St. Louis

Pockets of Peace

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

On Friday, Sept. 15, the city of St. Louis erupted in protests after a judge acquitted a white, former St. Louis police officer of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black man in 2011.

While most of the protests were peaceful by day, once darkness fell, some demonstrators resorted to violence and destruction of property in some city and inner-ring suburban neighborhoods. On Saturday, the city block where I live had its annual block party, and it was a scene of calm, neighborliness, and fun on a warm September evening.

Portals to the Possible

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

Fairy gardens became a cottage industry a few years ago. Fairy doors are popping up all over my Shaw Neighborhood of south St. Louis, the latest trend to hit the community.

A local mom started the neighborhood fairy doors as a way to get kids outside and engaged with their imaginations. The idea has taken off, and a neighborhood list cites every fairy door, and its sponsor.

The creativity in constructing these doors engages both adults and kids; even childless households feature doors tucked away in front yards,

Why I Study Women Religious

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

I have been studying Catholic Sisters since I began teaching in the late 1980s at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.

I started teaching the theology of the vows that Sisters, or women religious, make as they progress through their formation. I realized my students needed a companion class on the history of religious life in the United States to provide the context and background for that theology.

My students didn’t understand the history of the role of women religious in the broader Church. Initially, I scrambled to find suitable articles because no text was yet available.

Our Gifts Join Others as One

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

The lovely, ornate altar at my parish, St. Vincent De Paul church in St. Louis, is decked with groceries.

20161205_093415_burst01They are offerings for the parish’s Christmas program that provides food and gifts for 360 seniors and 320 families who have registered to participate.

From mid-November to mid-December, parishioners contribute cooking oil, canned tuna and meats, laundry detergent, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti sauce, cereal and baking goods for each Sunday’s offertory procession. The food is later arranged on the altar to remind us the following week that people in our city need our loving concern and care.

Settling an Anxious Heart

By Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC

I am Sister Janis Yaekel, ASC and I have pancreatic cancer. In fact, I have lived with cancer since 2012. I hope to share in my blog my journey and my reflections on the presence of God in my life. It is my hope that those who read my entries will find strength for their own journeys.

Cooler weather has finally arrived in southern Illinois, and with it, more activity at the bird feeders that has transfixed my cats, Gracie and Tinker.

I can almost hear them thinking,

How Can We Respond to the Violence?

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

As autumn leaves swirl around my city’s streets, I ponder eddies of fear, anger, racism, discontent and unrest churning in our hearts and neighborhoods.

Recently, in my community, a young St. Louis County police officer responding to a disturbance was shot and killed by a teenager. We watched his dignified and moving funeral procession that closed major highways, and felt the grief and pride that overwhelmed both family and first responders.

This scene is played out across the country, most recently in this week’s shooting deaths of two Iowa police officers.

The Music of Church Bells

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My parish church of St. Vincent de Paul, established in 1844 and the second-oldest church in St. Louis, recently rang its bells for the first time in several years.

Since the supports for the heavy bells were in dire need of repair, we were advised not to ring the bells until they and the church tower could be fixed.

So the bells were silent for too many days.

When we celebrated the feast of St. Vincent on Sept. 25, the parish members gathered on the church steps to hear the bells’ music again.

Divine Presence

By Sister Regina Siegfreid, ASC

My parish, St. Vincent De Paul in St. Louis, recently began offering Eucharistic adoration on Friday afternoons.

A city parish, St. Vincent sponsors a number of social ministries for our homeless and poor neighbors.
On a recent Friday afternoon, as I made my way from the parish hall and offices to the church, one of our homeless guests asked me for some clothing that he desperately needed for a new job he would begin on Monday. I asked him to stay for our evening meals program and I’d have his clothing.

Pokemon Go Players Miss the Real Hot Spots

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

The day after a ferocious storm slammed into St. Louis, I walked to nearby Tower Grove Park to see for myself the heartbreaking damage to trees.

Downed trees and branches, although common after severe storms, are always disturbing. Earth, trees, park workers, and walkers seemed to feel the pain over the loss of these old, stately giants.

Off in the distance, Pokemon Go players who had gathered around a hotspot at the park’s music stand seemed oblivious to a huge branch that had fallen close to them.

A Precious Encounter with Jesus and Miss Nadine

By Sister Maria Hughes, ASC

Where have I adored the Blood of Christ today?

As an Adorer, I try to ponder this question each day. Yesterday, I met the precious blood of Jesus in a woman named Miss Nadine.

Sister Barbara Hudock, ASC, and I joined many others in greeting the Nuns on the Bus at Southside Housing Coalition Midtown Center in St. Louis. As we gathered, we met brothers and sisters from all parts of society. Painted on the side of the bus were the words, “reweaving the fabric of society.”