McLester McDowell, before he said his daily prayers each morning, asked the Lord to “please make me a blessing to someone else.” He truly believed he was on Earth to help those less fortunate, whether they were hungry, homeless or ill.
This man of simple needs died on Oct. 20 after a brief illness. He never married but had a huge, loving family of friends and fellow parishioners.
McDowell faithfully attended Mass at St. Mary of the Angels in Anderson, but was so much more to the parish and the community. He demonstrated his faith in God by example.
He was born to sharecroppers in Anderson in 1929, served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant, and retired from his job in 1991. The next day he began volunteering at the Anderson Soup Kitchen. He quickly became chairman of the board and managed operations and volunteers every day, serving between 75 to 100 meals a day. He was also a founder of Clean Start in 1996, which is a volunteer organization created to assist the homeless with laundry, showers and job searches. He served as manager of operations at Clean Start and volunteered there three days a week.
McDowell was also a member of the Anderson Housing Authority board of directors for over 20 years, where he volunteered to assist less fortunate families in search of housing. He was so highly regarded that the community voted to name a new housing authority building the “McLester McDowell Achievement Center”.
He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2013 was named the “South Carolina Knight of the Year”. His tireless and loving service to the community has earned him acclaims from a number of prominent publications.
There was much more to this humble, kind man and words on paper will never truly portray the love and compassion he displayed.
GREENVILLE—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone blessed the St. Francis Cancer Center at the millennium campus on Nov. 18.
Unique to Greenville, the free-standing oncology center provides the next generation of radiation therapy, which enables Bon Secours St. Francis physicians to treat many more types of cancer —including the most challenging cases — more effectively and with fewer side effects.
Outpatient cancer-treatment services currently offered at St. Francis downtown, including infusion therapy, clinical trial research, palliative care and nurse navigation, will be relocated to the new center.
Dr. Robert Siegel, Bon Secours St. Francis oncology and hematology program director, emphasized that the new center is more than just a state-of-the-art facility.
“Treating the patient as an individual is at the heart of how we provide cancer care,” he said. "Because we recognize and respect the whole patient, the new St. Francis Cancer Center is not only an advanced treatment center, it’s also a sanctuary.”
The center also houses a boutique, on-site pharmacy, health food café, chapel and a community room for support group meetings and other activities.
For the added convenience of patients and their families, the nationally recognized STAR Survivorship program — introduced at Bon Secours St. Francis in 2008 and the first of its kind in the state — will also relocate to the millennium campus. Outpatient oncology rehab services will move to the nearby HealThy Self gym in the Millennium Medical Office 2 building.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach this wonderful national holiday we call Thanksgiving, we reflect on a year that has been difficult in so many ways.
We can certainly think of our economy that is still struggling, families in situations that challenge them, a world situation of terrorism and violence, and all kinds of challenges to our faith coming from many sides. If we were to focus on these negatives, we could easily fall into depression and possibly even to despair.
However, there are so many wonderful and beautiful aspects of our lives that offer us a sense of hope and produce in us positive joy: families that are experiencing great love and affirmation; a diocese where so much growth is occurring; young people who are living their faith in beautiful ways, especially in reaching out in so many ways to those who are struggling. God is so active in our lives that no matter how many challenges to a good life that we face, He always gives us the grace to live lives of hope, joy, and peace; serenity in the midst of sometimes chaotic situations is still quite possible thanks to a caring God who loves us.
It is so important to give thanks for all these graces. Let us never forget to thank our God on Thanksgiving Day, to get to Mass if at all possible, at least to pray with our families and friends as we celebrate this day. Let us also give thanks to and for each other, for it so often happens that God’s graces are mediated through the people who pass through our lives. So often our friends and relatives offer us the affirmation that helps us to see clearly God’s presence in our lives.
May this Thanksgiving Day be an opportunity for all of us to be mediators of God’s goodness by reaching out to those who may need, in one way or another, a healing and comforting touch.
Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s blessings be yours in abundance.
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston
CHARLESTON—Neighborhood House was chosen to participate in a pilot program that will enable them to keep track of all their clients and the services they use.
Nikki Grimball, director of the peninsula outreach, said the program provides photo identification with a bar code on the back for every client that comes in the door. The client then presents the bar code ID for every service he uses, whether it’s financial assistance, the soup kitchen, clothes closet or even the porch library.
“It shows where the greatest needs are, the most services used, plus areas where we need to outsource,” Grimball said.
The primary purpose is to compile data into an easily accessible format that can be used to apply for funding and grants, said Chloe Garrison, with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, the parent organization for Neighborhood House.
The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy founded Neighborhood House in 1915. For a while, it operated under the diocesan office of social ministry, but in 2005 it returned to the sponsorship of Our Lady of Mercy.
Garrison said the main outreach on Johns Island is part of the Charity Tracker system, but does not use the identification cards. Neighborhood House joined the bar code pilot program in October to help them keep track of more than 20 services available to those in need. The outreach aids a variety of clientele, from homeless people to workers eating at the soup kitchen to make ends meet. Grimball said they average 120 clients a day for hot lunches.
They also offer education courses for those trying to get ahead, and various enrichment classes for children and senior citizens.
Garrison said more than 280 clients have received bar code IDs so far and the intake process is ongoing.
In addition to helping the outreach keep track of their numbers, Grimball said it also benefits the clients by providing photo identification, which can be difficult for them to obtain. He explained that receiving a picture ID usually requires a person to have a fixed address, and most of the population at Neighborhood House are transients, moving from place to place as their finances dictate.
Another plus is being able to link to other social service agencies with Charity Tracker. That way, if a client needs to be referred elsewhere, the agency will only have to scan the bar code ID and have instant access to all the information.
“We’re trying to make it so their lives are a little less on the edge,” Grimball said.
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- January 28 2015 Movies and Scripture
- January 28 2015 Catholic Days at the Capital
- January 29 2015 ‘The Fearsome Pirate Frank’
- February 07 2015 Oyster roast and barbecue
- February 07 2015 ‘Spirituality and Technology’
- February 08 2015 St. Mary School admissions tests
- February 14 2015 Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala