Love, Olive

“Love, Olive,” Ensign, Mar. 1992, 61

“Love, Olive”

About eleven years ago, I moved to the San Jose, California, area. I had been divorced the year before my move and had “let go” of that wonderful iron rod that now helps me direct my life in the paths I should follow. For the first five years after my move, I didn’t outwardly acknowledge my membership in the Church.

Several years later, I moved to a new neighborhood. I began receiving monthly Relief Society messages in the mail, each one signed by Olive Fritz. These messages came each month like clockwork, often with a special handwritten message. Sister Fritz also sent cards for my birthday and other holidays. This went on for quite some time, and I marveled at the dedication of this Olive Fritz, whom I had never met.

Finally Sister Fritz and another woman came to my home during the Easter season. I was reluctant to let them in because I was still dealing with a lot of pain from my past experiences. However, when I saw that Sister Fritz was in her eighties and in poor health, I was touched by her diligent, saintlike visiting teaching. I invited them in.

I learned much from Sister Fritz, a convert. She had lived a life of service both in and out of the Church. When she was called to be in charge of visiting teaching, she was given two lists—one list of active sisters, the other of sisters who were not attending Church meetings. Sister Fritz was told that nothing was being done for the sisters on the second list but she was welcome to come up with any suggestions or ideas, and she did just that. Feeling that these sisters needed her love, possibly even more than the sisters who were already active, Sister Fritz proceeded to write individual monthly messages to each sister on the list. She also sent birthday cards and other holiday greetings and visited them on special holidays with treats she had baked.

The messages were neither lessons nor preachy notes. They were simply messages of friendship and love.

About twenty-five sisters received these monthly greetings from Sister Fritz. When she was asked how much time this took, she replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I just love doing it.”

I have been active in the Church for about a year now. I thank my Heavenly Father for a visiting teacher like Olive Fritz—a woman who reached out with love, friendship, and acceptance.

  • Rosemary Stevens Svetal is a member of the Cambrian Park Ward, San Jose California South Stake