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Georgeann Schmied is a Richmond native who’s been a member of St. Mary’s Parish for more than 30 years. Since the middle of 2018, Georgeann has made a weekly gift to Saint Mary’s Catholic School’s Go Forth! Capital Campaign, which supports the recent renovation of a large part of our school. She will complete her pledge by the end of the 2020-21 school year.

As a product of Catholic schools herself, Georgeann said it’s important to her to give whatever support she can.

Georgeann went to St. Bridget’s Catholic School in Richmond from kindergarten through eighth grade, and then to Marymount School for high school. Marymount was an all-girls Catholic high school in Richmond that is no longer in operation. Georgeann was in high school from 1964 to 1968 – an interesting time in our country with social justice issues that were coming to the surface, Georgeann said.

Georgeann said the nuns at Marymount were a little ahead of their time with regard to social justice, and exposed their students to the topics of the day. Their teachings helped influence Georgeann’s perspectives, as did her family.

Georgeann is one of eight children; her mother was Catholic and her father converted from the United Church of Christ to Catholicism when Georgeann was in sixth grade. One of her older brothers, four years her senior, became a priest (he is now retired).

She said through her family and those other outside influences, “ … it was just always there – the faith piece – an idea of the way we’re supposed to treat each other/be of service to each other,” she said. “That made such an impression and shaped my life.”

Through jobs and life experiences, Georgeann feels grateful to have been able to bring her faith to work so to speak. She worked for a few years in the Diocese of Richmond’s refugee office. She worked at St. Mary’s Bon Secours, where, as at the Diocese, there “was a certain freedom to talk about your faith and live it out a little more in the open.” She also filled in as a teacher at All Saints Catholic School for a year when a teacher had to leave at short notice.

She says that the past year, with COVID restrictions, has been a good reminder of what the Saint Mary’s community means to her. “When church had to shut down for a couple of months, I missed it terribly,” she said. “I missed not being able to receive the Eucharist. I missed the people. It really is about community – relationships – how that is formed by our beliefs and our faith.”

Georgeann has served in various ministries at St. Mary’s Parish for many years – as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program, as a member of the Human Concerns Committee, as a lector. She said that working with RCIA candidates has been a fantastic and eye-opening experience. She told Sister Pat McCarthy, former Pastoral Associate at St. Mary’s Parish, that as a cradle Catholic she felt she’d never really been the one to make the choice to join the Catholic Church. She said: “I remember, Sister Pat said: ‘You’re making a choice every day to remain a part of this church and this community.’”

Georgeann said: “When the opportunity arose to plug in to the school program (the Go Forth! Capital Campaign), I thought sure, why not. This is one community: church and school … I can make it work. I feel kind of called to do that for as long as I can. “The whole idea of Catholic education – not only my own personal experience but the quality I know is involved with it – is such a great balance of underlying values and good, practical education,” she said.

If you, like Georgeann, are interested in supporting Saint Mary’s Catholic School, please contact Jennifer Janus via email or by telephone 804.740.1048 x.142.

Content for this blog post provided by Jennifer Janus, SMCS. Photo Credit: Agata Schoenborn