St. Louis

Helping God Answer Prayers of Human Trafficking Victims

By Sister Kate Reid, ASC

The World Day Against Trafficking on Monday has passed, but trafficking knows no calendar, and the need for vigilance continues. These days, I’m thinking a lot about clients I helped climb out of the human hell of trafficking.

This summer, I retired after 15 years of the most gratifying ministry I’ve ever had. I worked for the Immigration Law Program of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri in St. Louis, which provides free legal representation for poor people. I represented hundreds of immigrants who needed help applying for immigration benefits.

Good, Goodness, and Grace

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

Two small and little-known organizations in St. Louis have given me pause to reflect on how good grows from goodness. 

The Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Program, housed in an Episcopal church’s parish hall basement, provides English teachers for immigrant and refugee women as they learn to navigate American culture and the English language.

The women who staff the program are competent, compassionate, caring, and concerned about their students and teachers.  Each teacher is matched with a student and provided with the trademark teacher’s bag full of notebooks,

Surprises in Spring

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

Since the Pokémon craze of a couple of summers ago has evaporated, the latest fad in St. Louis is the appearance of solid, sturdy, bright lime-colored bicycles.

LimeBike is a trademarked bike-sharing company that supplies dockless bicycle-sharing systems in St. Louis and other cities. Customers use a mobile app to reserve a bike.

A few weeks after its launch date in the city, LimeBikes are everywhere. Tower Grove Park in my neighborhood is a temporary parking spot for many bikes that dot the entrances,

Earth Deserves Good People

St. Louis University students and Sister Regina, wearing a sweatshirt saying “Never underestimate an
old woman who graduated from St. Louis University.”

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My St. Louis neighborhood block held its annual alley cleanup on Earth Day weekend, a fitting time to care for our small plot on the planet. Before we began, I stood on the sidewalk talking to my African-American neighbor.

A guy on a bike sped by and yelled an ugly, racial epithet, loudly enough to be unmistakable. For good measure,

Laundry Love and Dignity

Sister Regina helps mend clothing

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

While most of us take for granted the convenience of a washer and dryer, it’s actually a luxury inaccessible to many of our brothers and sisters.

A dozen years ago, a movement called Laundry Love started when a homeless man in Ventura, Calif., said having clean clothes would help people see him as a human being.

Since then, communities, schools, churches and other groups have been lifting people’s dignity by helping them get their clothes cleaned at partner laundromats.

Hope in the Ashes

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

On Saturday, I retrieved last year’s palm fronds from behind “The Lady with a Light,” a picture that a friend gave me many years ago.

Then I gathered an aluminum pie pan and some matches to take to the back porch where I burned the palm branches, hoping the wind would cooperate and not blow the ashes, pie tin and matches away.

While the Soulard neighborhood, St. Louis’ own French Quarter, hosted a raucous Mardi Gras parade and party, I shivered on the back porch, thinking about spring and what to plant in the back yard.

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.