Sister Sharon Offers a Helping Hand
Sister Sharon Pollnow has been ministering in Ohio for more than half of her life. With a Master’s in Education, she was initially a teacher and principal and later became a certified spiritual director, offering workshops and retreats. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Social Work, became a licensed clinical social worker, and taught at Lourdes University in the Psychology and Education Departments.
With the blessing of CSA, Sharon collaborated with Sister Rachel Nijakowski, OSF, PhD, in opening a Counseling Center in 1993. Together they chose the name “Sophia Center” to reflect the feminine wisdom of God. Sophia Center is a faith-based counseling center focused on holistic healing, open to persons of all faiths and backgrounds. It provides counseling for sheltered abused women and children and also initiated “Step Up,” a violence intervention program for adolescents and their families.
The pandemic compelled Sharon and Sophia’s staff to quickly learn new technology skills including, professional encrypted “Zooming” with clients and transferring to digitized record systems. Sharon counsels 25-30 clients a week using teletherapy and eagerly awaits the day when staff and clients will be able to return to in-person counseling at Sophia.
As one of 13 therapists at Sophia Center, Sharon’s clinical practice includes assessments, diagnoses, counseling, psychotherapy, and cognitive therapy for depression/anxiety. She also counsels married couples looking for a faith-based counseling approach and is a grief and trauma specialist. This past year she has also been on-call 24/7 for any woman in a domestic abuse crisis in Sylvania.
Sharon is passionate about assisting clients through difficult times in their lives. Her ministry has been especially challenging this year as she journeyed with many through grief, loss, depression, anxiety, confusion, and fear. When she noticed her own “compassion fatigue,” Sharon turned to prayer, music, her spiritual director, and her sisters, family, friends.
“I miss the hugs terribly…I don’t know what I would do without prayer… One day what helped was I imagined all of CSA and the people across the world just reaching out and holding each other’s hands and getting through this pandemic together, with each other and the Divine.”