Catholic Charities takes the helm of Gloverville outreach center

GLOVERVILLE—The Daughters of Chari­ty of St. Vincent de Paul have left the small Aiken County town of Glover­ville, where they helped people for 40 years, but the programs they ran will continue.

Catholic Charities has taken over administration of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Center, where the Daughters had served since 1977. The center offers multiple services, including a food pantry, GED class­es, and activities for senior citizens.

The three sisters who worked there most recently have moved on to other assignments. Sister Patricia Nee and Sister Joan Ann Barrett left early this spring. Sister Catherine Marie Lowe, director since 2012, was the last to depart on May 1. She will now work in social ministry in Wilmington, Del.

Sister Catherine Marie said Catho­lic Charities first arrived in Glover­ville at the beginning of March and now has full oversight of the center. None of the programs, which serve dozens of local people in need each week, were disrupted by the sisters’ departure.

The Daughters’ community an­nounced in late 2016 that they would give up the ministry in Gloverville. Advancing age, health concerns and growing needs at the center made it impos­sible for the three women to continue meeting demands, Sister Catherine Ma­rie said.

She worked with Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, area churches and other social organizations to find someone to take over the minis­try. Catholic Chari­ties turned out to be the right fit.

Leisa Lipscomb, regional coordinator for Catholic Charities in the Midlands, will assume the duties of administrator. She said the efficiency of the sisters’ work has made the transition seam­less.

“What they have in Gloverville is such a well-organized and well-run operation,” Lipscomb said. “The programs are mostly staffed with volunteers and it runs so well that there is little day to day that has to be done on an administrative level. We’re now looking to put a Catholic Charities stamp on the center and possibly expand the work down the road.”

Lipscomb is working with local agencies in Aiken County to identify unmet needs in the community.

She said this will be a good oppor­tunity for Catholic Charities to build its presence in the region. Aiken County is considered part of its Mid­lands coverage area, but distance prevented their workers from spend­ing much time there.

“I was beyond impressed to see what the sisters had built here, and now we’re going to see how we can serve the community in new ways,” Lipscomb said. “I hope to bring some of our best practices to the table in Gloverville, and there are things already being done at the center that I will bring back to our offices. It’s nice to be able to expand and it was an easy move. Things here run like a finely tuned machine.”

Photos/Miscellany/Christina Lee Knauss: Top, Carolyn Kleckley, a long-time volunteer and associate of the Daughters of Charity, helps a client at the outreach center in this file photo from December 2016.

Sunbeams light the garden and statue of Mary outside Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Center.