A welcoming environment is a key selling point of Marillac Retreat and Spirituality Center of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. In recent months, the addition of volunteers to meet, greet and orient program participants to the facility has further enhanced this commitment to hospitality.

Sister Noreen Walter, Marillac Center director, found that too often, particularly in late afternoon and over weekends, she was the only staff member available as guests arrived. “If I needed to check something in another location or make a delivery,” she explains, “that left the front desk unattended and put our spirit of hospitality on the line.”

Her solution? In October 2018, Sister Noreen hosted lunch for a group of Lansing/Leavenworth area residents. Cautioning them “there is no such thing as a free lunch,” she described Marillac Center’s need for hospitality volunteers and distributed cards inviting their involvement. The group included SCL Associates and persons who regularly attend a discussion session at the center. Out of 15 participants, 10 volunteers emerged.

Sister Noreen broadcasts an email to the group when she needs assistance with a program or task. Volunteers staff the reception desk, answer questions, direct guests to their rooms, and orient them to the space. Sister Noreen or another Marillac Center staff member gives a formal welcome to the individuals attending a retreat or program. Volunteers have also assisted with transportation.

“I can see this developing into other opportunities to volunteer,” Sister Noreen adds.