By Associate Angela Anno
Ever since she was a young child, Associate Cheryl Roy wanted to be a policeman and for several years, she was one. She loved caring for people, keeping them safe and working with children through the DARE program. It was her dream come true. But all of that changed on July 29, 1990, when she was seriously injured while pursuing a criminal in a stolen car. She suffered six broken ribs, a torn rotator cuff, and multiple other injuries. Instead of celebrating her dad’s birthday that evening, she was in the emergency room. After three years of surgeries and procedures Cheryl was still not physically able to do her job in the same way again and she retired in 1993.
Letting go of her job was a major loss for Cheryl and she found herself deep in depression, overeating, and struggling to get out of bed some days. The one thing she made herself do was go to church each week where S. Claire Foken “saved my life.” She invited her to a prayer meeting, listened to her pain, and later invited her to an Associates’ meeting where she felt at home. S. Lucien Marie Davis walked with her in the process of becoming an Associate and was always there for her when she was having a hard time.
Though she has had more than 50 surgeries since her initial injury and very often is in severe pain, Cheryl always tries to keep a smile on her face. She recalled that once when she was working in a mini mart, a woman came in, looking very dejected, and bought three bottles of wine. Cheryl smiled at her but sensed that the woman needed something more and she gave her a hug. The next day, the woman came back and told Cheryl that she had “saved my life.” She had planned to kill herself by taking pills and drinking the wine. “But when you, a perfect stranger, smiled at me and hugged me, I couldn’t do it,” she told Cheryl. Years later when Cheryl was shopping the salesperson at the store recognized her and hugged her. It was the woman from the mini mart. God’s hand was there bringing them together.
There have been ups and downs over the years. Cheryl took care of her father until he died, and her mother died last September. She’s finding a new life for herself, enjoying her great-nieces, playing weekly trivia with a group called the Know Nothings, and serving as a liturgical minister at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral (Cincinnati). This year Cheryl celebrates her 25th anniversary as an Associate in Mission of the Sisters of Charity.
Praying for others, especially the Sisters and Associates, is her primary ministry as she waits for God to show her the next right step.