BUTLER, N.J. — The friars of St. Anthony Church, where John Alderson, OFM, is pastor, presented the Francis Medal to Secular Franciscan Gert Blauvelt on April 17 at a liturgy attended by several guest friars. They included Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, and Gene Pistacchio, OFM, of Boston, as well as Jude Murphy, OFM, Patrick Fereday, OFM, and Bernard Creighton, OFM.
Blauvelt is widely-known to Province friars, befriending many over the years through her visits with elderly friary residents, assistance with doctor appointments, and attendance at celebratory Masses, professions and ordinations.
“Gert probably knows more friars than many of us friars know ourselves,” saidJohn Leonard, OFM, in giving her the medal.
The former member of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J, is a frequent visitor to the elderly friars at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., where she spends hours talking to nursing home residents and brightening their days. She is described by St. Anthony staff members as a “hugger,” readily offering affection to anyone who needs it.
In addition to being a Eucharistic minister and Columbiette — a branch of the Knights of Columbus, Blauvelt is a regular visitor to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, often driving friars to appointments. She also occasionally visits the St. Francis Inn soup kitchen in Philadelphia to help cook and clean, and bring supplies and donations. While at St. Mary’s, she helped start an AIDS ministry at a local nursing home.
“I think Gert’s spirit of Catholic Christian devotion and her commitment to service needs little elaboration for those who know her well,” said John Leonard.
Described by John as good sport, Blauvelt has a hearty Franciscan sense of humor, often complimented publicly during Mass for singing “on key” in the choir. “Needless to say, Gert takes it in stride and laughs heartily,” said John.
Gene, shown in photo, and Michael got to know Blauvelt when they were stationed at St. Mary’s in the 1980s.