CAPE MAY — On a Friday morning in June here at her apartment in Victorian Towers, Dolores Davis continues her routine.
“Let’s say a prayer for vocations,” she tells a certain visitor.
This simple but powerful act — along with the many letters, phone calls, and meals she has sent to seminarians and priests — is a clear demonstration of the role Davis has seen herself to have throughout these decades.
“This work was born in me,” she says.
“I admire the persistence of seminarians and priests. They mean so much to me — they’re an inspiration.”
Davis, 84, has felt a strong connection to clergy even since she was a young girl at Camden’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish.
“When I would go to church, I would talk to them all the time,” she explains.
It’s been these individuals who have helped Davis overcome various struggles over the years: the loss of her mother when she was 9 years old, an abusive relationship, and, more recently, the death of her daughter and granddaughter.
Davis has held many roles over the years, as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, RCA employee, supermarket cashier, and member of her parish’s altar and rosary society, but none can compare to what she considers her “mission,” in gratitude for the spiritual strength and comfort she has been given from priests and religious like Sister Mariangela, her junior high school teacher.
“I still write two letters a day, thanking them for their work,” she says proudly.
“I tell them to always abide in Christ, and remember the Blessed Mother.”
In between her time with her three great-grandchildren Elijah, Maria and Ava, her life’s work continues. She was pleased with Bishop Dennis Sullivan’s appointment of Father Adam Cichoski as new Director of Vocations.
“Father Adam’s a good choice,” she said.