November 23, 2012

Angels of Grace Awards honor three inspirational women

Angels of Grace award recipient Sally Schrock, left, a member of Carmel United Methodist Church in Carmel, Ind., and founder of Second Starts, poses for a photo with award recipients Bonnie Schott of St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jo Ann Moore, a member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, after the fifth annual Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center fundraiser on Sept. 29 at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis. The luncheon, style show and awards program were presented by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove as a way to honor women who help others through distinguished volunteer service that benefits their church and community. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

Angels of Grace award recipient Sally Schrock, left, a member of Carmel United Methodist Church in Carmel, Ind., and founder of Second Starts, poses for a photo with award recipients Bonnie Schott of St. Roch Parish in Indianapolis and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Jo Ann Moore, a member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, after the fifth annual Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center fundraiser on Sept. 29 at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis. The luncheon, style show and awards program were presented by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove as a way to honor women who help others through distinguished volunteer service that benefits their church and community. (Photo by Mary Ann Garber)

By Mary Ann Garber

Giving thanks to God by serving others. 

Three central Indiana women whose lives are inspirational examples of love and charity do just that in countless ways.

They were honored recently for their courage, dedication and generosity by the Sisters of St. Benedict of Our Lady of Grace Monastery as part of a fundraiser for their Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center ministry in Beech Grove.

During the fifth annual Angels of Grace Awards luncheon on Sept. 29—the feast of the archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael—the Benedictine sisters recognized Our Lady of the Greenwood parishioner Jo Ann Moore of Greenwood, St. Roch parishioner Bonnie Schott of Indianapolis and Carmel United Methodist Church member Sally Schrock of Carmel, Ind., for their distinguished volunteer service to area churches and communities.

“There is no question that love makes the world go around,” said Benedictine Sister Carol Falkner, director of the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center.

“Today is a day to celebrate all the angels in your lives who have shared their love with you,” Sister Carol said, “and all the times that you have taken the opportunity to be an angel bringing love to another.”

The sisters are grateful for your support of their retreat ministry, she told more than 400 guests at the awards luncheon and style show.

“You help us to bring love to the many people that come to our retreat and conference center,” Sister Carol said. “Be assured that each of you is an angel bringing love to our world, and we thank you.”

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant, Moore received the Angel Gabriel Award from the sisters for her faith-filled examples of forgiveness, compassion and generosity in the days following her son’s murder.

Moore and her husband, Spencer, both IMPD officers, lost their son, David, also a policeman, when he was shot in a senseless act of violence during a routine traffic stop on Jan. 26, 2011.

Their lives changed forever on that tragic day, but their faith in God, belief in the goodness of people and commitment to preserving their son’s memory have guided their actions since his death.

They donated their son’s vital organs so that people in need of transplants might have the gift of life then established the David S. Moore Foundation in support of his favorite causes.

Even in the midst of their heartbreaking loss, they responded with Christian compassion and forgiveness by requesting that repeat offender Thomas Hardy be sentenced to life in prison without parole rather than the death penalty after he was convicted of killing their son.

Wiping away tears, Moore joked that she should always carry tissues.

“I miss that boy something terrible,” she said. “… After losing David, I didn’t think I would be able to carry on. But the Holy Spirit and David helped me. There were so many God signs. There are angels among us. It’s true. It’s just beautiful.”

A graduate of the sisters’ former Our Lady of Grace Academy in Beech Grove, Moore said she is “fulfilling my destiny because of what the [Benedictine] teachers taught me. … I wrote Mr. Hardy a letter [and told him] that I truly forgive him.”

The mother of nine grown children and a son in heaven, Schott epitomizes “the perfect volunteer” for her tireless efforts to help people in need for 39 years.

Schott received the sisters’ Angel Raphael Award because she always says “yes” when asked to assist others, and is a wonderful witness to Christian generosity of self, talent and time.

“I want to say thank you,” she said. “Oh, gosh! It’s hard to talk without crying. … God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that I would need a lot of help in life so he started me out at [the former] Sacred Heart School and [former] Sacred Heart-Kennedy High School [in Indianapolis]. … Then he put me in St. Roch Parish with my husband, Joe.”

Insisting that she is “just the Holy Spirit’s middle man,” Schott said, “I thank all of you who have been called [for help] and said ‘yes.’ … I want to encourage you to keep giving of yourself. It’s not because of me. It’s because the Holy Spirit puts that love in your heart. Don’t hang on to things. Share it all with others. … It’s amazing what even a smile will do.”

Schott accepted the volunteer award “for all the people that help me to help others. I appreciate it.”

The founder of Second Starts, which is based at Carmel United Methodist Church, Schrock received the sisters’ Angel Michael Award for helping homeless people begin new lives with donations of household items ranging from lamps, dishes, silverware, sheets, towels, brooms and other necessary supplies that make a house a home.

Her energy, drive and compassion during the past decade have helped hundreds of impoverished people move into homes filled with basic household supplies that many people take for granted, but poor people cannot afford to buy.

“I couldn’t run Second Starts without the 20 or so volunteers that are with me every day,” Schrock said. “… We started this [ministry] 10 years ago, and we currently serve 20 to 25 families every single week.”

She delivers the donated housewares to people that experience a housing crisis, but are able to find safety and security in a new location. That might mean traveling to a high-crime neighborhood to help an impoverished family.

“It’s about seeing my brother and sister in need,” Schrock said, “and offering them justice by giving them extra things that we have [at Second Starts] that they need. … It’s the right thing to do.” †

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