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Honoring Sister Lucille Zerr’s legacy

By Jim Keusenkothen, pastoral associate at St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral Parish
Dedication plaque for Sister Lucille M. Zerr

In early 2005, a small group of parishioners from St. Mary Cathedral and Old St. Vincent’s Church, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, began meeting to discuss the idea of a food pantry. Sister Lucille Zerr joined the committee in June 2005. It quickly became one of her most treasured activities because she had such a warm place in her heart for the poor and those who were in need in our community.

In 2006, Catholic Social Ministries Food Pantry opened its doors in a small house on Spanish Street, across from Old St. Vincent’s Church. The ministry grew and by 2010, moved into a larger building on Sprigg Street across from St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral. The food pantry now serves over 640 families, including 1,800 residents of Cape Girardeau County, each month.

Dedication of Catholic Social Ministries Food Pantry

Sister Lucille worked tirelessly as a member of the board of directors and coordinated all the volunteers. Whenever the pantry was open, she was there serving clients. Sister Lucille left many handwritten notes to volunteers and parishioners, always signing them with, “A grateful friend, Sister Lucille.” She continued to oversee all pantry operations until her retirement in July 2013.

When our new building was completed in October 2022, we wanted to honor Sister Lucille’s legacy at the food pantry. It was decided to keep the name of the ministry as Catholic Social Ministries Food Pantry, but to name the building in her honor. To help keep her memory alive, we also installed a large outdoor plaque with Sister Lucille’s image on it. As the plaque states, she was an inspiration to all who knew her.

Read more about Sister Lucille’s life and legacy.


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