Caretaker Bios


Pat McGinnis

Assistant to the Farm Dog, Vehicles, Social Resource Coordinator

Hi, I’m Pat. My sister Goose (current farm dog) started working here in March whilst I was finishing up school for the semester. I judiciously finished my online classes, stayed on as a summer servant, and looked forward to returning to college for my junior year. God threw me a tinse of a curveball, I know, sounds a lot unlike him (just kidding, see: Book of Job, story of Abraham, entire development of Israel) and started to plant seeds of a more lifegiving year away from college. Through a long process of discernment this past summer, I found that the Holy Spirit was calling me to become a caretaker and take a year off school. That means Goose and I will be staying! I continue to feel God’s guidance and affirmation of this path as I involve myself more heavily with the community through home repair and flood relief. I am more than excited to serve as a home repair site leader and social resource coordinator this year and build on the skills and interests the farm has already helped to curate.   

Molly Sutter

Catechetical Coordinator, Garden Team, Animal Friend

On a Friday in June of 2015, my first week at the farm as a high school volunteer, I wrote in my journal that while leaving was an important part of my journey, I was reluctant to do so because I felt that “the farm is my home.” Knowing that I’d be back, I returned to my familial home in Narberth, Pennsylvania, to finish my senior year at Merion Mercy Academy. I came back the Bethlehem Farm a Summer Servant in 2017, 2018, and 2019, taking delight in planting onions and finding joy dancing in the rain.
I continued my education at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Education and Psychology. As I prayed for post-grad guidance in anticipation of my 2020 graduation, I felt God whisper “go home.” He was not calling me to move back to Pennsylvania, but to return to Bethlehem Farm as a Caretaker. As I embrace this new relationship to the farm, I am eager to co-create in the garden, participate in community renewal, respond to Appalachia’s beauty through art, and embrace community living. Most of all, though, I am excited to welcome others home.

Tori Llorens

Garden Team, Social Media and Website Manager

Hi there! My name is Tori Llorens, and I come to the Farm all the way from Los Angeles, CA. In the Summer of 2019 I graduated from Notre Dame where I was a Great Books major in the Program of Liberal Studies and completed a minor in Sustainability. If I have learned anything in my 23 years of life, it is that building relationships with others, God, and the community of species we share Earth with is the only way to be truly human. I look forward to the flood of information from the minds of those around me and the from the numerous books on the shelves. I am stoked to work in this community and experience the beauty which only this part of Appalachia provides. I am blessed to dedicate this step in my life to serving others and living intentionally through my actions, thoughts, and conversations. My goal is that my time at the Farm provides me with lifelong friendships, skills, and values which carry into the rest of my life.

Gemma Stanton

Home Repair Project Assistant, Sustainability Team, Asst. Office Manager

Hello! My name is Gemma and I originally come from Milwaukee, Wisconsin but spent the past four years in South Bend, Indiana studying Civil Engineering, Resiliency and Sustainability, and Catholic Social Tradition. I participated in several service-learning programs throughout college, including a volunteer week at Nazareth Farm, which taught me about the two feet of love in action: charity and justice. A passion for social and environmental justice paired with a desire to encounter others in community inspired me to align my spiritual beliefs with my everyday work. I am excited to engage this inspiration at Bethlehem Farm by helping out as a home repair site leader, project assistant and sustainability coordinator, and embracing whatever other adventures come my way. I also love learning about local Appalachian culture through the natural beauty and folk music. In my free time, I like to run, eat, hike, talk about concrete and bridges, and play fiddle and ukulele.

Steve Rassa

Volunteer Coordinator, Community Outreach, Sustainability Team

I began as a full-time volunteer Caretaker at Bethlehem Farm on November 1, 2018. After a two-year period of discerning a life of service, I was led to Bethlehem Farm by the Holy Spirit, although still not clear on my mission or purpose at the Farm. How could 20+ years in corporate supply chain be useful at the Farm? From the first day at Bethlehem Farm I felt welcomed and at peace, knowing that God’s purpose for me would be revealed, even if quite slowly. I am finding that my life experiences have enabled me to embrace the four cornerstones of community, prayer, simplicity, and service. The Farm continues to be a source of personal and spiritual growth, enhancing my health physically, mentally, and spiritually. Every day I receive much more than I give and continue to be excited about what each new day will provide and reveal. I have found good and holy spiritual soil at Bethlehem Farm, nourishing my relationship with God.

