Christine Marino is a supporter of St. Patrick Center, a Catholic Charities of St. Louis agency that provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and dignity to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. St. Patrick Center helps people with safe and affordable housing, sound mental and physical health, and employment and financial stability. She’s involved with the Young Friends, a group of young adults who support the mission of St. Patrick Center.
What’s your connection with St. Patrick Center?
I started going to some events, learning about them from my sister-in-law who’s now on the Board of Trustees of St. Patrick Center. I learned more about the agency and the services it provides, joined the Young Friends Board and eventually was co-chair for a year. I try to participate as much as I can.
What do you enjoy about it?
We do fundraising for the agency. Our largest event is the Irish party each year Downtown at Schlafly’s. One of the most meaningful things for me is the Women’s Night Program. Young Friends members try to volunteer there every couple months or so. We bring dinner and serve it to the clientele, about 20 women staying overnight at St. Patrick Center. It’s meaningful because you can learn their stories and interact with them. It’s a good reminder of why we do what we do. I’ve met a lot of great people through the agency and respect all the services they offer to the clients.
What else stands out about St. Patrick Center?
I’m from St. Louis and have lived here all my life. St. Patrick Center makes such an impact on the local level. I recommend a tour of the center. You’ll be amazed at all the offerings they have for clients. It’s a full-service agency seeking to end chronic homelessness in St. Louis. Last year, they did case management for more than 2,000 families. I have just such a deep appreciation of its impact on the community where I live.
How does your faith interact with your efforts?
I went to school at Visitation, my dad’s a deacon and my faith has been a big part of my upbringing. I appreciate that St. Patrick Center approaches clients with empathy, and it feels good to live out that charism that “If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life.” The Catholic community in St. Louis is a close-knit one and that translates at St. Patrick Center into looking out for others.
How else does your Catholicism impact you?
It’s a guiding principle — living your life with compassion and empathy.
Why is Visitation Academy important to you?
I loved my time here, and that’s why I came to work here. It’s a big part of my life. The community here is very supportive. In terms of an all-girls school, it’s very empowering. The things I learned here gave me the confidence to go out and help the greater community. My passion is to help with St. Patrick Center, and it and my work life tie in together closely.
POSITION: Alumnae relations and communications coordinator at Visitation Academy
VOLUNTEER: St. Patrick Center Young Friends Development Board (visit bit.ly/2wzt4EO)
PARISH: Ascension Parish in Chesterfield
EDUCATION: Visitation Academy and Miami University of Ohio, bachelor’s degree in marketing
FAVORITE SAINT: St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane Frances de Chantal, founders of the Sisters of the Visitation; St. Joan of Arc