We are so pleased to welcome Kathryn Berger to the MCC Refugee Services team in the role of Volunteer and Outreach Specialist. She fills the position formerly held by Melody Ward and has already jumped into coordinating co-sponsor teams and volunteers. We’re excited to have as part of our staff and we hope you have the chance to meet her soon!
Five years ago – nearly to the date – I returned from my most recent cross-cultural “assignment” – that of Rome, Italy, where I coordinated my religious community’s international administrative center. I had been looking forward to coming home and after a brief experience working in higher-education, I can honestly say that here at MCC Refugee Services after only three weeks, I feel like I really have come home - back in a graced ministry that is at the heart of our heritage as Americans and our call as Christians.
I am a native of St. Paul, MN, born and raised on the east side. I entered the congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato right after high school and after earning a Bachelor’s degree, started my teaching career here in Minnesota. Soon after, I volunteered for and was sent to our newly created mission in western Kenya. For 14 wonderful years I worked with promising young women who desperately wanted a high school education but did not qualify for places in government schools. During this time I completed a Master’s degree in theology focused on intercultural mission.
With this experience and background, upon my return to Minnesota I was drawn to the world of refugee resettlement and worked with Catholic Charities in southern Minnesota. This was followed by a period of leadership in my religious community where I could continue directing resources toward the most vulnerable among us and to addressing needs not being met by others. It was from this ministry that I was sent to Italy.
But in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t live in the Vatican just down the hallway from Pope Francis! However, every morning when I begin my day at MCC alongside a team of extremely committed colleagues I remind myself of his challenge to build “a culture of encounter and solidarity” or as we say it at MCC: to welcome persecuted persons from around the world into lives of freedom, hope, and opportunity in Minnesota.
Thank you for joining us in the encounter and creating the solidarity that will enable such lives of freedom for so many!