To Serve, Rather Than Be Served
Origin of the Ladies of Charity:
The story begins with a tiny old woman named Anna. When she died in a Pittsburgh institution, she had not a friend in the world, and no one to mourn for her. Anna was as unimportant in man’s eyes as a human can be. The story goes on to say that a woman named Margaret O’Konski, who decided to stay after attending the last Mass, watched unbelievingly as the solitary funeral began. After Anna’s funeral in St. Bernard’s Church (Mt. Lebanon) Margaret was concerned that no one would whisper a prayer for Anna. She decided to approach the pastor to discuss a solution. She organized a group of women to attend the funerals of these unclaimed dead. This ministry was the birth of the Ladies of Charity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
St. Joseph Parish Ladies of Charity:
The ministry of the Ladies of Charity (LOC) here at St. Joseph reaches out to the sick and shut-ins of the parish. Each Lady of Charity is assigned one or more shut-ins. During the Christmas and Easter season, gifts are purchased through the parish and then delivered by the ladies. Birthday cards are also sent, and phone calls can be made.
The LOC also participate in the funerals of the parish. If they are able and their schedule allows, the ladies bring support and comfort to the bereaved family by participating in a wake prayer service at the funeral home, and attending the funeral liturgy.
On All Souls Day, the LOC participate in the annual 7:00PM All Souls Remembrance Mass as greeters, lectors, and candle bearers. Following the Mass, there is a social in which the LOC are responsible for set-up and clean-up.
Meetings and workshops occur in the Diocese in which the ladies can also participate if their schedule allows.
In order to become a full-fledged member of the LOC, one must work with their parish moderator for at least one year and have a sincere interest in becoming a member. An application must be filled out that is signed and approved by the pastor. Once the year of experience is completed, an investiture Mass is held at St. Paul Cathedral, followed by a luncheon.
Current Information on Diocesan Ladies of Charity:
The Diocese of Pittsburgh LOC is composed of women from 81 parishes, giving them an active membership of over 1,500 members.This structure, always changing to meet the needs of the times, has insured that the diocese has a strong and vibrant working and praying group of women committed to the service of the poor as taught to us by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac.
Each year, a nominating committee chosen from members on the Diocesan Executive Board searches among LOC groups throughout the Diocese to find interested and qualified ladies to fill open positions. The Diocesan Executive Board consists of Father Robert Boyle (Spiritual Advisor); Sister Rosemary Fleming (Sister of Charity-Sister Advisor); six elected officers; and various committees which include: Membership, Communication, Literacy, Spiritual, Nursing Home Network, Society for the Unclaimed Dead, and Junior Ladies of Charity.
It is truly a blessing to have such strong, caring, spiritual ladies who graciously give of their time, talent and treasure to serve our Heavenly Father and the people of God.
Please give some thought and prayer to this ministry. Maybe the Lord is calling YOU!
Please call the Parish Office for more information.
Thank you, and God Bless You.
Ladies of Charity ~ Bridging Hope, Service & Love