Keeping the House

Housekeeping Team: Felecia Brailey, Sherry Buttenhoff, Ruth Greiner, Peggy Matson, and Donna Ross.

When Peggy Matson applied to work at the Monastery in 1988, she was newly married and working at a local bar. Her mom’s best friend, Jeanette Nuxoll, worked in the St. Gertrude’s  kitchen and suggested Peggy apply. Sister Sylveria hired her and soon Peggy was creating meals alongside Jeanette and another long-time legend of the St. Gertrude’s kitchen: Dolores Enneking, who is still working there.

The sign on Peggy’s office door.

Peggy was immersed in the enduring values of St. Gertrude’s: to not be wasteful, reuse, no clanging and banging — “regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar.” (Rule of Benedict, Ch. 31). Peggy later moved to housekeeping where she worked with Donna Ross, who not only taught her how to strip and wax the floors, but that “we should clean well because it represents the Monastery.”

Over the years Peggy found support from her employer in raising her three sons — running out to school events, doctor appointments, etc. Recently, Peggy took a shift caregiving on the assisted living floor because she wanted to be a part of honoring sisters as they aged. “This place is a peaceful and quiet escape. I’ve never felt so appreciated in any other place I’ve worked.”

Peggy became housekeeping manager in 2002. With few retreatants these days, the team is catching up on deep cleaning projects. “I just try to make housekeeping feel equal, we work well together and have respect for one another. If someone needs extra support we can communicate and be there.”