After more than 30 years working at a manufacturing plant, Wanda Goodspeed was looking for a little peace and quiet. She found it as a volunteer at the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Monastery in Clyde.
"Retirement requires such a huge life adjustment, and I spent so many years around noise," the Nodaway County resident said. "God knew just what I needed to help me move on, so he led me here."
Goodspeed's journey began a year ago when she was part of a group from the First United Methodist Church in Maryville that visited the sisters’ tea house. She said she was overwhelmed by the contemplative atmosphere.
"I couldn’t believe anyplace could be that peaceful," she said, "so I quickly signed up to visit with my church group again three weeks later."
That group toured the monastery’s Soap Shop where Sister Cathleen Marie Timberlake hand-crafts a variety of soaps and lotions, the sale of which helps support the nuns' monastic life.
It was here that Goodspeed discovered a kindred spirit.
Since meeting Timberlake, Godspeed visits the monastery a couple of days each week and has logged more than 450 hours doing "whatever needs to be done."
With no experience in soap-making, Goodspeed admits there was a bit of a learning curve.
"It took a while to learn the process," she said. "But Sister Cathleen Marie is a fabulous teacher, and she is so patient with me."
In addition to working at the Soap Shop and elsewhere, Goodspeed joins the sisters for prayer and welcomes the time in she gets to spend in chapel.
"The sisters make me feel like I am a part of their family," she said. "Joining them for prayer is like stopping for a moment to catch a new breath before continuing on with my day."
Timberlake calls Goodspeed "my other soap-maker,"
"Wanda is so wonderful to have in our shop," she said. "We just love her."
Retirement can be a scary step, and Goodspeed said she is lucky to have found a volunteer calling at just the right time.
"Volunteering your time for a group of people is a heartfelt endeavor," she said. "You quickly learn the benefits of giving back, and you soon realize how much you receive in return. It brings a good balance to your life."