Overseeing a stamp collection at Nazareth Motherhouse, Sister Miriam Ann provides financial support for the missions and a gathering point for her community.
NAZARETH, Ky. — On a sunny afternoon, the windows of the Nazareth Motherhouse allow light to spill into a room where a group of Sisters are engrossed in an activity that is far from heavenly in origin but deeply spiritual in its effect. Led by Sister Miriam Ann Walter, the Sisters meticulously sort through a collection of canceled stamps—flags, commemoratives, and foreign varieties abound. Today, they’re having a “stamp trimming party,” a communal event that merges fellowship with mission.
“Let’s see who can trim the most number of stamps without snipping a crucial part,” says Sister Miriam Ann, her eyes twinkling behind her glasses. She orchestrates this intricate operation with the grace and enthusiasm of a person half her age.
When Sister Miriam Ann moved to the Nazareth Motherhouse years ago, she knew that the Sisters had a long-standing practice of collecting canceled stamps and selling them to a stamp collector. The revenue generated from this endeavor has always supported the Congregation’s diverse missions worldwide. Discovering an opening in the stamp ministry shortly after her arrival, she felt a sense of calling. “That’s just how it happens for me,” she says, laughing heartily.
A Ministry of Small Things, With Big Impact
After the Sisters have sorted and trimmed the stamps, Sister Miriam Ann carefully packs them into boxes, seals them, and takes them to a stamp collector who weighs them and sends a check. “When I get the check, I open it and look at it,” she explains. “Then, I take it to the Motherhouse Coordinator, and she looks at it. From there, it’s off to the Office of Mission Advancement for the missions.”
The amount may vary, but the significance of the effort is not lost on anyone. Sister Miriam Ann estimates that in the last year alone, the stamp ministry raised thousands of dollars that went toward various outreach programs—ranging from education to healthcare initiatives in underprivileged communities.
More Than Just Stamps
While the primary goal is fundraising, Sister Miriam Ann sees the ministry as much more than a transactional endeavor. “It’s about community,” she says. “The stamp trimming parties aren’t just about preparing the stamps for sale. They’re about coming together, sharing stories and bonding.”
This gathering of like-minded women, focused on making a difference one stamp at a time, becomes a microcosm of the larger mission: to bring joy, unity, and spiritual fulfillment to those around them.
The Wisdom of Age
Sister Miriam Ann is the epitome of vitality. Her joy for life, love for God and people, and boundless energy inspire all who cross her path. “Don’t think of age as a limitation,” she says, waving a pair of scissors for emphasis. “See it as years of experience you can bring into whatever you do.”
She’s seen the world change in countless ways over the course of her life, yet her commitment to service remains unwavering. “In every era, there’s a way to do good, to contribute. In this digital age, who would’ve thought that something as analog as a stamp could still make an impact?”
Sister Miriam Ann Walter continues to be a living testament to how purpose knows no age and love knows no bounds. And for anyone visiting the Nazareth Motherhouse, whether it’s to share a prayer or trim a stamp, that message comes through loud and clear.
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