This reflection/letter comes from Sam Schloemer as he retired from his position as IVC Regional Director in Cincinnati
I’m sending you a “Thank You” in this format to enable you to read what I have to say. There are so many people I want to thank, hand writing about hundred legible notes would have been impossible. I hope you understand.
Thinking back to September, 2005, I received a letter from the selection committee asking me to consider starting an Ignition Volunteer Corps (IVC). At the time I thought, “I really don’t need one more thing.” Over the next several weeks I started thinking about the spiritual component, its value and my need for it in my journey, and that’s when I put together a letter of interest.
In late December, 2005, after several interviews, the last being with Father Edward W Schmidt, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago Province of the Jesuits, he appointed me to start an IVC in Cincinnati. Nationally, it was the sixteenth location the various Jesuit Provinces sponsored.
Spiritually I could not have taken on a more significant activity than IVC. I’ve been a most thankful person for the past six years. The spiritual component, which was the focus of my discernment, was everything I had hoped for. Volunteering, meeting with a Spiritual Reflector, gathering with fifteen-plus people on a monthly basis to share and reflect on where we had found the Face of God in the faces of the materially poor exceeds anything I could have envisioned.
Organizing, scheduling, networking and meeting with new people were natural for me after being in sales and marketing for thirty-five years. I loved it and my enthusiasm for IVC showed. There was no doubt as to what I was going to accomplish.
Initially, I depended on three people: Father Joe Folzenlogen, SJ (I had to get the spelling correct first), George Sullivan, my counterpart in Chicago, and Suzanne Geaney, former CEO, IVC National. They were always there to answer my questions, but were kind enough to hold back on too much advice.
I will not forget Nancy Danehy, a dedicated volunteer, who died shortly after we started. That was a tremendous loss in our short life at that time, but a significant reminder of the fragility of life and relationships.
I’m thankful for the Spiritual Reflectors who bring further meaning to volunteering, and for words of support from many Jesuits in recognizing the IVC mission is what Ignatius gave us to ponder.
For all the directors of the service agencies for your willingness to have one of our volunteers, and who have come to know, appreciate the kindness, the commitment and the quality of our volunteers.
For our volunteers, even if I tried, I could never fully express all the good you do as you address the most urgent needs of our society today and the thousands of hours you have given through your commitment of service two days a week.
Thanks, it’s been a great journey,