Sr. Genevieve Gomez of the Sacred Heart was born in Brooklyn, NY, March 6, 1935 to Gregorio and Consuelo Gomez. Genevieve was the youngest of 6 children: Iris, Consuelo, Jack, Ida, Rose and Genevieve. Over the years the MSBTs came to know her siblings and their children and grandchildren and extended family as they have collaborated with Genevieve on many projects, events, fundraisers, and ministry and have visited us and shared their joys. We have witnessed firsthand the loving family bonds among them.
Genevieve was baptized on March 20, 1936 in the Holy Family Hospital, Nazareth Branch in the Bronx. Genevieve spent the first 9 years of her life in the hospital. She spoke affectionately about the kindness and attentiveness of many of the hospital staff. Some formed lifelong friendships with her.
Before she entered the Missionary Servants, Genevieve worked as a Secretary at the Office of Civil Defense General Headquarters, NYC, New York. Always up for an adventure, and she was a contestant on a television quiz show and as she like to recount the story~ she won.
Genevieve entered the community on August 5, 1956, she made her first profession on March 25, 1958 and her Final Profession of Vows on March 25, 1963.
Her first missionary experience as an MSBT was in Puerto Rico at El Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Merced in Roosevelt, where she taught English and Religion, did home visiting and prepared children for the sacraments in the missions around the school. In 1964 she was missioned to parish ministry in the parishes in Country Club with our brothers and priests. In 1967 Genevieve was missioned to the Cathedral Parish in Philadelphia and in 1969 she became supervisor of Casa del Carmen, Catholic Charities of Philadelphia. In 1970 she returned to Puerto Rico as the Director of the Alternative Education Program in the Centro de Orientatcion y Servicios (Centros Sor Isolina), Ponce Playa. In 1975 she went to St. Joseph’s School in Holy Trinity as a teacher. In 1975 she was missioned as Coordinator of Religious Education at Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain, Ohio, another mission with our priests and brothers. In 1978 Genevieve went to St. Patrick’s School in Phenix City, Alabama as Administrative Assistant. From 1980 to 1988, Genevieve was Director of Religious Education at her beloved Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Jamaica, New York. In 1988 until May 1994 Sr. Genevieve was missioned to Tallahassee and Quincy, Florida. A strong focus of her work there was among the migrant farm workers and their families.
In 1994, Genevieve had a Sabbatical year at St. Stephen’s Priory in Massachusetts and she also visited our missions in Mexico and Alabama. In 1995, Sr. Genevieve returned to Puerto Rico to San Jose Parish Guaynabo and then in 1996 to Humacao as a community outreach worker in ministry with Sr. Catherine McCarthy. Her ministry was described this way, “Ministry outreach and resource person for the Spiritual Development of a large population of marginalized Catholics in the neighborhood of the Cenacle and in the Padre Rivera Housing.”
In 2001 Genevieve went to Ponce Playa, once again, to work as an outreach worker with the HUD Housing project. In 2005 Sr. Genevieve came to the Motherhouse and established Inn Dwelling II program along with Sr. Catherine McCarthy, her partner in mission, Sr. Rosemarie and Brother Al. Genevieve served as Coordinator. On her ministry evaluation sheet in 2007 she had set out many goals for herself and one that stood out was the commitment to the parents in Inn Dwelling to do all she could for them for the benefit of their children’s future. Because of her open and generous missionary spirit and example, Genevieve was asked to become part of the Mentoring Community in the Formation Cenacle in 2007.
In 2013, Sr. Genevieve became part of the Ministry of Prayer here at the Motherhouse. In January 2014 Sr. Genevieve was missioned to Mother Boniface MC at WEL. Listening to all she did, leaves you a little breathless but it doesn’t stop there. In her own words in a letter to Sr. Joan Marie after the Ministry Summit in March 2016, she wrote offering to volunteer her service in whatever capacity she could be useful. She said “maybe knowing how I jump in ‘feet first’ and then ask questions, maybe I should just volunteer for one of the community days committees”. She went on to explain what she was involved in at Wesley; as secretary on the Resident Council, one of the editors for WEL’s Pennypack Digest, where she contributed her poems and reflections. She also continued to coordinate ‘English in the Homes’ outreach program that grew out of Inn Dwelling II. She was also the resident “tech expert” at Wesley for our sisters answering questions on the operations of their TV’s, phones, laptops and computers. Never a dull moment. She wrote that “I do want to be part of preparing for our future as MSBT’s while I still have time and energy.”
She had a zest for learning and in her own words she said that education, “opens you up to all that makes life exciting and energizing.” She received her BS in Education from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1969 and an MA with honors in Religious Education and Family Ministry from Fordham University in 1986. She received a full scholarship from the Extension Society for her Graduate Studies at Fordham. Genevieve was continually updating and retooling. She often wrote reflection papers on what she had garnered from the courses and workshops she had taken and how she was trying to integrate her insights and learning into her life and ministry. When she was on Sabbatical at St. Stephen’s Priory in 1994 – 1995, apart from the scripture and spirituality courses she took, she also took a course in Reiki, natural healing and a computer course.
She loved music, studied guitar and music theory. She also wrote and recorded her original songs, appropriately entitled, Antiphon of Joy.
Genevieve had a strong commitment to family which, no doubt, sprung from her own family bonds and this extended to her love for the Cenacle Family.
She knew how to network and I don’t think she ever met anyone who did not become part of her life, forever. She was generous, enthusiastic, zealous, faith filled, she exuded joy, she brimmed over with a missionary spirit, the Cenacle Spirit. She left her imprint on so many hearts and she will be deeply missed.
Sr. Genevieve often wrote songs or poems for various occasions. In 2012 she wrote one and dedicated it to the Sisters at the Motherhouse entitled;
“God sends Angels.”
There is no doubt in my mind as I look around
And see smiling faces and hardly a frown.
We love who we are, what we can do to make life here easier for you.
God sends Angels.
I think we experienced that God sends angels in Sr. Genevieve’s life among us. We thank you, Sr. Genevieve, for the gift of your life to the Cenacle.