Peter Zonsius, affectionately known as “Uncle Pete,” thought about becoming a priest. But God had other plans.
After returning from World War II, Uncle Pete married and raised a family, first at St. Hilary Parish and then later at St. John Brebeuf Parish. In his spare time, he began a life-long ministry of service. He made daily trips across the Chicago area, delivering coats, food, and other human essentials. The spirit with which he served was infectious. He soon began inspiring others who joined him in his charitable acts.
Uncle Pete saw his ministry of service as helping to build the kin-dom of God: “You look at your hands and say, ‘What can I do with my hands?’….They help you do the work of God,” he shared in an interview with the Chicago Tribune before he passed away in 2012.
His spirit lives on in what has become known as “Uncle Pete’s Ministries.” His niece, our own Sister Judith Zonsius, helps run the administrative part of the ministry while hundreds of volunteers carry out numerous forms of service—from delivering infant goods for newborns to sack suppers for families in need (12,000 suppers delivered in 2014 alone!).
In August of this year, thanks to the generosity of two anonymous donors, Uncle Pete's Ministries was able to purchase a new delivery van. This new one replaced the 2002 model that had 127,000 miles on it due to thousands of sack suppers and other goods delivered to families in need.
The Paluch Family Foundation recognized Uncle Pete’s Ministries on October 7, 2015 with their annual Gift of Service Award. Sister Judith, pictured above at the podium, accepted the award on behalf of all who serve in the spirit of Uncle Pete.
If you would like to get involved in Uncle Pete’s Ministries or make a donation, contact Sister Judith Zonsius at her email here.