meet gigi oram, csja

oram

 By Barbara Roberts, Kansas City Development Office

In 1994, Gigi Oram was ministering in the San Francisco Bay area when asked if she was interested in a pastoral associate position in the Kansas City area. “Heavens no!” she replied. “They have tornados in Kansas and Missouri!” Oram took the risk, and her ties to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet took root.

Her first connection was with Sister Marilyn Peot, CSJ, who brought the opening at St. Charles Borromeo Parish to the attention of a friend of Gigi’s. This deepening friendship with Sister Marilyn, which began before she made the move to Missouri, helped her come to know the sisters.

“My first introduction to the sisters as a group was an openness, a welcoming,” Gigi says. “I have been so impressed and touched by the CSJ spirituality, the communion of all together, the oneness, the longing to reach out to others so that no one is excluded.”

In 1998, she met Sister Helen Miljour, CSJ at a prayer group led by Sister Marilyn. This introduction resulted in Gigi and Sister Helen being roommates for nine years. “I learned so much from Sister Helen,” Gigi says. “She is a deeply spiritual and passionate person who directs me without ‘directing’ me.”

A year later Gigi became an associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Today, she continues to meet regularly with the sisters and associates who are a part of the Medaille Associate Community. “It is so life-giving to be with other women, sharing spirituality with such a positive view of life,” she says.

After she retired from St. Charles Borromeo in 2000, another sister led Gigi to branch out again. Sister Barbara Jennings, CSJ asked her to be the pastoral administrator at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Savannah, Mo., a small town 60 miles north of Kansas City, where she served for three years.

Gigi is passionate about her love of nature, a passion that she joins to her spiritualti by being a part of the Quiet Garden Movement. Affiliated with the Quiet Garden Trust, a nonprofit organization to support interfaith ministry, the movement fosters the development of outdoor space for peaceful prayer and meditation.

Her backyard garden is the only one registered with the program in Missouri, which she enjoys sharing with her CSJ community. “As this idea grew inside of me, I just wanted a place at home to do this. I love gardening and nature,” she says. “This matters so much to me to have this place, this space.”

Gigi’s decision to include the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in her estate plan reflects her desire to give back to the sisters. “However [the funds are] used, I want it to be used to help the community thrive—a giving back to help the sisters keep going with what I love so very much about them.”


 

Learn More

Click here to learn more about planned giving or contact Patricia R. Cassens, CFRE, Executive Director of Mission Advancement, at 314-678-0329 or e-mail her at pcassens@csjsl.org.

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