Meet the Sisters
Responding to Where God Leads
Deep in the Appalachian foothills of Pineville, Ky., S. Ruth Ann Rody, RN, makes her way up a dry creek bed to visit a homebound senior. This is the only access to the woman’s small, impoverished home.
“If it’s raining, snowing or the creek bed is frozen, we can’t get to her – sometimes for a month or longer,” S. Ruth Ann said. “But she is patient, praying for our next visit.”
S. Ruth Ann ministers as a registered nurse for Knox County ( Kentucky) Home Health Care, visiting and caring for shut-ins in this rural community. When not working for the county, S. Ruth Ann brings Holy Communion to those who request spiritual care. Sister serves as Eucharistic Minister with St. Anthony-St. Julian parishes in Pineville. “When people find out I’m a Sister,” she said, “they feel free to talk about God.”
As to the nature of this rural community, S. Ruth Ann said, “It’s like stepping back in time. The folks here are poor, some are illiterate, and many are disabled because of workplace accidents in the coal mining, logging and forestry industries. A lot of kids drop out of high school in the 11th or 12th grade to start families. Those who graduate high school are often the first generation to go to college. Many people are on public assistance, but their values are strong. God, family and work take priority.
“What brought me to Pineville? When I was a young teen, I read several books that took place in the mountains. I fell in love with the idea of living and working in the mountains someday. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually be in Appalachia. God has always been good to me. I have tried to respond to where God leads.
“My clients teach me patience, simplicity and how to love,” continued S. Ruth Ann, who has been a Sister of Charity for 32 years, first as a Vincentian Sister of Charity in Bedford, Ohio, and then as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati when the two communities merged in 2004.
“On my way to visit clients, I pray for them while driving. Sometimes I am the only witness to God for this person. I pray to the Holy Spirit to say the words these dear souls need to hear.”