♦ Sisters of the Precious Blood were among the dozens of vendors at the annual Fair Trade sale Nov. 30 at Bergamo Center in Dayton, one of the largest Catholic fair trade sales in the United States.
The Sisters staffed two tables of hand-crafted merchandise from Guatemala and Mexico. The sale of items from Guatemala, which were made primarily by Mayan women, benefitted Holy Mary of the Most Precious Blood School in Guatemala. The items included colorful purses, bookmarks magnets and knickknacks. On an adjoining table, a wide variety of jewelry and crafts, including those from child artisans, from Mexico were being offered. Proceeds from that sale benefitted The Corner Project in Malinalco, Mexico.
About $250 was raised for each institution. This is the third year Precious Blood Sisters have participated in the Fair Trade Sale, said Sister Marita Beumer. “It helps spread the mission of the Sisters of the Precious Blood,” she added.
The fair trade sale, now in its ninth year, offers handcrafted and other items at prices that ensure a just profit for the artisans. The fair was started by a faith group at St. Albert the Great Parish in Kettering.
♦ The Purcell Marian High School Cavalier Newsletter recently reprinted part of a Sharing & Caring story about the 1950 Regina High School class reunion held last June at Salem Heights. The newsletter is distributed to alumni of several former Cincinnati high schools including Purcell, Regina and St. Mary.
♦ Families in Elkhorn City, Ky., will have a brighter Christmas thanks to families from an elementary school more than 260 miles away.
Students at Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School in Liberty Township, Ohio, collected bags of gently-used clothes for St. Joseph the Worker Mission in Elkhorn City. The clothes were distributed through the mission, said Precious Blood Sister Margie Zureick, pastoral associate at St. Joseph the Worker.
It was a case of one Precious Blood Sister supporting another in mission.
Sister Anne Schulz, principal at Mother Teresa, was cleaning out her closet and found some clothing that could be used by someone else. She thought of Sister Margie, who works with the poor in the Appalachian mountains in far southeastern Kentucky. Sister Anne put a notice in her school newsletter for additional clothing donations and school families responded.
Margie visited the school to collect the clothes just before Thanksgiving.
“We ended up with a whole van full of the clothes,” Sister Margie said. “It was really nice clothing. There were some nice shoes in there.”
The next day a family of four adults and nine children came to the mission looking for clothes. They found something for each of the kids and one of the adults found a jacket that he needs in the colder weather in the Mother Teresa donation.
It’s an example of how simple donations can have a greater impact, and how Precious Blood Spirituality is expressed.
♦ Sisters of the Precious Blood on June 5 hosted a liturgy and farewell dinner for Father Bill O’Donnell, former pastor at Precious Blood Parish in Trotwood and a close friend of the Sisters. He was recently appointed pastor at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in Chicago.
Father O’Donnell was a familiar figure at Salem Heights celebrating Mass in the Salem Heights Chapel, visiting with Sisters and eating meals in the Salem Heights dining room.
“The Sisters are very caring. They are very supportive,” he said. “That’s really a wonderful, wonderful gift that we share. That has been a spiritually and emotional enriching thing for me, and I think for many of them, too.
When Father Bill became pastor of Precious Blood Parish 12 years ago he identified main constituencies in the parish and naturally looked across the street to Salem Heights. In the Sisters of the Precious Blood he saw a key asset. He also understood the value of collaboration, and that entities can’t accomplish things on their own.
“That’s what established the relationship with the Sisters about inviting them into the parish and them inviting the people of the parish in,” he said. “It’s been an absolute blessing for everybody involved.”
Partnerships between Precious Blood Parish, the Sisters and other church organizations have helped revitalize the Trotwood and the area around northwest Dayton. When Precious Blood Parish built a new church about 12 years ago for example, it was built on Salem Avenue so people would see it.
“It’s very clear that our neighborhood is deteriorating and has many challenges to face as it moves forward,” Father O’Donnell said. “I’ve always been proud of the fact that the Sisters and Precious Blood and other religious groups in this area have been the ones to invest in this area. Businesses haven’t invested, they’ve left. The religious communities have stepped up to the plate, put money in their buildings and made a commitment that they’re staying.”
As Father O’Donnell leaves Dayton, he’s pleased with the impact the partnerships have made in the community.
“We are truly a Christian presence that makes a difference out here on the north side of Dayton,” he said. “The Sisters come from a history of being rooted and active in ministry. I think the parish and other ways in which we’ve come together have given the Sisters lots of ways in which they can be contributing to the community and the faith out here.”
♦ Sister Kathleen Kelly was puzzled when she was encouraged to attend the Tender Mercies annual meeting last October – and she was shocked when she was given the first Sister Kathleen Kelly Award at the meeting.
The award recognizes Sister Kathleen’s 25 years of service to Tender Mercies, a Cincinnati agency that provides housing, resources and outreach to homeless who are mentally ill. The award will be given to an employee or volunteer who meets three of the four following Tender Mercies criteria: community partner, neighborhood partner, employee of the year or volunteer of the year.
Sister Kathleen began working for Tender Mercies in 1987 and spent much of her career there as a human services coordinator. She retired about five years ago and has worked as a full-time volunteer since. She normally volunteers in a building housing 12 women, helping them with appointments, transportation and other needs.
The award embodies Sister Kathleen’s commitment to the agency, said Laura Kohus, development manager for the Tender Mercies. It also sets a high standard for future recipients of the award.