Ladies of Charity quietly attend to work of serving others


Inside the spacious hall at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in south St. Louis, several women were busy sorting items and checking distribution plans for an annual Christmas gift-giving to residents of a nearby senior residence.

It's part of the Christmas program, the biggest operation of the year for the parish known for its ministry to poor and homeless people. But even on a typical weekday, members of the Ladies of Charity take part in a half-dozen or so other activities related to the parish outreach.

Never-give-up attitude prevails at Most Holy Trinity Academy

De Smet Jesuit High School sophomore Cameron Rodgers played one-on-one basketball with Most Holy Trinity eighth-grader Davion Ford. Cameron is part of the “Give Back” work- study program at Access Academies, in which graduates of the academies who are in high school or college return to provide assistance and mentoring to current students.

Cameron Rodgers is comfortable at De Smet Jesuit High School in Creve Coeur, where the sophomore excels in the classroom and on the football field and track.

That comfort level is matched or exceeded at Most Holy Trinity Academy in north St. Louis, where he serves as a tutor and assistant basketball coach. He's an effective leader, assisting the grade-schoolers with their studies and athletic skills.

Larger than life Christmas lights display is born out of appreciation for the simple things of Christmas

For 25 years, the Trevisano family has hosted a huge Christmas lights display at their home. For the past 13 years, they have accepted cash donations to benefit St. Patrick Center. Jay Trevisano displays 35,000 lights and more than 100 teddy bears at his Crestwood home.

Some of Jay Trevisano's fondest childhood Christmas memories include making ornaments with his six siblings and going Downtown to see Christmas lights, followed by a visit with Santa on the 13th floor of Famous-Barr.

The Trevisano family was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. When Trevisano's father was killed in the war — Jay Trevisano was 5 years old at the time — the family returned home to the United States, and they moved in with his mother's parents on the Hill.

Ex-offender faced homelessness until ministry lent help

Criminal Justice Ministry case manager, Doug Evans, and newly appointed executive director, Anthony D'Agostino, visited Robert at his South City apartment.  Robert has been in the program for six months, has a job and is ready to transition forward through the Release to Rent program. Evans meets with the men weekly and does inspections on their living situation, including making sure they have food in the refrigerator and a clean apartment.

Doug Evans, a case manager with the Release to Rent for Veterans Program, introduced program participant Robert Marshall to Anthony D'Agostino, and they shook hands.

D'Agostino took over earlier in July as the executive director of the Criminal Justice Ministry after Sister Carleen Reck's 17 years of leading the agency. The ministry, affiliated with the archdiocese and a recipient of funds from the Annual Catholic Appeal, is known for its success in reintegrating released inmates into society, especially through its housing programs that are combined with supportive case management.

Coats given to vets helped by St. Patrick Center

Clients of St. Patrick Center who have served in the military were given coats, gloves and hats at the center. William Adams served the Army in Germany. He left the center’s building to walk and find some food to eat, happy with his new warm coat on the first cold day of the season.

U.S. Army veteran William Adams was homeless for 15 years before a program at St. Patrick Center helped him get an apartment. He maintains his connection with St. Patrick Center, and on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, he received a new, insulated winter coat in a distribution to clients who are veterans.

Adams, who served in the Army from 1979-83, said he feels blessed to be a recipient of help from St. Patrick Center. "When you need a helping hand, they are there for you," he said.

From life on the streets to independence

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