This month, after four years as Pax Christi USA’s communications coordinator, Rachel Schmidt has left the national office staff to pursue new opportunities. Rachel has announced earlier this year that she intended to start searching for new directions for her life and career, and had originally planned to transition from the national staff at the beginning of April. With the onset of the pandemic, we were grateful for Rachel extending her time with us to help us continue to address the important issues that the pandemic highlighted for our nation.
Rachel (pictured with Sr. Megan Rice to the right) was an indispensable member of the staff, and as communications coordinator, her interactions with so many of our members was part and parcel of her day-to-day work. All of us are grateful for her dedication as well as the evident joy and friendliness she brought to everyone she encountered. On a personal note, Rachel was my replacement when I left the staff back in 2016, and I am thankful both for the work that she did to maintain and grow our communications work after I left and for the way that she helped to reorient and reintroduce me into the work and the new directions she had taken it during my years at Pax Christi International.
Knowing what a forward-facing position communications is, and how many in our community have come to know Rachel whether face-to-face or as the name on all of the emails you receive from us, I asked Rachel to share a short note with our community:
Thank you for supporting me for four years. It’s time for me to move on, and I hope I’ve left some grace in my wake. I’ve definitely gained a lot from you.
The people have been the best part of this job. You welcomed me in 2016 at the national gathering, you chatted with me on the phone when making your reflection booklet purchases, laughed at my jokes at National Council meetings, taught me about anti-racism, sent me cards when my grandmother died last fall, asked me about my life at gatherings and protests, and offered compliments and kindness. You gave me a place to work as my “Catholic-ish” self (even on the days I felt more “ish” than Catholic.)
Best of all, you have shown me support and ushered me forward into my next phase/step/epoch/whatever-you-want-to-call-it with support and grace. I’m thankful that the relationships don’t have to end.
May you be well! I’ll miss seeing everyone as regularly, and whenever COVID ends, I’m sure we will see each other soon.
Stay well and safe. Support and protect Black lives. … Black Lives Matter.
I extend my personal thanks and the thanks of all of our community to Rachel for her kindness, generosity and buoyant spirit. We’re excited for her and for all that comes next in her journey. Blessings of grace and peace to you Rachel!