Not many people would leave their executive job to ride a trike and serve coffee to the homeless. But that’s exactly what Sister Libby Fernandez said God called her to do after leading Loaves & Fishes for more than a decade. Last year, she started Mercy Pedalers, a bike ministry based on the Works of Mercy. More than 40 volunteers pedal through the streets of Sacramento connecting with homeless men and women.
You may have read about Sister Libby and Mercy Pedalers in the Sacramento Bee. But what is not so well known is that Sister Libby was instrumental in garnering early support for Joshua’s House from city leaders. She introduced Marlene to incoming Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Councilman Jeff Harris, and County Supervisor Phil Serna. These key relationships culminated in last week’s vote by the Sacramento City Council to approve the conditional use permit for Joshua’s House, clearing the last hurdle before construction could begin.
As the long-time executive director of Loaves & Fishes, Sister Libby embraced Joshua’s House from the start. Its mission was similar to that of Loaves & Fishes and to the vows she took when she entered her ministry. Sister Libby often quotes the Gospel of Matthew, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”
Last Tuesday, May 15, 2018, we went on a ride along with with video camera in hand, biking from Midtown K street to the lower end of the K Street Mall. We saw first hand this former administrator’s skills as a biker, barista, and spiritual worker. Her grace and compassion radiated everywhere we went. We met Rhonda, Benny, Randy, Alfredo, and Greta. They all lit up upon seeing the person in the Mercy Pedalers blue vest approaching from a distance.
The morning was filled with several tender moments as Sister Libby ministered to alcoholics and the mentally ill. The way Sister Libby greeted them, asked questions, offered advice, and served coffee and energy bars was a blessed sight. Our journey lasted an hour and a half until she ran out of coffee. She would go out two more times that day.