As a member of The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, we have historical ties to the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. Old North was once home to Grace Episcopal Church, and much later Holy Cross House (a settlement house) in the neighborhood. The settlement house ministered to the area's poor through education programs, health initiatives, and community services. Deaconess Anne (Hannah Annie Pew) was charged with running the settlement house for six years (1906-1912).
The Church News wrote, "During the six years that Deaconess Anne was in charge of Holy Cross House she was everything to the people except their Bishop. Not only Deaconess, which I suppose means the feminine of 'servant,' but also their pastor, which must mean their shepherdess, for she watched over needs spiritual as carefully as any commissioned pastor could do …she filled all the functions of a minister if not of a priest." In ill health, Deaconess Anne moved to California to recover in 1912. She never returned to the Gateway City.
Deaconess Anne left an invaluable mark upon the church. After Anne's departure a member of Holy Cross wrote, "We at Holy Cross would like to see her friends and admirers erect a memorial here to her. I doubt not but one will come." In many respects, we (the Episcopal Service Corps in Old North) are Deaconess Anne's successors. The word "deacon" means ministry or service, and we hope to follow Deaconess Anne's example of ministry, service, and dedication. It might have come 100 years late, but Deaconess Anne has finally received a memorial that reflects, ever so dimly, her selfless work.