There is only one thing more heart warming than visiting with Mike Dockry was–writing or speaking a testimonial to honor him.
Our loving God called Mike Dockry home on December 16, 2020; Mike was 81 years “young.” And “young” is more than a cutesy substitute for “old”; his vibrancy, energy, and upbeat personality was more typical of a 20 something than an 80 something.
I was blessed to have Mike as a friend for the last 15 years, and there are many directions that I could have taken with this post–him talking to foxes on our tennis court, my consistent volunteer driver to and fro our local airport, laughing about stories from his religious novitiate, his extreme gratitude for vegetables from our garden, his dreaming of post tennis custard even before the first serve was made…. But, considering the focus of “It’s All in God’s Plan,” I must focus on the many hours that he opened his heart, mind, and soul to the guests, volunteers, and staff at St. John’s Shelter, Green Bay.
We meet all types when we volunteer–some put their nose to the grindstone and simply “get the job done” while roofing a house for Habitat; others mumble under their breath or roll their eyes when a hungry diner asks for a second serving the first time through the serving line; and some look the other in the the eye, smile, and show the most genuine concern with an expression that can be read, “God loves you and so do I” that your heart just melts away. Mike exemplified volunteer number three. He was the real deal for everyone at St. John’s. Whether he was breaking bread or conversing with a guest during his service on the chaplain team; volunteering on retreats with guests at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality; cheering up a weary or stressed staff member; or transporting and stacking mattresses with another volunteer, his “can do” and “all for one, one for all” approach to life cheered and sustained all of us.
His affability, kindness, and love for others was so contagious; he was so inviting and hospitable. When you met him for first time, you were put at immediate ease. And before you knew it, he was inviting you to any of the activities that he cared so deeply about, such as his ministry at St. John’s, prayer at St. Norbert Abbey, or friend making while playing tennis. Mike, you touched so many and we miss you immensely. I am truly convinced that Pope Francis had you in mind when he wrote in The Joy of the Gospel (#85) “…One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’….”
The sourpuss population decreases every time anyone follows the example of Mike Dockry.