Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 17, 2003
Sr. Madeleine reflects God's love
Her heart's choice to serve others lit this sisters path
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"You always have to adapt to what is going on around you and your ministry and the needs of people."
- Sr. Madeleine Geiger
Religious life has changed a lot over the years. After the Second Vatican Council, many religious orders did away with habits and blind obedience.
There were also liturgical changes. Many sisters left their congregations confused and disappointed. Geiger embraced most of the changes brought on by the council and stayed.
"All growth involves change," she said. "If there is no change, there is no growth. You always have to adapt to what is going on around you and your ministry and the needs of people."
Geiger especially welcomed the new freedoms and responsibilities given to religious sisters, especially the freedom to use their God-given gifts where they were most needed.
"But change (and freedom) has never been a great issue with me at all because my whole focus has been to serve," she clarified. "And when you think of all the changes, they are meant for a greater good."
Geiger came back to Edmonton in 1983 to look after her ill mother. When her mother died, she decided to stay home with her father. Then she met Father Spicer and was hired as his assistant.
"It was office work, a little bit of everything, the same as it is now." At the time, the office was located on Jasper Avenue by St. Joseph's Basilica.
"So I'm in my 20th year here with Father Spicer," the sister noted. "It has been a wonderful experience really to be working with him. He's had such forward looking and people-oriented ideas."
She recalled having to type dozens of documents on a manual typewriter, including some of the reflection booklets Spicer wrote on the Scriptures.
Tedious and monotonous as her job may seem from the outside, it never was to Geiger, especially now that she does everything on a computer. "There is always something new going on here," she clarified. "It's not as if you were doing the same thing day after day. In this line of work you meet a good many people and you are able to help them on their faith journey."
In addition to typing, Geiger assisted Spicer in organizing small Christian communities throughout the archdiocese, in organizing tours to the Holy Land, in putting together the annual Scripturefest lectures and in setting up the video library which now has over 1,800 video cassettes on dozens of topics. Geiger lends over 400 videos a month.
"When people come to the library, you get to meet their families and their little children too," she said.
Geiger is convinced becoming a sister was a good choice for her because it has allowed her to do what she wanted to do: live in community with other like-minded people and serve the people of God.
"I think God has been very good to me," she said. "I'm very happy. It has been a good life."
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