vocations

Crying 'buckets of tears' | Little Sisters of the Poor withdrawing from St. Louis residence

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Patricia Stenger looked at five senior living facilities before she found the Little Sisters of the Poor. She knew their residence was place she wanted to call home.

Stenger, who moved into the Old North St. Louis residence in March, became tearful when she learned the sisters were withdrawing from their ministry in the Archdiocese of St. Louis after 147 years.

Little Sisters of the Poor announce they are departing from residence in St. Louis

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The Little Sisters of the Poor are withdrawing from their ministry of caring for the elderly poor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis after 147 years of service.

The sisters cited a decrease in sufficient vocations to effectively staff the residence in north St. Louis, in the spirit of the community's foundress St. Jeanne Jugan.

"We are eternally grateful for the support and love we received during our many years in St. Louis," said Mother Gonzague Castro, local superior. "We love the city nearly as much as we love the people we work with and care for."

Humor, holiness make Bishop Rice approachable to men discerning priesthood

Bishop Edward M. Rice held the Archbishop’s Cup, a trophy filled with candy that is presented to the winner of the Water Olympics, at Kenrick-Glennon Days, an annual camp at the seminary to introduce young men to priests and seminarians. As Bishop Rice begins his new role as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, seminarians and priests reflected on the impact he had on their vocation stories.

On occasion when Father Jim Theby gets a call from Bishop Edward M. Rice, the bishop will start the conversation something like this:

"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were in the chapel praying..."

Of course, his opening is meant in jest, but somehow Bishop Rice still drives home a message of the importance of prayer.

That balance of humor and holiness is what has made Bishop Rice so approachable over the years, said Father Theby, a longtime friend of the bishop's.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Encouraging and fostering minority vocations

Deacon Charles Allen

Just more than nine years ago, I was blessed to be ordained a deacon for the Archdiocese of St. Louis by then-Archbishop Raymond L. Burke.

Since that day -- the Feast of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, June 3, 2006 -- no other African-American has been ordained to the permanent diaconate in the archdiocese.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Vocation of marriage models Christ's love for the Church

By now, every Catholic -- and a whole bunch of non-Catholics -- are aware the Church faces a vocations crisis.

Yes, we need more women and men discerning a call to join the religious life and the priesthood. It's important that adults in the pews encourage such discernment as a legitimate, honorable and holy life choice for a young person. The future of the Church will look much different if that doesn't happen.

That isn't the vocation about which I'm talking right now. I'm thinking of an equally important vocation.

Carpentry skills lead to vocation call for seminarian

Weston Kenney | westonkenney@archstl.org | instagram: westonkenney

“I was brought up just having a small skill set of everything, whether it was welding, carpentry or farming,” said Kenrick-Glennon seminarian Dane Westhoff said. He has used his carpentry skills to assist the seminary, by building altars and helping with the remodel of Mary, Mother of the Word Chapel. Westhoff prepared to cut wood for a project at the seminary.

The makeover in Mary, Mother of the Word Chapel on the second floor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary started simply enough with a question of seminarian Dane Westhoff.

"Would that be out of your realm?"

"I'm pretty sure I could do it," he responded then.

"I used to be a carpenter; I knew just enough to be dangerous," Westhoff said recently, with a laugh. "I didn't technically do woodworking for a living, but I've worked with the tools."

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