Family Center in East St. Louis blesses new building, celebrates 30th anniversary

The “family” was gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of East Side Heart and Home Family Center and witness the dedication and blessing of a new building.
“Without the Family Center and Sr. Carol’s help, I don’t know where I would be,” said Helen, a home owner in the neighborhood.
Sr. Carol Lehmkuhl, OP is the “Sr. Carol” of whom Helen spoke.

For 30 years Sr. Carol has built the neighborhood where many people live. Learning “on the job” Sr. Carol and her staff and volunteers have met every challenge, learning how to solve a problem or finding someone willing to take on a problem and help solve it.

People have heard it “takes a village” to accomplish good or great things, but Sr. Carol had to build the village first. And they have.

In building the village, they have “built” so much more. They laid the foundation to relationships, to loving support for many people.

Bishop Michael McGovern assisted in blessing the new building, greeting some of the many supporters, volunteers and homeowners who gathered to reflect on this newest of buildings.
Fr. Jim Cormack, CM has been involved in blessing many of the 21 houses built in Resurrection Park.

Offering remarks at the blessing of this new building was no different. He often puts his finger on what the bricks and mortar of the building actually represent, certainly more than shelter for those who work there.
Having been a pastor of several parishes for the last 40 years, Fr. Jim described this new building.

“This building is not a church, but over the years I have learned and experienced how holy the Family Center is; this is sacred ground, this is sacred space.”

Describing family love and building a neighborhood of care for others as “holy things, good and Godly activities” so that “this ground becomes a center and a home for those activities and many more.”
So many people have come together to “build” the relationships between and among the residents, the staff, the volunteers and donors.

Fr. Jim sums it up, saying: “And so I pray that you will see the holiness these people make real here and so see this building which gathers them as sacred too. The building is good and necessary … to become a community of care, laughter, wisdom and solace in times of trouble, help in times of need, and so be a blessing to one another, … .”
To find out more about the Family Center, please go to