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Retiree finds new calling

Retiree finds new calling - (22-10-2013)

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Photo: Area resident Wanda Goodspeed has donated more than 450 volunteer hours with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Mo.; most of that time in the monastery’s soap shop.

After more than 30 years of work at a manufacturing plant, Wanda Goodspeed was looking for a little peace and quiet. She found it as a volunteer with the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Mo.

“Retirement requires such a huge life adjustment, and I spent so many years around noise,” the Nodaway County resident said. “God knew just what I needed to help me move on, so he led me here.”

That journey began a year ago when she was part of a group from the First United Methodist Church in nearby Maryville that visited the Benedictine Sisters’ tea house. Goodspeed said she was overwhelmed by the contemplative atmosphere she experienced when visiting.

“I couldn’t believe any place could be that peaceful,” she said, “so I quickly signed up to visit with my church group again three weeks later.”

That group also toured the monastery’s Soap Shop where Sister Cathleen Marie Timberlake, OSB handcrafts a variety of soaps and lotions that help support the sisters’ monastic life. It was there Goodspeed discovered a kindred spirit in Sister Cathleen Marie and where her post-retirement phase of life began.

Since that time, she visits about a couple days each week and has logged more than 450 hours in the Soap Shop and elsewhere around the monastery doing “whatever needs to be done.”

With no experience in soap-making, Goodspeed admits there was a bit of a learning curve at first.

“It took a while to learn the process,” she chuckled. “But Sister Cathleen Marie is a fabulous teacher, and she is so patient with me.”

Goodspeed, in addition to her time in the Soap Shop, also joins the sisters for prayer services and welcomes the time in chapel.

“The sisters make me feel like I am a part of their family,” she said. “Joining them for prayer is like stopping for a moment to catch a new breath before continuing on with my day.”

Sister Cathleen Marie, who refers to Goodspeed as “my other soapmaker,” echoed those sentiments.

“Wanda is so wonderful to have in our shop,” she said. “We just love her!”

While retirement can be a scary step for some, Goodspeed understands how lucky she was to find the Benedictine Sisters at just the right time in her life.

“Volunteering your time for a group of people is a heartfelt endeavor,” she said. “You quickly learn the benefits of giving back, and you soon realize how much you receive in return. It brings a good balance to your life.”