St. Louis

Seeds Far and Near  

By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC

My upstairs neighbor, a horticulturist at Missouri Botanical Garden, recently returned from a research trip to Kyrgyzstan where his team helped local scientists collect fruit and nut tree seeds for national seed banks including one in Kyrgyzstan.

He said some of the trees are among some of the oldest on the planet. Kyrgyzstan, located on part of the iconic Silk Road, is bordered by China to the east and Uzbekistan to the west, a location I can barely imagine.  How exotic the trip, the research, the land, the terrain,

Farewell, Rudy

By Sister Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC

We learned last week that the talented St. Louis-area sculptor Rudolph “Rudy” Torrini died Wednesday, Sept. 5. He was 95 and died from complications of dementia.

Mr. Torrini, the son of an Italian immigrant mold maker and a silent movie pianist, was renowned for his public sculptures that grace the St. Louis area. His works include the likeness of a soccer player, a police officer, a boy and his dog, Italian immigrants, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and a 9-year-old child who was slain in the crossfire of a gunfight.

Sister Bertha (Mary Austin) Fischer: Congregation Leader, Translator, Singer Dies

Sister Bertha (Mary Austin) Fischer, ASC, died Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in St. Louis. She was 83 years old and had been a professed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for 61 years.

Sister Bertha was the fifth of 12 children of Joseph, Sr. and Elizabeth (Tebbe) Fischer from St. Rose, Illinois.

She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in French, minoring in other languages, that kick-started a lifelong interest and ministry in languages.

She taught French at St. Pius X High School in Festus,

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.