Get to Know Jennifer Rice

Name: Jennifer Rice
Title: pastoral associate, care and consolation

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up the oldest of 2 in Toledo and remain loyal to my Detroit Tigers. I’ve been married to Grant for 16 years, a parishioner for 14 years, and mom to triplet boys who will soon be 13 and attend our school. I love to read, cook, garden, and craft (scrapbook, sewing, Cricut!). I have worked in social work from seriously mentally ill in prison to high school to counseling trauma survivors, hospice, and bereaved.

Tell us about your role here.
I lead the pastoral care ministry. I support the 80 volunteers who minister to homebound and the nursing facilities, visiting as well; provide counseling; consult and support staff and school care needs; coordinate and support outreach programs; coordinate all funerals and related ministries, and provide grief counseling and support. Plus, leadership team and “duties as assigned” depending on the needs of the parish.

How did you come to work at St Brendan’s?
I was a clinical social worker for hospice and wanted to know more to provide spiritual support to my patients and families, so I completed a master’s in theology. I felt called to work in a parish with a vision for what that role could be. It took 4 years of waiting, praying, then everything happened fast. I have known Father Bob 20 years now and he became pastor, Sister Pat (who brought me on to run grief support groups) was leaving, and it all just came together. I have been here over 5 years and love that I can drop my kids at school, walk across the parking lot to my office, and work in my own parish.

What is the best part of your job here?
Being present in the tough messy times. Yes, it is hard, but it’s important that the church is really there for her people, walking alongside them in good and in suffering. People do come to cry on my couch, but I pray they leave with more peace and to know they are cared for.

What is your favorite thing to do on weekends?
Hang with the family at home with a game or a movie, work outside, and make pancakes for breakfast.

Favorite book:
Anything feel-good set in a small town with quirky characters – the Mitford series by Jan Karon.

Favorite movie:
Mary Poppins

Favorite Saints:
St. Teresa of Calcutta and St. Damien of Molokai

Go-to snack:
lately I’m loving mini turkey sticks

Tell us what you’re proud of.
Of course, I’m really proud of my once micro-preemies who are now huge and taking on their worlds. Here I am most proud of bringing Walking with Purpose to our parish and watching it grow and thrive with a team of amazing women.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I make coffee (always flavored) and sit with the daily scriptures, reflection and prayer. In good weather it’s outside where I can greet the morning and listen to the birds.

Tell us anything else you think we should know! Or any fun facts you have about yourself.
I double-majored in psychology and theatre, studying drama therapy extensively, but also acting – including a professional stint. Someday I’ll get back to it!