Saturday, December 4, 2010


Building homes in New Orleans are Phyllis Kemper, (4th from left), a Brown County Ursuline from Cincinnati, and Stephanie, (1st on the left), a friend/former student of Regina Marie Fronmuller (last on the right. Regina Marie is an Ursuline from New Orleans. The rest are Ursulines (Teresa Byrne, Marie-Ce Miranda, Terry Eppridge, Carole Marie Keaney, and Dee Yanshak) from the New York area.

New Orleans was abuzz two weeks ago as approximately 87 sisters and lay colleagues, took part in Nuns’ Build under the aegis of the St. Bernard Project.

Our Ursuline group of seven was assigned to the same two houses throughout. The first was a real challenge, large (five bedrooms), dark, filled with dry wall waiting to be put up. Fortunately sisters of other communities there were with us. The second house, where we were for only one day, was a joy, small and bright with plenty of indoor room. We specialized in insulation this year, and by the end of the week all of us were quite adept in measuring, cutting, and installing.

Beyond the building skills is the sense of community this work engenders, along with the conviction that we are truly assisting in getting someone or a family “home.” Particularly touching was our encounter with Robin who with her daughter has lost three homes in the last five years: one to Katrina, one to Gustav, and one to fire.

The St. Bernard Project is making every effort to get them and others “home for the holidays.”

The time in NOLA was not all work. Several were able to visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, beautiful, yet with painful reminders of the oil spill as well as Katrina. And no visit to New Orleans is complete without time in the French Quarter. Sunday was highlighted by a wonderful Mass near Basin Street complete with music, song, impassioned preaching, and great spirit, as well as a visit to St. Jude’s Community Center, an amazing multi-faceted outreach facility across the street.

Finally, we went on a Swamp Tour. There are pictures of several of us holding an alligator to prove it!

Sr. Teresa Byrne, OSU
Malone, NY

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