Associate Mary Finks was among the first group to make their commitments as lay associates, back in 1999, and 10 years later she made her commitment, definitive. She’s never looked back.

Associate Mary Finks

As a registered nurse and cantor at St. Patrick Parish in Kankakee, she brings her Viatorian mission to all she encounters in her many roles.

Fr. George Auger, CSV, first asked Mary to consider becoming an associate and she still values his invitation.

“I’ve always been a spiritual person, but (the invitation) gave me a reason to look beyond myself and be more well read. It called me into a deeper spiritual life and more prayer,” she says. “Plus, becoming an associate surrounded me with other spiritual people who felt as passionately as I did about the Catholic faith.”

Associate Mary Finks serving as cantor at the 2012 Provincial Assembly

Mary recently retired after serving Hospice of Kankakee Valley for the last 15 years, most recently as director of clinical services. She started in 2002 as a registered nurse with the agency but eventually moved primarily to seeing patients at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Manteno.

“That’s where my role as a Viatorian came in,” Mary says. “Many of these veterans had no families visiting them. I found myself walking in the footsteps of Fr. Querbes, ministering to those accounted of little importance.”

For more than 30 years, or all of the years she and her husband, John, have lived in Kankakee and attended St. Pat’s, she has served her parish as a cantor.

(L-R) Associates Mary Finks, Marilyn Mulcahy and John Ohlendorf were among the first group of associates

“A cantor sings the word of God, and that’s special to me,” Mary says, “because I get to profess the word of God through my singing.”

Mary also shares her love of music at nearly every Provincial Assembly, where she leads the community in song, with Associate Susan Bourgeois, who accompanies her on keyboard.

“No matter what type of liturgy she’s at,” says Fr. John Peeters, CSV, pastor, “her leadership as a cantor makes it more meaningful.”