Severna Park woman honored by archdiocese Medal of Honor: Eucharistic minister was among this year's nine recipients of the award, which is given to parishioners for their charitable efforts related to the Catholic Church.

April 25, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Sarah H. Ranke is a wife, a mother and a Eucharistic minister at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Parish.

Now, the 62-year-old Severna Park woman can add Archdiocesan Medal of Honor winner to that list.

Mrs. Ranke was presented with with the award, which is given to parishioners for their charitable efforts related to the Catholic Church, last month. She was one of nine recipients this year; about 160 have been honored over the past 10 years.

"I was shocked and overwhelmed," Mrs. Ranke said of the March 16 ceremony. "I never expected it."

She became an active member of St. John's in 1971, soon after she and her husband moved here from Nantucket, Mass.

Mrs. Ranke became involved in church activities, organizing bulk mailings and laundering the church linens.

Five years ago, she helped establish a Catholic Daughters of America chapter at the church. The group has raised funds to help support two seminarians as they pursue their education.

And Mrs. Ranke still finds time to bake several casseroles a month for Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen in Baltimore.

"I think she's a very outstanding, faith-filled woman," said Monsignor Edward F. Staub, who has known Mrs. Ranke since he became pastor of St. John's in 1982. "She does everything enthusiastically and with great energy."

Mrs. Ranke's proudest achievement is the health ministry that she began at the church in 1982. As the chairwoman, she has organized Mass and rosary services and prayer groups at Chesapeake Manor Extended Care Centre in Arnold and Severna Park Center Genesis ElderCare.

"There are people there who have no one to visit them," she said. "We're brought up to share, [and] it's something that really is needed."

Sharon Stahl, activities director and volunteer coordinator at Genesis, said she is continually surprised by Mrs. Ranke, whom Ms. Stahl has known for 10 years.

"The really wonderful thing about Sarah is that she shows no difference if you're Protestant or Catholic," Ms. Stahl said.

"If someone of a different faith has a religious question, she tries to help them. That's the first time I've ever seen something like that."

Mrs. Ranke said that even though she gets satisfaction from helping others, she is glad for the regular vacations the church gives her.

And she hinted that she might stop volunteering if she begins to feel overwhelmed.

"If it does, then at that point I feel it's time to have someone else take over," Mrs. Ranke said. "But until then, I'll just continue what I'm doing."

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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