Miriam Mahan, co-founder and the original executive director of Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, died Nov. 27 at the age of 72. Mahan was remembered as a visionary leader, who served as a warrior for the poor. Her passion for helping people was fostered at a young age helping those in need with her father in Cuba. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 and continued her work in the community. In high school, she founded the “14 Club” with a group of friends to mirror the 14 Works of Mercy. The club would visit patients with chronic mental illness at a hospital in St. Louis.
Her service in the community continued into adulthood when Miriam would welcome the poor into her home, feed them and give them a place to stay. She was one of seven leaders chosen to raise funds for a new parish, Sts. Joachim and Ann in St. Charles. Of the funds raised, 10 percent would be designated for human rights, which was close to Miriam’s heart. The group raised $5,000, and 10 percent was the seed money needed to start an agency to help the poor in St. Charles County. Miriam, along with Father Robert Leibrecht and three volunteers, took the $500 and Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service was born. The agency had its start in 1981 feeding and counseling the poor from volunteers’ kitchen tables, cars and garages. In 1982, Miriam gathered 180 volunteers to help families affected by the flood to find safe shelter and food. Over the last 39 years, the agency has continued to improve its services, providing more in-depth assistance across St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties.
As part of a mission to serve others during the Christmas season every year, Fr. Bob’s Outreach gives away thousands of Christmas baskets and numerous shoe and clothing certificates. The operation has little administration costs, with 97% of the donations going directly to the recipients who receive canned goods, grocery certificates, produce and more. Msgr. Robert J. Gettinger, known to most as “Father Bob” has been ministering to the needs of the poor for more than 50 years. Contributions are welcomed all year round. Monetary donations to be put toward a basket, shoes or a clothing certificate may be made online at bit.ly/2Vm8hS5 or sent to Father’s Bob’s Outreach, 1371 Hamilton Ave., St. Louis, MO 63112. For information, call (314) 385-1934.
Christmas Mass times
Considering COVID-19 safety restrictions limiting the number of people at Mass, Catholics of the archdiocese are encouraged to consider attending Masses on Christmas Day or later on Christmas Eve instead of the usually more crowded early Christmas Eve Masses. Due to the pandemic, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski granted permission for Christmas Vigil Masses to begin no earlier than 3 p.m. on Dec. 24, rather than the prescribed 4 p.m. This is an exception due to the pandemic and is an attempt to accommodate as many of the faithful as possible.
An Advent prayer service reflecting upon how the Incarnation guides the faithful in the work of racial justice will be held from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, via Zoom. Mercy Conference and Retreat Center and the Office of Racial Harmony for the Archdiocese of St. Louis are sponsoring the virtual prayer service. Father William Dotson, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in St. Charles, will give the reflection. It is free to attend. To register, visit bit.ly/2KZJL7o. Advance registration required by noon on Friday, Dec. 11.
New executive director for Good Shepherd
Good Shepherd Children & Family Services announced the appointment of Kathy Fowler as executive director, effective Dec. 1. The board of directors conducted a nationwide search. Fowlerstarted with Good Shepherd in 2005 as a case manager and therapist before rising to a senior leadership role. She briefly left to work with another nonprofit before returning to what she says “feels like home.” Good Shepherd is “where I fit and belong, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work alongside our amazing team,” said Fowler. “The services we provide are crucial, especially in these challenging times. It is an honor to connect children with families, support youth as they navigate the foster care system, and help parents who are struggling.” Good Shepherd has been serving the St. Louis region since 1831 and is a part of the Catholic Charities Federation in St. Louis. Their mission, to connect children with families and keep families connected, is achieved through adoption services, pregnancy and parenting support, a maternity shelter, and foster care services. In 2019, Good Shepherd served 3,400 children and families throughout the St. Louis region, many with an annual household income of less than $10,000. The organization is expanding into other parts of Missouri.
The Esquiline changes sponsorship
Benedictine, a faith-based provider of senior care and living services in the Midwest, and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate announced that the planned acquisition of The Esquiline by Benedictine will become effective Jan. 1. The Esquiline is a life plan community for seniors founded and sponsored by The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois. The Oblates sought an organization that shared their Catholic mission and values and would provide for growth and sustainability, facilitate access to capital, provide proven leadership in senior care, and commit to the continuation of their ministry. The Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery will be the facility’s Catholic sponsor. The Esquiline includes 119 independent living units, 30 assisted living units and 57 nursing facility units.
The Trevisano Teddy Bear Christmas Land to benefit St. Patrick Center continues nightly throughout the holidays from 5-11 p.m. at 9211 Laurel Hill Drive in Crestwood. The Trevisano family displays thousands of lights, teddy bears, animations and Christmas music. Instead of collecting donations to pay their electric bill, for 17 years they have chosen to collect for St. Patrick Center, a Catholic Charities agency assisting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This year, the Trevisano’s light display will be featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.”
They ran anyway
St. Patrick Center couldn’t host an in-person Veteran’s Day race, so it transitioned to a virtual event. This year, 770 participants raced in the 5th Annual Veterans Day 5K Run/Walk presented by Keeley Companies from Nov. 7 to Nov. 21. Participants raised more than $112,000 to support St. Patrick Center’s efforts to assist veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness. Next year’s event is set for Saturday, Nov. 6.