“Let us not be weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9) proclaimed the invitation to the August 24 dedication of the Sr. René Procopio Activity Center at Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs.
More than 50 people, including officials from Moon Township, Felician Sisters, Felician leadership, donors and friends of Mooncrest gathered to honor Sr. René’s legacy, remembering that she never grew weary in serving her neighbors in Mooncrest.
To mark the occasion, Hopebound Ministries, who helps support some Felician Ministries, offered gifts rich with symbolism for the Mooncrest garden: a fig tree to represent the way that Sr. René’s work has taken root in the community, and a rain barrel to represent the “happy tears” of those who remember her great love.
Led by program director Theresa Long, a chorus of children from the after-school program recited a “Prayer for Students” that powerfully reflects the values of Sr. René’s ministry:
Help me to be curious about the world around me.
Help me to be prepared for the challenges I face each day.
Help me to be open to difficult tasks.
Help me to be determined to complete my work.
Help me to be responsible in all I do.
Help me to be accepting of people’s differences.
Help me to be kind in my thoughts and words.
Help me to be aware of my talents.
Help me to be myself – to be the best that I can be.
Like the prayer, Mooncrest’s sunny and welcoming activity center recognizes the dignity and beauty of each person, corresponding with Sr. René’s Felician approach.
After a career in education spanning almost four decades, Sr. René wanted to keep ministering to people in need. With other Felician Sisters, she started living in Mooncrest, a neighborhood that suffered from absentee landlordism and blight. When Sr. René saw children skipping school, she recognized what could be done. She felt the presence of Blessed Mary Angela “walking the streets of Mooncrest,” and she knew she had found “where she needed to be.”
In 2002, the sisters founded an after-school program in the basement of a Baptist Church. By 2004, they had moved to their current location, where the bright activity center is adorned with children’s artwork. The wraparound programming they offer now includes summer activities for children, as well as faith sharing, education and food access for adults.
More than 50 years ago, Sr. Mary Cabrini Procopi followed Sr. René to the convent, becoming a Felician Sister just like her older cousin. At the ceremony, Sr. Cabrini posed for pictures with Sr. Mary Geralyn Mroczkowski, CEO of Felician Services and Nancy Lawry, Executive Director of Mooncrest. These three women held a plaque from the Moon Township Board of Supervisors that recognizes Sr. René’s dedication to the neighborhood and permanently renames the activity center in her honor.
Learn more about the Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs here.