunteers through our City Group meetings and retreats. They are like family, especially because our children don’t live near us. We feel privileged to know these people.”
“It comes out of sharing work experiences and challenges,” says Tony. “All volunteers reflect the joy they get out of just working with other human beings. It’s very powerful. I can kind of feel happy as they describe their work and the response they get from people they’re serving. It’s very energizing to be part of this community.”
Julia reads a statement that she wrote for the region’s IVC brochure: “We owe so much to IVC. For over 14 years, IVC has given us meaningful work, heart-warming experiences with people who need help, a vital community of friends and, most important, food for our souls. In gratitude.”