Why you want to know Kathy Webb Kordsmeier:
Kathy Webb Kordsmeier founded what is now called Beacon of Hope Ministry for the bereaved at St. Joseph Church in Conway in 2004. After years of working as a licensed psychological examiner, a series of losses and changes in her life led her to fulfill God’s call of ministry to the bereaved and sick. She became a chaplain, working at Hospice Home Care in Little Rock until her retirement in 2015, and counsels the grieving as coordinator of Beacon of Hope. She is also a Eucharistic minister to the sick, an adorer for perpetual adoration, lector, member of Walking with Purpose Women’s Bible Study and a member of the bilingual choir.
Parish: St. Joseph Church
Family: two sons, Micah, 31, and Matthew, 34
Arkansas Catholic’s theme this year is “The Truth will set you free.” What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
Psalm 139, verses 13-14; it says, “You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works!” To me it’s the basic truth and knowledge of God’s everlasting love for me … he knew me before I was knit in my mother’s womb and that inspires me. And it inspires me to share it with others who I know need to hear it, especially those that are hurting in any way at all.
What do you enjoy about working with the bereaved?
As a chaplain, working with the bereaved and also Eucharistic ministry to the sick, I think I could say the same thing for each one of those — I think I would have to say it is the privilege really of being able to share someone’s journey, and let’s say difficult time in their lives generally speaking. To give them a sense of hope and I hope more than anything that they experience through the ministry God’s love and mercy in their lives. That’s what I want to convey more than anything — how much God loves them.
What has been a big loss in your life and how did you cope?
Probably the most profound loss in my life was my divorce (in 1988) … That’s really when I sought the counseling I really needed and that counselor was really the one who inspired me to pursue the bereavement (ministry).
What has God revealed through working with people in difficult situations?
He is a God of mercy before anything else. Even before the Year of Mercy that was always my favorite. When I am reading the Scripture, I’m always looking for that word mercy, underlining that word every time I see that.
How is taking Communion to the sick spiritually fulfilling?
It’s bringing the sacramental presence of God to them. The other thing that’s kind of happened to me over the last couple years is growing in that mystery of the Eucharist and what it is … I started reading more about the Eucharist and certainly that drew me closer and to the point where I’m wanting to go to daily Mass as much as I can … It’s like falling in love with Jesus in the Eucharist.
How grateful are you to God for changing your path in life?
I wrote a poem (which says in part), “From fabric torn and faded, his hands sewing with love and mercy, I, reflecting on his grace, see my life in his handiwork.” … I used the imagery of a tapestry when writing it. I can’t think of a greater gift than to know that God has had his hand in every aspect of my life and that also he has shown me that. And just to be aware of that and be able to share that with other people to inspire them to look back at their own lives.
What are some of your hobbies?
I spend a lot of time reading; I love to read historical fiction, memoirs, things that are inspiring. Writing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing … focusing mainly on stories of my family origin and their ancestors; Bowling, going to the senior center for fitness classes, just being with friends. My life is full.
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