Retired deacon gives a lifetime of service

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -- Pastoral Care Week is a time to acknowledge the gifts and service of those who provide spiritual guidance for others.

Some pastors felt the call at an early age, while others more or less fell into the position.

Virginia Luger isn't your typical Episcopalian deacon. She began teaching school on the Standing Rock Reservation in the 1940s, where she met her husband, had three children and adopted another. She was pressed into service when all the pastors were out of town, someone in the hospital needed a visit and she was the only one with a phone number.

"So I asked her, I said, 'What do I do?' And she said you could read some psalms and, you know, just do prayers like you always do with people. So that's what I did. I felt like a fish out of water. But after that incident, I thought, if I'm being called or pushed into this role, I'd better learn how to do it. I'd better know how to do it. I need some help. So, then I did. I started to be a deacon," she said.

They spent more than 40 years in Fort Yates in North Dakota, and for much of that time, she operated a motel. Even after moving to Mandan, N.D., she continued visiting people in the hospital, even those from other denominations.

"I would consider her a social butterfly. She knows everybody. She knows their family. We have 56 residents here. She knows everybody," said Tonie Lagadinski of the Primrose Retirement Community.

Though long retired and widowed, Virginia has taken her turn leading Bible study at Primrose. And she still makes occasional trips back to Fort Yates.

Virginia has been living at Primrose in Bismarck for the past four years.

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