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Jeanette Albersheim: A valued volunteer

Jeanette Albersheim

Jeannette (McGrath) Albersheim’s weekly 15-mile pilgrimage from her Silver Spring, Md., home to the Washington National Cathedral isn’t for worship service. Albersheim, BA political science ’39, volunteers at the cathedral—and has for 29 years.

Attracting 700,000 visitors annually, the cathedral (officially the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul) is the second largest in the United States and the sixth largest in the world. Albersheim’s bond with the building began in 1941 when it was only partly constructed.

“I studied the pipe organ there,” she recalls, noting that she had to practice

on a smaller organ because women weren’t allowed to play the cathedral’s main organ.

When she returned to Washington, D.C., 26 years later, she could see the cathedral’s tower from her bedroom. After retiring from the Federal Trade Commission, where she established the agency’s consumer education program, she began volunteering at the cathedral. Albersheim led cathedral tours for 24 years and has greeted observation gallery visitors for the past five.

“The cathedral is an awesome building that inspires me to seek things larger than myself,” Albersheim says. “There isn’t anywhere else I go to feel that spiritual connection or fulfillment.”

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