Hope in the Lord — Sister Visitor choice pantry seeks to serve our neighbors

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

A few weeks ago, I visited Sister Visitor choice pantry at 23rd and Market Street. The Sister Visitor Center has been there since the late 1960s. It began as women religious expanded their ministry in West Louisville to reach out to families in need and specifically those in need of vital essentials, such as food and living supplies.

In the litany of what has been some of the best-kept secrets in Louisville, the Sister Visitor Center is high on the list. The recent death of the legendary Paul Hornung and his fondness for supporting Sister Visitor helped put it on the map recently. There is an attractive collage hung in the pantry that highlights his history and athletic accomplishments.

Actually, the Sister Visitor Center and the other programs of Catholic Charities of Louisville are becoming better known, as Catholic Charities launches a communication campaign, entitled “You have no idea …” This campaign imparts real-life stories of people who have been helped through Catholic Charities.

Sister Visitor began a new venture that brings even greater dignity to the person who turns to the church for help, specifically to get adequate food. Clients now arrive at Sister Visitor in the same way they would enter a supermarket, and a volunteer accompanies them to assist in the process of choosing just the right food and supplies.

I was there long enough one early morning to observe three clients as volunteers helped them choose food in an atmosphere that was filled with heightened dignity. Each client told me that choosing their own food increases the likelihood that they will be nourished well and not waste food. It is a wonderful concept.

Recently Bishop Shelton Fabre, who chairs the U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, led an educational webinar about the church’s teachings on racism. More than 140 participants from throughout the Archdiocese participated in this event, representing about one-third of the 110 archdiocesan parishes.

For a link to this presentation, contact our Archdiocesan Communications Office, comm@archlou.org or 502-585-3291. Bishop Fabre’s presentations are well worth viewing.

In his presentation, Bishop Fabre highlighted the need to interact with real people and the need for true dialogue among people of all races. That morning at the Sister Visitor Center, I encountered persons from a variety of backgrounds. One was an African American woman who was born and raised in Louisville, another was a Caucasian man who left Flaget High School to enter the army five decades ago and is now unemployed, and the third was an African American gentleman who more recently moved to Louisville. In all cases, I had the opportunity to enter into dialogue with them, understand their plight and acknowledge the dignity that is theirs.

At the end of this March 2021, we find ourselves at the crossroads of major spiritual events.

The feast of Saint Joseph last Friday allowed us to participate in our local launch of the Year of Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph calmly, though in the shadows, watched Jesus grow and helped him every step of the way.

Today, March 25, allows us to celebrate the very ancient feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. We recall the first moment of Jesus’ conception in the womb of our Blessed Mother, as the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of God.
This Saturday evening, the Solemnity of Palm Sunday ushers in the holiest week of the year.

As we journey through these holy days, we pray for the renewal of our inner spiritual life and the opportunity to be sent on mission to serve others. Catholic Charities of Louisville is still looking for volunteers for the Sister Visitor Center and for other programs. Why not consider helping?

2 Comments

  • Cecile Chandler says:

    I read a short article about Sister Visitor Center needing socks and underwear for children in the April 9 edition (I think) but I can’t find it now. I want to recommend it to our outreach committee. Please help me get the details. Thanks

    • The Record says:

      We don’t recall a recent announcement in The Record specifically about children’s socks and underwear, but it would fit under the needs listed in this recent announcement from the Bulletin Board section:
      Sister Visitor Center is collecting donations of new summer clothing for the families it serves. Items will be collected from May 17 to 21.
      Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the center cannot accept used clothing. Organizers noted in an announcement that the center would like to “bless neighbors in need with new items that affirm their value and dignity.”
      Helpers may bring clothing to the center at 2235 W. Market Street. Pickup may also be arranged at a parish or school. Email Shaniece at svc@archlou.org for more information.

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