Queen Esther Frazier loves her Catholic faith and isn’t afraid to express that.
Frazier has been a member of her parish more than 50 years, first when it was St. Engelbert and since a merger with Most Holy Rosary Parish in 1994, becoming St. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist Parish.
With seven children who attended the parish school, it was natural that she’d get involved in the parish. But that involvement didn’t end with school-related activities.
Frazier served on the parish council, sung with the choir, helped with various fundraisers and joined the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary. She also was a volunteer at Our Lady’s Inn, an emergency shelter for pregnant women and their children. Serving on the nonprofit organization’s board, she visited with mothers there for more than 20 years.
Frazier and her husband, Leon, live across the alley from their parish.
What makes the parish stand out, besides being so close? “Just the people, the members of the church and the pastor,” Frazier said.
A St. Louis native, her husband is a cradle Catholic, and she took classes in the faith and joined the Church after they married. They’ve been married 64 years.
Now 83, she said times have changed, with computers, cell phones and more. She’s seen changes in the Church as well, such as the departure of the School Sisters of Notre Dame from the parish school, which now is St. Louis Catholic Academy.
A highlight of her activities in the Church was going to Rome with the North Area Choir and the St. Charles Lwanga Center, singing at St. Peter’s Basilica. She received tickets to see Pope John Paul II at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport and at the convention center in Downtown St. Louis. “That was a treat, I’m telling you,” she said.
The St. Charles Lwanga Center, located on the grounds of her parish, is a treasured resource, Frazier said. She attends the Scripture classes and “I help out wherever I’m needed,” she said.
The Scripture class is especially noteworthy, she added: “I was there Thursday, and we were really on a high.”
The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, part of the largest historically African-American Catholic lay organization in the United States and named for a Spanish priest who ministered to African slaves, is another favorite of hers. “I’ve been in that organization for years. It involved the whole family. Some of my children grew up in that organization and it really inspired them and helped them.”
She did some cooking in the parish rectory at one time and appreciated the time then-Auxiliary Bishop J. Terry Steib, who later became the bishop of Memphis, spent while assigned in residence there. “He’s a wonderful person, very friendly and outgoing,” she said.
Frazier said “my faith means everything to me. I’ve enjoyed the life of being Catholic.”