Edith Cunnane dies; founded St. Patrick’s Center

ST. LOUIS – Edith Cunnane, who founded the St. Patrick Center, died Friday (Jan. 3, 2020).  She was 76.

Ms. Cunnane founded the center in 1983 in partnership with the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Catholic Charities of St. Louis and Msgr. Robert Slattery. The center was housed in the former St. Patrick School at 6th and Biddle streets with the mission of giving a voice and face to people experiencing homelessness and providing them with services. The center now operates at 800 N. Tucker Blvd.

She served for 10 years as the agency’s first executive director and dedicated a total of 37 years to it.

Under Ms. Cunnane’s direction, St. Patrick Center opened the Shamrock Club, the nation’s first day treatment program for people with behavioral health issues. She also launched the Casserole Program and McMurphy’s Grill, and expanded programming to include housing assistance, employment services and life skills training.

At St. Patrick Center’s 25th anniversary celebration in 2008, Ms. Cunnane said: “I feel so privileged to be associated with St. Patrick Center and feel I was really just an instrument of what God wanted done in this community.”

In announcing her death, St. Patrick’s Center board President Bob Olwig, said: “We salute Edith Cunnane for her ceaseless commitment and service to
St. Patrick Center. Her leadership and intensity created a safe place with programs and resources for people in our community who struggled the most.”

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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