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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



Six-years-ago this week, I was on my first Vacherie Mission Trip with St. George youth group. It was a mission trip to serve the people of Vacherie, Louisiana, hosted by Our Lady of Peace.

The teens would be assigned to workgroups during the day serving the people of Vacherie by fixing up their homes with the help of skilled volunteers leading them. In the evenings, we'd listen to praise and worship music, motivational speakers, and play games. It was a week filled with service, teamwork, and so much joy.

One of my favorite parts of the mission was getting to know the parishioners at Our Lady of Peace. Because the parish hall only had basic bathroom facilities when the workday was over, we would load up the kids and take them to host houses for everyone to shower. The shower hosts were another essential part of the mission, as the kids waited their turn to get cleaned up they would visit with the host, getting to know them and their stories.

Mrs. Velma was my shower host for the years I was part of the mission. Every morning she attended daily Mass with the teens, and in the afternoons, she'd be waiting for us to visit and shower. Mrs. Velma always had a good story and an open kitchen filled with treats for me and the girls. On my last mission trip to Vacherie, Mrs. Velma presented me with an ivy she had planted. I still have that plant and think of her every time I look at it. We all loved Mrs. Velma.

Mrs. Velma passed away on Monday at the age of 86. Her obituary says she had a passion for people, and her love was felt by everyone who crossed her path. How true those words are, we all felt like part of her family walking in every afternoon and making ourselves at home greeted by the warm, loving arms of Mrs. Velma.

Mrs. Velma, I know you are now in the arms of our Lord. Thank you for being an example of Christ's love to all of us. May you rest in peace.

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