For 37 years, the Bay Area Crisis Nursery has been Sister Ann Weltz’s life. She lives in the house next door. She didn’t have a personal telephone number. Anyone wanting to reach her called the nursery.
The Bay Area Crisis Nursery, which Sister Ann founded and has served as executive director, is the only emergency, 24-hour nursery in the Bay Area. Parents facing a crisis, or needing a respite, place their children temporarily at the Concord home, knowing they will be well cared for and loved — free of charge. That’s been the mission of the Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for four decades.
Her work has been recognized by local and state government — from which, by the way, she doesn’t accept funds — as well as recently by the Jefferson Awards, Contra Costa County Commission for Women and the Threads of Hope Visionary Award.
On Sept. 21, Sister Ann’s life changed. Two members of the nursery’s board of directors came to see her and tell her that on Sept. 24, an interim executive director would take her place.
“I was fired,” Sister Ann said, describing the meeting, which took her by surprise.
“We never said ‘fired,’” said Lynne Vuskovic, president of the nursery’s board of directors.
“We gave her the option to resign,” she said. “She rejected it.”
After its regular board meeting on Sept. 17, Vuskovic said, the board had another meeting at which the vote to change leadership was unanimous.
“Certain events precipitated us taking swift action,” Vuskovic said. She did not offer specific details on those events, other than that there was “no danger or big event” and “no children are in harm’s way.”
Sister Ann said she had asked for a reason for her dismissal. “They could not give me an example,” she said, in the meeting that lasted 40 minutes.
“It’s never just one thing,” Vuskovic said.
Sister Ann’s reaction — to not go gently — surprised the board. “We did not anticipate her reaction,” Vuskovic said. But the board held steadfast to its decision. “We as a board are charged with keeping the doors open and making sure children are cared for properly,” Vuskovic said.
The board, Vuskovic said, had been working on a succession plan for Sister Ann. “Our vision is for her to remain as an ambassador,” she said.
The offer would allow Sister Ann to keep in contact with the nursery, and, importantly, its donors. Individuals provide 75 percent of the nursery’s $1 million budget. Foundations provide the remainder.
Sister Ann has two milestones coming up in 2019: her 80th birthday and her 60th year as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The nursery board has offered to celebrate those milestones publicly.
“Why would I celebrate with people who took away 40 years of my life?” she asked.
Full story at The Catholic Voice.