National Catholic Sisters Week: Billboard campaign shines light on sisters’ faith in St. Louis

Photo courtesy of St. Louis Catholic Sisters

You've more than likely seen one around town. A blank billboard with one simple message in black type:

"We have faith in you, St. Louis.

— St. Louis Catholic Sisters."

Fifteen religious communities who are part of the group St. Louis Catholic Sisters have placed two dozen billboards with this message around the St. Louis area. The campaign, which coincides with National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, is meant to instill pride in the community and a desire to work for its betterment, according to a press release.

"As Catholic Sisters, we believe in a God who works through us in surprising ways," said Sister Mary Flick, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. "The people of St. Louis have generous hearts. Through our celebrations and our struggles, we continue to see the good in each other and what is possible together. We believe in a future full of hope."

In 2015, there were 1,390 sisters living and serving in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, according to the Official Catholic Directory by P.J. Kenedy and Sons. They serve in dozens of ministries, including law, social services, nursing, parish ministry, education, immigration, medicine, art and music, administration and prayer and presence.

There are different types of congregations of Catholic Sisters in St. Louis, including consecrated religious and institutes, societies and individuals. To learn more about the communities in St. Louis, visit www.archstl.org/consecratedlife.

"More St. Louis area residents of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds have been served by sisters than many realize," said Belinda Davis, director of communications for the Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise. "Catholic Sisters may no longer teach in every parish school or care for patients at every Catholic hospital, but they are alive, well and still relevant."

National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration of women religious in the United States. The week includes events and stories of the lives of Catholic sisters. A website for the effort, www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org, includes a list of events around the country. (See related.) National Catholic Sisters Week is supported by a $3.3 million grant from the Conrad H. Hilton Foundation and is based at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. The week is held in conjunction with National Women's History Month. 

Events in St. Louis this week

• Sister Betty Brucker, FSM, Memorial Scholarship Presentation; 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at SSM Health DePaul Hospital, 12303 DePaul Drive in Bridgeton. The scholarship will benefit a woman in the community with limited resources and is studying health care. It is named in memory of the late Sister Betty Brucker and her commitment to health care and social services. See www.stlouisreview.com/TSf.

• 2016 Women's Leadership Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at Maria Center, 336 East Ripa Ave. in St. Louis. The luncheon brings women together to reflect on the integration of the spiritual and professional dimensions of life. Featured speaker is Anne-Marie Clarke, family court commissioner for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court. The event is free, but registration is required. Visit www.stlouisreview.com/TSw to register. 

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