In honor of National Catholic Sisters’ week we continue our series highlighting the work of individual Daughters of Charity. The text below comes from an article that appeared in the St. Louis Globe Democrat in April, 1983.
“Looking for Christ in Street People”
It is hard to pull the wool over the aging but clear eyes of Sister Christina Keethers, D.C.
When an elderly woman living alone in a cluttered apartment in Soulard joyfully tells her the sunny fantasy that she had a job offer in California the sister knows better. She knows better when the drunks come to the hall at St. Vincent’s Church for a free meal and try to fake sobriety. She’s heard all the stories, the hard luck tales, and con jobs. The sister knows the score.
For many of the poor, elderly and sick living in the Soulard and La Salle Park area on the city’s Near South Side, Sister Christina’s soft voice carries the clout of authority.
At the age of 82, the sister can walk a much younger man to shame. She has the slightly stooped gait and all the resiliency of a sherpa. For the last 20 years Sister Christina, one of St. Vincent’s street sisters, has worked with the hardest of the hard luck cases. She has helped the mentally handicapped, the elderly, the sick and crippled, the despondent, and always, always the impoverished. She has stared with unflinching eyes at the unseemly; by her own choice she prefers to walk on the dark side of the street.
As might be expected, the sister doesn’t like to talk about herself. She would much prefer attention be focused on “all the others” in her order, who have followed their founder’s directives, often at great risk to their lives.
In an age when it’s wise to look the other way, not to stick your neck out, not to get involved, she follows a decidedly different beat.