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Meet Anne Geiran

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By Anaritha Gonzalez (May, 24, 2016)

I used to think I couldn't do many works of mercy until my kids got older and I had more time — until I met Anne Geiran.

Anne has always integrated works of mercy into family life. Mother to seven children, ages 11-25, a homeschool parent for many years, and a registered dietitian, Anne finds the time to see and meet the needs of others by living out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The best part is that she gets her husband and children involved in almost all the works of mercy she performs!

I first met Anne when I was 38 weeks pregnant. After I gave birth, I ran into Anne and I shared the difficulties we were having with our unusually colicky baby. Even though I hardly knew her, she came over the next day to give me infant probiotics and a crash course in infant digestion. This was just the beginning.

In the four years I've known her, I continue to be amazed at her love and selflessness for family, friends, strangers, and the poor. Every month, for years, she brings her family into Washington, D.C., to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity. They cook for the sisters' soup kitchen, do gardening, provide food for the sisters — especially for their special dinners at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Anne also helps with driving needs for the sisters, such as helping to drive family members of sisters making their final vows. Once I even ran into Anne at a pro-life doctor's office with a sick sister she had driven there. She also brings the sisters, and the residents they care for, apple picking every fall. And each summer, she invites poor inner city children who attend the Missionaries of Charity camps to a local pool club for a day of fun. She arranges it so that each child has a buddy who can swim with them and eats lunch with them, too. She truly has a special love for helping the Missionaries of Charity and lives this out through a variety of acts of kindness and love for them.

Anne also helps the poor through Catholic Charities as well. Her knowledge has been put to use to develop recipes that encourage the use of healthy rice/soy protein rich meal packets. Her family also picks up day-old bakery items from Panera and distributes them to immigrant workers on Saturday mornings — the workers gather at a local 7-11 store as they wait to be picked up as day laborers. In addition to the bakery items, Anne and her family give them a smile and an invitation to church along with the parish bulletin.

Several times this school year, Anne brought children from our school in Manassas, Virginia, into D.C. to give out lunches the kids prepared for homeless people. She instructs the children to smile, look everyone in the eye, and treat the homeless men and women like they are Jesus.

Anne's home is always open. In fact, she opens her home to so many people that I am reminded of the passage from the Gospel of Luke, "And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, 'When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind'"(Lk 14:12-13).

Recently, she hosted all of the Missionaries of Charity sisters at her home for a "day of respite," including cooking them a delicious meal. All of the elderly residents the sisters care for also come to Anne's home for a day during the summer and Anne organizes entertainment, games, and food for all. Have you ever seen a Superior of a Missionaries of Charity convent running around with a water gun amid peals of laughter? There was an explosion of joy that day at Anne's house!

In addition, she hosts family rosary nights at her home and an Advent party where she collects items for the poor. One year she even had a Divine Mercy Sunday party complete with a red and white balloon arch much to the children's delight!

Anne has an open door for priests as well. A running joke at their house, according to Anne's husband is, "Hurry up and clean — the priest is coming!" She drives priests to the airport if they need a ride and once she drove an hour to support a priest, a family friend, who was suffering from fallout after a homily he gave about homosexuality.

Anne loves children and is always looking for ways to aid in their spiritual formation. For two years she held a girls club at her home that taught them to grow in virtue while doing a variety of fun activities and works of mercy as well.

With her husband, she heads up "Teams of Our Lady," a marriage group and she is always searching for ways to help people grow spiritually. She started the "Choice Wine" program in our parish recently, which is a Catholic marriage enrichment program.

Last year, Anne's 20-year-old son contracted leukemia and this opened Anne's heart to families with sick children. When my daughter was hospitalized overnight two weeks before I was to give birth, Anne dropped everything to come be with my other children and drive my son to his first baseball practice. Another time my daughter broke her arm and Anne rushed out to get dinner for our family and came by to drop off two stuffed animals for the wounded child and the one just below her in age.

Anne also helps to counsel those with sick family members. When a friend's mother-in-law was dying from cancer and being starved, Anne spent a good deal of time educating her on the Church's teaching on life issues and encouraged her to stand up for her mother-in-law despite family members who disagreed. This friend credited Anne for helping her mother-in-law die naturally from her cancer.

She has a great love for the elderly and shows it every time any of our parents come into town for a visit. She goes out of her way to speak with them, make them feel loved and appreciated for all the wisdom they possess. She showed up at my house once to surprise my mother with a cake on her birthday.

When I pray the second Joyful mystery, the Visitation, I think of Anne. She embodies the spirit of Our Lady who went "in haste" to help Elizabeth. And like Blessed Mother Teresa, Anne's deep love of Jesus is what fuels her own works of mercy. Anne can often be found at daily Mass or in the Adoration chapel. I have learned so much about living the Gospel from watching Anne. I frequently tease my kids and say, "When I grow up I want to be like Anne!"

Anne's life is a witness from the trenches of family life with all its joys, sorrows, hopes and struggles. She gives all of us hope that we too can live the Gospel. Anne teaches us that we don't have to wait for a more convenient time to make living the works of mercy a part of the fabric of our lives.

Anaritha Gonzalez lives in Manassass, Virginia.

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leadout429 - May 25, 2016

When you are incredible, and, no-one comments, or, worse yet, reads it, do not fret or feel unkown. That is what Judas was, "demonic possession." Yes, self-doubt is a form of "possesion." Remember the Magisterium. Your love is now in the ethernet. "No crying permitted." You will be beatified, if you "keep a written record of those things." (promisses of Christ.)

Betsy - May 26, 2016

I know Anne, and this is a beautiful and so very accurate portrait. Thank you for taking the time to write it, and to Anne,and John, for their joyful presence in so many lives.

Nora - Jun 7, 2016

Anne,thanks for helping the less fortunate and following God's Will. That is what I did, and hope and pray for me to Heal and get back to my volunteer work with the Lord. "Thy Will be done. "