Sister retires after 13 years
by Paisley Boston
May 18, 2014 | 2416 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sister Donald Mary Lynch is hanging up her hat as executive director of St. Gabriel Mercy Center.

Lynch has instrumentally served as the executive director since 2001 but now she has decided to leave because she feels that it is time for the center to be under new leadership.

"I just feel that the center needs some new energy and under new direction. It has been a joy to work at the center and I am definitely going to miss it. As of now, I do not have plans after I leave," said Lynch.

She has been the Executive Director at St. Gabriel Mercy Center for 13 years.

Lynch is responsible for the overall management and administration of the center. She also works with the board of directors and the community. She has a bachelor of science in nursing and a master's degree in healthcare administration.

"I feel really bad that she is leaving but I know at some point you have to go home. At some point in life I know that you really need to take some time for yourself," said Chairperson for St. Gabriel Mercy Center DeVoyce Morris.

According to Morris, Lynch will be greatly missed because she is so passionate about the vitality of the center.

"She is such a great administrator. Sister is responsible for the center receiving a grant for renovations. The grant was almost $1 million," she said.

Lynch is very involved in the community of Mound Bayou.

She works with school officials, former and current city officials, partnering with the local AARP chapter, she also works the Taborian Project and she serves on Congressman Bennie Thompson's Military Advisory Board and other civic organizations.

Along with civic affiliations, Lynch regularly attends city council meetings, school board meetings and she attends church locally.

She has also been high instrumental in improving and promoting various programs at St. Gabriel Mercy Center such as Emergency Assistance, Parents as Teachers, Senior Outreach, Mercy Center Learning Lab, General Education Diploma, The Delta Boutique and St. Gabriel Closet.

"When you walk into the center, you see a lot of love. You don’t see staff or employees bitter or in disagreement. They are always smiling and helping each other and this is because of Sister's great leadership," she added.

Assistant Director Mavis Honorable said Lynch will not only be missed at the center, the city of Mound Bayou will miss her as well.

"I think Mound Bayou will miss her because she has been here so long and St. Gabriel is a prominent part of the community. There are a lot of good hearted people out there and Sister is one of them," she said.

"It has been a wonderful experience to have worked with Sister Donald Mary for the last three years. She is a great teacher and a great leader. I have learned a lot from her. It is because of her that I have had such a wide range of exposure in the Delta that I was not aware of," added Honorable.

Honorable said Lynch uncovered a world to her that she never knew about.

"I knew of certain organizations within the county but she helped me to gain knowledge about so many different nonprofits. Sister has helped me to broaden my horizons and grasp an understanding as to what the Mississippi Delta is all about," she continued.

Morris said Lynch has not only been a great leader but she is also a delightful friend.

"I can take her out of the center director mode when I have something personal that I need to discuss with her. I am very comfortable with discussing things with her; to me, she is like a confidante," she added.

Not only is Lynch actively involved with the center, she remains active in the community.

"Sister is so innovative and she has a lot of connections. She joins organizations that benefit humanity and she is not just a name on a list, she actually gets out into the community and attends meetings. She pops up everywhere and she attends various churches; she is very visible within the community," said Morris.

Behind every great person, there are even greater deeds.

Honorable said she recalls a time when she knew that Lynch was a beautiful person.

"I remember when one of our volunteer groups was here from Portland, Maine and we went to their forums. This was the first time that I had gone to one of their forums. She took me with her. During the forum, the group shared stories about some of their wonderful experiences that they had while working in the Delta," she added.

"I injured myself during the forum and the group was so nice to me. I had to get stiches and Sister assisted me through the entire process. This was one of my most memorable experiences with Sister and it was a heartfelt experience," continued Honorable.

Morris said the center is in search of a new director.

"It is going to be very hard to find someone to fill her shoes. Sister is going to work with whom ever we decide to hire. She will basically show them the ropes to ensure that the center will be in good hands," she added.

The center hosted a gala in honor of Lynch, Sister Rita Killian, Sister Cleo Heinrich, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Benner and Dorothy Weeks.

Lynch is set to retire in June and she said the search for a new executive is narrowing down.

"We have been conducting interviews and the search has been going well. We plan to make a decision soon," said Lynch.

The center is in search of a dynamic, visionary leader for the position.

Applicants must have management experience and excellent human relation skills. 

The director coordinates and supervises all programs and activities, is responsible for reporting on funds to support the programs and is involved in community activities and committees.

"Although I plan to leave in June, I will assist the new director by ensuring that he or she is familiar with the interworking of the center," added Lynch.