Saturday, August 16, 2003

Sarah Center helps cheer poor women

Faith matters

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

When Sister Jeannette Buehler came to Over-the-Rhine 14 years ago, she knew she wanted to help women.

But she didn't realize that 14 years later, she'd be leaving Cincinnati having started a new ministry - Sarah Center.

Buehler, 66, who is returning to Dayton, Ohio, after being elected vice president of her order, the Sisters of the Precious Blood , co-founded and served as executive director of the Sarah Center, a ministry at St. Francis Seraph Catholic Church in Over-the-Rhine, 1600 Vine St.

In 1995, she and Sister Evelyn LaGory, a Sister of St. Joseph , started Sarah Center as a way to give enrichment to the lives of women in Over-the-Rhine.

"Our concern was that there was a lot of social service agencies in the neighborhood, but no place for enrichment for women," Buehler said. "There's a sense of almost quiet desperation among many of the women. There's a lot of depression that takes place in low-income neighborhoods."

The sisters started with a workshop teaching the women how to make jewelry. Now the program has grown, and the women sell their wares at boutiques and jewelry shows. They receive 60 percent from each sale, and the rest goes to the center for supplies for future jewelry creations.

"It's more than education and supplemental income," Buehler said. "They find the fellowship and creativity is a real blessing in their lives."

The ministry, which has a core group of about 50 women involved, has expanded to include quilt-making and the beginnings of a dressmaking program.

"More than anything, we hope to bring a sense of presence to the community, that people know they're not just a number," Buehler said.

She leaves Sarah Center in the hands of a new executive director, Arlene Turner, an Over-the-Rhine resident who has worked at the center for two years.

"(Buehler) is a role model, a mentor, and a stable, concerned, wise and socially conscious person," Turner said. "She carries that dignity with her wherever she goes."

For more information about Sarah Center, call 651-1532.

Gospel workshop

Kenny Smith's Peace & Serenity Ministries , a 19-year-old, interdenominational gospel music ministry, will host a workshop Wednesday through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 2573 St. Leo's Place, North Fairmount.

The workshop will end with a concert at 4 p.m. Aug. 24. A donation to participate in the workshop is $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and under.

For more information, call 221-KENS (221-5367).

To submit religion news, e-mail or send a fax to 755-4150.

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