Lucy Saunder’s visit to St. Louis

My visit to St. Louis was very beneficial to me as the new LCUSA President. To jump start my visit, I attended a Day of Recollection on Saturday with members of St. Vincent’s LOC. Sunday was a tour of St. Louis given by Steve and Mary Ann Morovitz. My accommodations were generously offered by the Daughters at their Olive Street House across from the Marillac Provincial offices.  I was able to get rides to and from the office from Ryan Carney, SVDP employee.

I visited with Maureen each day at the new SVDP Office on Jefferson Street.  The layout of the office Maureen put together is very welcoming and professional with the SVDP office staff cordial and ready to serve. The furniture donated by Steve and Mary Ann was very much appreciated and spoken about as I met SVDP personnel.

Maureen and I had the opportunity to go over files, records, data base information and ongoing daily tasks. We had the chance to obtain some Vincentian pictures from the Daughters archives to decorate the office. A sign for the door and a new printer will be ordered for the office. Personnel matters were also discussed and agreed upon. More info on that will come later.

Tuesday 9 AM I met with Bill Wittenberg of C.J. Thomas Co Insurance, which provides LCUSA insurance for Directors & Officers, Workers Comp and Theft to discuss coverage for office equipment and general liability.  A quote was given for $555 annually with Cincinnati Insurance Co. In the meantime Bill is checking to see if LCUSA packages all its insurance policies, there might be a lower overall cost. I will let the board know of the outcome of LCUSA’s insurance coverage and cost.

At 11 AM on Tuesday, I had the opportunity to spend the day at St. Vincent’s Parish with Mary Koenig and members of the Ladies of Charity serving in their food pantry and serving the evening dinner to those less fortunate. After dinner, Mary and I stayed to join and observe the group of ladies who attend the Let’s Start meetings held on Tuesday evenings. It was quite heart wrenching to hear their stories and struggles to free themselves of various addictions. Some were accompanied by their children who were given a parenting class by Sister Jackie. Other Tuesday evenings find various groups of LOC who tutor the children with their homework. I later found out that some of the St. Catherine Laboure LOC assist with this part of the program monthly. In fact St. Catherine Laboure parishioners were preparing and serving Tuesday’s evening meal. A couple of the St. Vincent’s ladies were available to sew for those less fortunate while they were being served their evening meal. For everyone who attended the 150 Anniversary celebrations in St. Louis, you know how active St. Vincent’s parish outreach program was in providing round-the-clock service to those in that area. Nothing has changed since then. Activities are ongoing throughout the day and night. Thanks to Mary’s husband, Larry, who provided transportation to Olive Street and Kathy Coco’s home for our trip to Perryville.

On Wednesday, Mary Ann and I visited with LCUSA’s bank rep regarding our checking account and later met with Ms. McAllister at the Institutional Income Investment offices where LCUSA maintains a Hager Investment Account.  It was good to put a name with a face after talking with both representatives on the phone. Returning to the office later in the afternoon, I was able to get my ride with Ryan back to Olive Street.

Thursday, Mary Ann and I traveled to the LOC Service Center (Caritas), about 30 minutes outside of St. Louis. Phyllis Makoswki, President, welcomed us with ten other ladies and their Sister Moderator Mary Ann Digenan. The building, which they own, was laid out with an array of clothing, furniture, etc. all displayed in a manner where everything was conveniently accessible and tagged. The basement housed their food pantry. All shelves stacked with food sorted in areas indicating USDA purchased or donated. Refrigerators were filled with chicken and other perishables. I always wondered why this location was named ‘LOC Service Center.’ I was told that it’s because they are a Service Center for those less fortunate and known by that name prior to LCUSA’s office being called the National Service Center.

Thursday evening, I met with the St. Catherine Laboure’s President Ann Maassen and LOC at Mary Ann’s home. It was a time to discuss their ministries and ideas on how they might designate a donation they had recently received. A couple of the ladies present had been members for less than two years. It was quite an enjoyable evening to listen to how they perceive the Ladies of Charity and their ministries.

Friday, Kathy Coco drove Mary and me to Perryville to meet the ladies there. We were greeted by their President, Donna Semsrott, and eight members. Their food pantry is housed in a three bedroom home which was once a convent. Pictures were taken throughout my visits and once you see the food stacked throughout this three bedroom home you will be as amazed as we were.  The ladies had scheduled an enjoyable lunch at the local restaurant (Tractor’s). Afterwards we went to see the thrift shop operated by the SVDP society and served by the ladies.

While in Perryville, we visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. On the grounds is the new residence for the CMs. An important CM residing there temporarily is Father Tom Croak, Mary Koenig’s brother. Having the opportunity to meet and visit with him was another highlight of the day. As Father Tom is anxious to get back to DePaul University, I ask that you remember him in your prayers as well as all those residing there.

Late Saturday morning I arrived at the airport for a two hour trip back to Maryland. I was very glad for the opportunity to visit St. Louis and engage with other LOC associations, as well as having the chance to see LCUSA’s new home office. A special thanks to Maureen for welcoming me and the Daughters who took such good care of me during my stay, as well as my tour guides, taxis, hostesses and companions.

I hope each one of you as board members experience the same welcoming feelings that I received as you reach out and personally visit associations in your regions and area. Contact me if there is anything LCUSA can do to assist you in planning visits with your local associations as a part of serving as a board member.  Keep in mind, Elena is always looking for pictures and articles on activities to better portray what LCUSA is all about in their relationships with others, especially developing open and ongoing relationships with our members.

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