By Katie Drinkuth, Communications summer intern
Debbie Garland is the Southeast Regional Associate Representative for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She currently resides in Hernando County, Florida, on the West coast, in an area called Spring Hill. It is just about 40 minutes north of Tampa.
Debbie first became acquainted with the Sisters of Charity through S. Mary Loyola Mathia, who was in charge of the Associates at St. Francis Cabrini Church in Spring Hill. After suffering a personal tragedy, Debbie attended the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and joined the Catholic Church. She then felt compelled to become an Associate of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 2011.
As a Regional Representative, Debbie says she lives out the mission of the Sisters of Charity, “through my faith in God, reliance on the Holy Spirit, love of my Church and my fellow parishioners, and willingness to help wherever I can fill a need.”
Living at a distance from the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, Debbie stays connected to the Community, through the congregation’s website and various Facebook pages. Every two months, she attends a Zoom meeting with the other Regional Representatives, and Director of Associates Chanin Wilson, Sue DiTullio, administrative assistant, and S. Louise Lears, leadership liaison. Also, once a year Debbie travels to the Motherhouse for Fall Congregation Days. Last year, she had the opportunity to participate in the Associate Pilgrimage to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland, with Sisters and Associates, to learn more about the life of Sisters of Charity Founder, Elizabeth Ann Seton.
For the past 15 years, Debbie has been a full-time real estate agent. She is also currently the chairman of the Educational Committee for Hernando County Association of Realtors. In the past, she has been asked to volunteer as the chairman or co-chairman for many other committees for the local Board of Realtors.
Debbie’s favorite part of being an Associate is, “the fellowship and love of the other Associates when we meet in our group and pray together. Also, to humbly think of being part of the wonderful legacy of the brave self-sacrificing women who started the Sisters of Charity with Mother Elizabeth Seton.”
In her spare time, Debbie collects gently used clothing for the Dawn Center in Hernando County, which helps abused women and children. Her hobbies include making fleece dolls, quilts, wooden flower boxes, bird houses, and shelving. She also loves gardening, kayaking, and fishing.