Living Our Faith

The Living Our Faith section highlights Catholics and Catholic organizations who are living the Catholic faith in their daily lives through their prayer, works, and generous service to the community.

Battling sex trafficking | Women religious join fight against multi-billion trade, St. Louis ranks among top 20 trafficking cities

St. Louis has become a prime area for sex trafficking, primarily because of the growing online marketplace for the sex trade as well as easy access to interstate highways and its position as a hub for large-scale conventions and sporting activities. The Department of Justice has identified St. Louis among the top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country.

At 15 years old, she lived in a loving household, homeschooled by her family. Young and curious, she decided to study abroad. With her parents, she did some research and found a program. When she arrived at her destination, she quickly discovered she had been lured into a sex trafficking ring. Her father eventually flew overseas to rescue her.

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Work brigade, choir providing inmates a second chance

Inmates at the Lincoln County Jail are helping to renovate the new offices of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Services in Troy, Mo. The men are also a part of the Second Chance Choir which has been performing around the area. Johnnie Nixon, left, and Scott Pratt were covered in drywall spackle dust as they were building a new handicap accessible bathroom on the premises.

"How we doing, brother?" the supervisor asked the carpenter, who had been busy finishing work on the drywall in a bathroom area of the building.

"Great. We're putting the doorway in," came the reply.

The walls were looking good, sturdy as can be, a perfect fit. Electrical work has been completed. The storefront in a 130-year-old building along Main Street in Troy is being transformed into a satellite office for Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, the largest comprehensive social support agency in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties.

Second Chance Choir: Prayerful, powerful

Captain David Curtis, jail division commander at the Lincoln County jail, directed song during a jam session portion of the Second Chance Choir’s evening practice. During this portion of rehersal, everyone takes turns singing solos, passing along until everyone has sung.

In a jail workout room, heartfelt songs are belted out as the inmate choir members sway to the music.

It's prayerful. It's powerful.

The Second Chance Choir at the Lincoln County Jail has offers from near and far to appear at churches and for community groups. They've gone to nearly 40 places so far. Because of logistics and cost of transportation, they mostly stick to Lincoln and St. Charles Counties.

A VOCATION TO FAMILY

Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org
Manal Kassab shared a moment with her husband, Father Akiki, as the two reminisced about their long friendship which led to their marriage.

As a newly ordained priest, Father Wissam Akiki hasn't been assigned to his first parish yet, but already he's been preparing for another big assignment: He'll be filling in at a parish in Cincinnati during Holy Week, perhaps the most important week in the life of the Church.

Already, his plate has been filled. In addition to assisting at his temporary assignment, St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis, he's been preparing his homilies for Holy Week and tending to another major part of his life -- his wife, Manal, and 8-year-old daughter, Perla.

Little Sisters of the Poor | From 1839 to today

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The Little Sisters of the Poor stay grounded in the knowledge that they are carrying on the work of their foundress.

In 1839 St. Jeanne Jugan, a poor 47-year old working woman in post-revolutionary France, shared a small apartment with a friend. They took in an infirm, blind, elderly neighbor who had been left alone when her sister was dying in the hospital. Soon they began caring for other elderly, and girls from the neighborhood joined in providing care.

Super Identity

St. Simon the Apostle third-grader Alaina Milsark, right, was voted by her teacher as exemplifing a model of service. Each month, St. Simon recognizes selected students from each grade for various virtue-based traits, as part of a regular and deliberate effort to infuse Catholic identity into the life of the school.

It seemed like a typical day at St. Simon School in south St. Louis County when students gathered for an all-school Mass. After all, it's something that the school does on a weekly basis. But on this day, at the end of Mass, about two dozen students received an award for their service to others.

One of the recipients, Ellie Wobbe, regularly goes with her family to help at several nursing homes. They assist with activities and just visit with residents. The experience has opened her eyes to the idea that service is more than just helping someone in need.

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