A Laywoman Steps Out in Front for Glenmary

Glenmary News

A Laywoman Steps Out in Front for Glenmary

After 18 years in the finance industry Linda Crisostomo took a leap of faith.

She was succeeding in her career, making good money and earning the respect of her peers. She traveled, played golf, even went to Las Vegas, but she felt restless and empty. She made several big changes, one of which was signing up for a three-year volunteer stint with a religious order. That move started her on the path to rural North Carolina where she now spreads the Gospel for Glenmary

“I was called to realize that my true source of sufficiency was of course, God,” Linda says. “After over 18 years in the finance industry, real estate, mortgage, all that, all that big money, I said goodbye to corporate America.”

Linda is a lay evangelizer whose first assignment is in Martin County, North Carolina.

Linda enjoyed her volunteer experience, and when she returned to the workforce she got a job at a Catholic retreat center in Los Angeles. She went back to school, attending the Franciscan School of Theology. She picked up a certification in spiritual direction along the way and lived in California, Arizona and Missouri.

An early retiree, Linda’s journey led her to discover the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program at the Glenmary Farm at Joppa Mountain, Tennessee. There she spent a year as a long-term volunteer, called a Mountain Manager. She was attracted to the program by the simple living and the opportunity to live in a tiny house (which are becoming popular everywhere). 

In November of last year, she accepted a Lay Evangelizer position with Glenmary.

What is a Lay Evangelizer?

Lay Evangelizers are new for Glenmary. They move to one of Glenmary’s mission areas and focus specifically on evangelizing the unchurched, the unaffiliated and non-Christians. They employ creative methods to reach people not currently part of any Christian community, to share the Gospel with them, and to invite them to consider joining the Catholic Church.

Linda is doing this work in Martin County, North Carolina, based in Williamston. That’s the site of Glenmary’s Holy Trinity Mission. 

Since starting in this role, she’s had conversations with patrons at the library, the local driver’s license bureau, and anywhere else she goes. It’s not about asking who’s Catholic and who’s not, but about building friendships and planting seeds. She also hands out blessed Our Lady of the Fields medals (patroness of Glenmary).

“I don’t define the job [when I meet people], instead I tell the story of how I came here,” Linda says. “I think there’s plenty of harvest, but I should remain faithful in my spiritual self-care. What I can offer to someone is an overflow of who I am. You become a channel.

“Lord, give me a soul who doesn’t know you,” she prays. “The Holy Spirit will always bring that soul.” 

—John Stegeman