In 2013 Kathryn Weekes is celebrating 21 years as a staff member of the Catholic Development Fund (CDF).
The diocesan offices were located in Maitland when Kathryn began in December 1992 and the CDF and Bishop's staff formed a close-knit group. At the time, Kathryn also spent three days a week caring for her sister Marie-Therese, who had multiple sclerosis. Her children, Gemma and Mitchell, were just 4 and 3 years old.
Kathryn remembers the Maitland office with fondness, especially the filing area which was actually an old bank vault and the manual tasks, like printing the yearly statements for customers. "At the end of the financial year the statements would be sent to print on a tractor feed printer and we would have to tear them individually. If something went wrong with the printer we couldn't reprint them so would have to type them up using a manual typewriter and carbon paper. Sometimes we would even iron the ones that came out a little crumpled," Kathryn said.
Eventually moving to the current CDF office in Newcastle West in 1995, Kathryn has seen many changes in her time, not least of which are the advances in technology that have made those manual, laborious tasks a thing of the past!
When asked what has kept her in her role for so long Kathryn doesn't hesitate. "The connection I have built over time with the customers of the CDF is the key for me. I like the work and I appreciate the opportunity to work for the church. The people I work with have become life-long friends. It's a privilege to have shared so much of my own journey with the customers and staff," Kathryn said.
Kathryn is one of eight children and incredibly five of the eight have worked for the diocese at some point, with one brother and one sister still employed by the diocese. Kathryn said that the family's strong faith helped shape their career choices and working for the church is something that seemed a natural fit, a natural expression of their faith.
The support of Kathryn's colleagues and indeed the customers of the CDF, through some of the busiest, joyful and most challenging times in her life, has been a blessing. "It's been lovely to share so much of my life with my friends at work, to watch each other's kids grow up, to lean on them when I have had to face hard times. I like to think that customers see me as a familiar face, as someone who genuinely cares about them. It's a privilege to help them," Kathryn said.
Client Services Manager of the CDF, Anne Campbell, is grateful for Kathryn's long service to the CDF. "Kathryn has been an ever reliable source of information and training for all new staff over the years. When it comes to CDF history she is the fount of all knowledge! Kathryn is well known and loved by our customers, with whom she has a wonderful rapport, nothing is too much trouble and she is always friendly and helpful. She is a valued, trusted and irreplaceable member of the CDF team. Last but not least she is also a wonderful friend," Anne said.
Kathryn and her husband Andrew will soon travel to Europe for the first time and will enjoy catching up with her now 25 year old daughter who is currently travelling overseas. I am sure all who know Kathryn will wish her well on this journey and will enjoy hearing her stories when she returns!
Visit the CDF website to learn about some of the great pastoral works supported by the fund, as well as meeting other experienced, valued members of staff.
Article courtesy of Joanne Isaac.