Nun steps down after 40 years of serving the elderly

Nun steps down after 40 years of serving the elderly

Nun steps down after 40 years of serving the elderly

This Aug. 24, 2016 photo shows Sister Anthony Marie. After 40 years on the job, Sister Anthony Marie will retire as director of the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging at the end of this month. (Credit: Mike O'Donnell/Idaho State Journal via AP.)

A Catholic nun who ran an Idaho agency for the aging for almost 40 years is retiring, saying her philosophy for all that time was, "When you get inside of an elderly person, each one has a gift they have to give. It's up to us to bring that out."

POCATELLO, Idaho — Working hard has become a habit for Catholic Sister Anthony Marie, but even so, she’s going to give up her career at the Southeast Idaho Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging.

She started at the Agency on Aging in January 1976, became director in 1977 and will retire Aug. 31. An open house for Sister Anthony Marie will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, reported the Idaho State Journal.

When the Catholic nun took over the agency 40 years ago, it only offered three main services. These services were congregating senior citizen meals, delivering home meals for seniors and transporting seniors to and from events or centers.

“We now offer 20 different services,” Sister Anthony Marie said.

She’s most proud of the addition of in-home services that help people remain in their homes instead of having to move to assisted living or other facilities.

“We did that to keep people in their own homes,” Sister Anthony Marie said.

Caregiver services have been designed to help seniors thrive in their own environments and have more contact with people from the outside world.

The Agency on the Aging also partners with Medicare and Medicaid to provide information for program signups and help people navigate the many choices they face. Another new service, which Sister Anthony Marie called an “unfortunate necessity,” is adult protective services for those who may be subjected to neglect or abuse.

“We’ve also made strides to keep veterans in their own homes,” Sister Anthony Marie said.

Originally from Carroll, Iowa, Sister Anthony Marie was one of 15 children born to a farm family. She said she remembers how hard her father worked to feed the large family.

“He taught us a good work ethic,” she said.

In addition to helping tend a large garden, the children in the Greving household helped tend to the hogs, cattle and chickens her father raised.

Sister Anthony Marie entered St. Rose of Viterbo Convent in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in 1964 and became a Franciscan Sister. She moved to Idaho in the 1970s and eventually became manager of the Blackfoot Senior Citizen Center before moving to Pocatello and going to work for the Agency on Aging.

In addition to her job, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Idaho State University in 2001.

Although SEICOG and the Agency on Aging receive federal funding, Sister Anthony Marie said the organizations would not be able to function without outside contributions and partnerships.

“Those partnerships are very, very important,” she said.

As she prepares to leave her post, Sister Anthony Marie said she’ll miss the smiles and teamwork that have made it all possible the past four decades.

“Someone told me ‘who’s going to laugh with me when you’re gone,'” Sister Anthony Marie said.

She said she has faith that the dedicated staff will continue to enjoy their work and bring hope to a lot of people.

“It’s a wonderful program,” Sister Anthony Marie said. “When you get inside of an elderly person, each one has a gift they have to give. It’s up to us to bring that out.”

Sister Anthony Marie will not rest on her laurels. In addition to being Mother Superior at the Desert House west of Pocatello that is home to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, Sister Anthony Marie is working on a project to create a retreat facility for couples, children, teens, college students and business professionals.

“I want a quiet place that’s conducive to the thought process and looking inside of yourself,” Sister Anthony Marie said.

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