Sister Visitor Center offering clinic and Empowerment Fund

Sister Michele Ann Intravia, manager of operations at the Sister Visitor Center, and Lucio Caruso, director of case management and family support services for Catholic Charities of Louisville, stand in the new clinic at the Sister Visitor Center on Oct. 21.

The Sister Visitor Center in Louisville, Ky., is growing two needed services under the direction of Ursuline Sister Michele Ann Intravia.

On Oct. 14, the first patients in the center’s new clinic were seen by Mike Huggins, an advanced registered nurse practitioner who is coming every Friday to see indigent patients. Another new endeavor is the Empowerment Fund, with a goal of raising money to help the working poor who are not eligible for other aid. One of the first donors to this fund was the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph.

“We have people who are working, but their hours have been cut, and now they can’t pay their utility bill,” Sister Michele said. “We can only give them $50 a year. This Empowerment Fund will help them pay their entire bill.”

Sister Michele Ann Intravia, right, looks over some medication prescriptions from Sister Margaret Marie Greenwell, the receptionist at the Sister Visitor Center.

A parish and an anonymous donor have contributed, but the center is trying to get other parishes involved and other donors to build the fund up so it can help more people, Sister Michele said. “These are working class people who don’t qualify for aid. They may make $10 too much,” she said. “We really need to help these working poor. We’re seeing a lot of grandparents raising their grandchildren.”

To donate, checks can be sent to the Sister Visitor Center, 2235 W. Market St., Louisville, KY 40212; or donations can be made online at Specify that the donation is for the Empowerment Fund.

The Sister Visitor Center serves the three poorest neighborhoods in Louisville – Portland, Russell and Shawnee. “We see 400-500 families a month,” Sister Michele said, who was promoted to manager of operations in June after ministering as a case manager since 2005. The agency provides assistance with food, clothing, household supplies and some medications, such as insulin, penicillin, and those dealing with asthma and high blood pressure. Once a year, the center can help with rent or utilities for up to $50. Ursuline Sisters Grace Simpson, Maureen O’Neill and Margaret Marie Greenwell also minister at Sister Visitor.

Sister Michele Ann Intravia stands in the expanded food pantry at the Sister Visitor Center.

Sister Visitor works under the umbrella of Catholic Charities of Louisville, as does Migration and Refugee Services, which is across Market Street from Sister Visitor in northwest Louisville. “Migrant and Refugee Services has been trying to get a clinic for years, but they couldn’t find the space,” Sister Michele said.

In 2010, a 3,000-square foot addition on the Sister Visitor building now houses the food pantry and clothes closet, which freed up some of the other space in the building. The addition is called the Paul Hornung Annex, named for the Green Bay Packer legend and NFL Hall-of-Famer who helped raise the money.