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Administers to ministers; the changing role of women in the parish

Worcester County’s Nancy Norberg is a mom of four daughters.

Like most women who choose to work outside the home, her primary vocation in life for years was raising her children.

But as they grew, as in many situations, it began to look like, from a financial perspective, a job outside the home would be the most relevant way for her to help her family.

But Nancy didn’t work at just any job.

Good community woman that she was, she began, ten years ago, her role as administrator of her family’s home away from home; St. Denis Parish in Douglas, where she has worked along side her pastor, Father Bill Cormier.

“Over the years I have become more involved in all aspects of parish life,” said Nancy in a brief interview. “From music ministry, to the religious education program to the food pantry… I was there helping out.”

Nancy began to note that her responsibilities were changing and growing.

“Because I was present in so many aspects of the parish, people would sometimes ask me questions that I didn’t feel equipped to answer on a theological basis,” she said.

So she decided it was time to go back to school to learn more about her faith.

Moreover, she noted that Fr. Cormier and she shared a mutual concern for the future of the parish that they love. With Fr. Bill nearing retirement age, they agreed that, in order to assure that St. Denis would not suffer from a drastic overhaul of new authority down the road, it was critical for her to have the necessary credentials to guide any newcomer who might take over as pastor in years to come.

Now Nancy is in her third year of study in the Masters of Pastoral Ministry program at Anna Maria College in Paxton.

In a recent Arts and Skills for Ministry class taught by Michael Boover, D. Min, she was one of about ten adults including Fr. Bill, who is also attending the class.

With the formal education to back the practical pastoral need, Nancy’s role in the parish is evolving away from administering toward true Ministering.


Ideas or comments? Contact Patricia at


  • Michael 5 years ago

    Thanks, Patricia. Your writing about local women's ministry is enlightening and an inspiration!

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