Our Sister Pat Kelley, known as the ‘Mother Teresa of St. Louis’ was honored in her home City of St. Louis for taking the most vulnerable under her wing during the harsh cold and summer seasons. EnergyCare, founded by Sister Pat, celebrates her service to the community, especially low-income households, the elderly, disabled and children.
“Comfort isn’t the only consideration. It’s about people’s health and safety…Sister Pat’s goal lives on — to prevent vulnerable, elderly people from dying because they couldn’t afford the means to stay safe from the elements.”
Her many years of service created a legacy that continues to live on today thanks to many volunteers and people dedicated to the mission of EnergyCare. Read on for an article written by the St. Louis Review in memory and honor of our dear Sister Pat.
EnergyCare ‘angels’ a blessing to low-income clients
Article originally published in the St. Louis Review
By Joseph Kenny
Barry McIntyre sat in front of the window air conditioner, with the relief he felt evident in his smile.
“It’s going to be great tonight,” he said. “This is beautiful. It’s a blessing.”
The blessing was thanks to EnergyCare, a nonprofit agency that provides year-round energy-related services in St. Louis City and St. Louis County for low-income households, especially the elderly, disabled, chronically ill and young children.
McIntyre moved into the second floor of a two-unit, all-brick flat in south St. Louis a few days earlier and borrowed a fan that just circulated the hot air. He sat outside to catch a breeze before EnergyCare staff members Justine Collum and Jana Ngugi arrived with the air conditioner.
The temperature rose to 91 degrees that day, July 14. It reached 100 degrees just two days earlier and was forecast to hit 100 with high humidity again the next week. McIntyre, a retired theater assistant manager and retail worker, was surprised to see the quick response to a request through the Five Star Senior Center for help in keeping cool.
EnergyCare is celebrating the legacy of its founder, Sister Pat Kelley, CCVI, in 2017. She sought to provide services that help vulnerable people stay safe and warm in the cold St. Louis winters and cool in the brutally hot summers. This year would have been her 80th birthday. After she was murdered in her office in 1987, EnergyCare was led by her brother, Dennis Kelley, until his retirement in 2014.
On Sept. 28, 1987, Sister Pat was found murdered in her office. Called the “Mother Teresa of St. Louis” by Archbishop John L. May, she was remembered as a deeply compassionate, optimistic hard-worker.
Arletta Williams worked with Sister Pat as a member of Immaculate Conception-St. Henry Parish, as an outreach worker at Christ Lutheran Church and as a neighborhood advocate. Sister Pat “wanted to help everyone,” Williams said, recalling that Sister Pat installed weatherproofing on windows herself until Williams suggested writing a grant proposal to pay young people in an afterschool and job-training program.
Sister Pat’s skills included persuading others to help her cause. “Everybody was crazy about her,” Williams said.
Each year the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition gives the Sister Pat Kelley Award to an advocate who has increased public awareness of low-income energy issues.
Following her death, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word created a fund named for Sister Pat with proceeds helping the poor of St. Louis.
Click here to read the full article originally published in the St. Louis Review.