Mater Dei is proud to announce that Phyllis (Fox) Berndsen will be inducted into the Mater Dei Hall of Honor on May 5, 2017, with fellow inductees the late James Kirby, M.D., Jeff Ripperda, M.D., and Rita (Schomaker) Winkeler.
Following her graduation from Mater Dei in 1963, Phyllis earned a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification. In her forty-two-year career as a nurse, she served in a variety of areas, including surgery, mental health, intensive care, emergency room care, and maternity. Phyllis also served in a management position at Clinton County Rural Health.
While serving as a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, Illinois, Phyllis answered her calling to lay ministry, as she played a key role in the development of a grief support group, for which she served as a facilitator. She then served in the hospital’s Pastoral Care Department, providing spiritual support for patients and their families, from 2001-2007.
Phyllis’ passion for lay ministry led her to earn a Certificate of Theology, with a focus in pastoral ministry, in 2005 through the Loyola Institute for Ministry Extension (LIMEX) Program. Since 2007, she has served as the pastoral associate at St. Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church in Breese, Illinois. In this role, Phyllis assists in ensuring that the administrative, spiritual, and faith formation needs of the parish are met, which includes directing the adult, resurrection, and youth choirs; training parishioners to serve as eucharistic ministers and servers; preparing parishioners for baptism, marriage, and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA); serving as an ex-officio member of St. Augustine’s Finance Committee and Pastoral Council and All Saints Academy’s School Board; serving as a member of St. Augustine’s Stewardship Committee and Parish Partnership Committee; and coordinating St. Augustine’s Grief Ministry Outreach.
As member of St. Augustine of Hippo Catholic Church since 1969, Phyllis also continues to serve as a cantor, eucharistic minister, lector, sacristan, Youth Faith Formation teacher, and Ladies Sodality member. In addition, she is a member of Community Link’s Human Rights Committee.
Phyllis and her husband Tom are blessed with three children, Scott (’85), Mark (’87), and Angela (’92), and seven grandchildren.
Established in 1997, the Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of Mater Dei who have lived their lives as witnesses of her mission. The celebration will begin at 6:30 pm with Mass in the Mater Dei Chapel, followed by dinner and the induction ceremony. Proceeds benefit the Mater Dei Grant-in-Aid program. For reservations ($20 per person), please contact the office (618-526-7216).