Joseph Reilly

Hiring Coordinator,
Storehouse Manager

Hello Everybody! I’ve been excited to learn with my hands instead of a pencil in my new life as a professional volunteer now that I’ve retired from a 17-year stint as a professional learner. Bethlehem Farm has been picking away at the back of my brain since 2010 when I first heard of its existence from my youth minister. A series of conflictual events precluded my arrival until early summer 2015 on a college week with my home parish. I distinctly remember rounding the corner of the old garden tool shed and experiencing the simplicity and the beauty of Our Lady of the Bathtub for the first time. At that moment everything about the Farm clicked for me. I may not have known all the details about the place, but I knew I would have to be spending more than just a week here. After a week of memorable conversations, worksites, chores, and reviews of the day, I found myself disappointed that I could not experience the entirety of the Farm that summer. But I knew I would be back. As a Summer Servant in 2017, I learned more about community living and was reminded of the beauty and joy I had found here two years prior. I also learned that the Farm wasn’t yet done with me. I began the Caretaker application process that October and accepted the offer to join the community in April, 2018. The wild ride has only gotten better since then.

Raine Nimmer

House Manager, Beekeeper, Local Food Liaison

I was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin…goah Pack. During the last ten years of my life I have worked as a custom goldsmith, a professional cook and gained my bachelor’s at UW-Stout. Simply put, I applied to be a Caretaker because I was in search of my vocation and I had nothing to lose. My search thus far has led me to the desire to serve. I have been looking for adventure, a simple lifestyle, learning from great people, a better understanding and deepening of my faith, sustainable practices, cooking, and gardening. Bethlehem Farm encompasses all of these desires and so much more.

In May of 2018 it was a whirlwind jumping into the middle of the busiest group week season but sometimes that’s the best way to learn. As the main cook I’m in heaven with all the beautiful vegetables, fruits, and herbs available from our garden and from our local community. As the co-beeper with Colleen, the complex bee colony continues to blow my mind. As the Local Food Liaison, I am enjoying conversing with the farmers and learning where our food is coming from. As a worksite leader it is a joy working with the local community and improving my construction skills. As a member of the church choir at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Ronceverte, I have gained a deeper sense of belonging. When I have free time, I enjoy the intensity of biking in these beautiful mountains and playing piano. I’m relieved that this first whirlwind has passed but I am also grateful for the experience because my life has been enriched by it.

Will Fair

Project Director

 

 

 

Isaiah Fitts Apprentice Excavator Driver

I arrived at the Bethlehem Farm community on September 22, 2013, and have been charming everyone since. I specialize in playing with trucks, making bread, and using the food processor. My parents, Eric and Colleen, think I’m pretty great.

 

Miriam Fitts
Junior Chef,  Farm Helper

Hi, I’m Miriam. I have lived at Bethlehem Farm my whole life. I love reading, exploring, and biking. I sometimes draw in my free time. I love making new friends on group weeks and when people visit. (written by Miriam)

Clare Fitts

Farm Comedian

I was born at the Farm during community night (but at my own house), on October 18, 2016. I love to move and explore and make people laugh.

Colleen Fitts
Co-House Manager,
Facilities Maintenance Team Leader,
Development Officer

My husband Eric and I have been living at Bethlehem Farm since May 2007. I went to college at Loyola University Chicago, then spent two years working at Nazareth Farm (Bethlehem Farm’s sister farm) as the Project Coordinator. Eric and I got married in 2005, moved to Morgantown, WV, and I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University. I love working with my hands, whether it’s working on the farm vehicles, framing walls, or creating unique quilts. Some of my favorite Farm activities are tending the honeybees, canning and preserving food, and learning about growing fruit on the Farm. In the meantime, I love raising our kids on the farm, trying to live authentically, and continuously growing from the experiences we have and the people we meet here.

Eric Fitts
Director,
Gardener

I grew up in Wauwatosa, WI, graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1999 with a degree in biology and was involved in the Encounter and Search retreats, as well as service trips to Nazareth Farm, Guatemala, and inner-city Chicago. After college, I volunteered and worked at Nazareth Farm in Doddridge County, WV, from 1999-2002, and worked as the mentor of the Mother Jones House Christian service community at Wheeling Jesuit from 2003-2005, where I also studied theology. I married my lovely wife Colleen in 2005 and we both attended West Virginia University, where I earned a Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Nonprofit Management in May 2007. I enjoy working in the garden, running, hiking and stargazing.