Sitio Clothing Ministry

Posted by Spalding Hurst

March 4, 2024

Sister Marlene Lehmkuhl shares her experience: “Two months ago, I came across a modest advertisement in The Record’s Wanted Ads section, calling for donations with just a contact number provided. Always in the process of clearing out items from our attic, I decided to call the number. Linda Gottbrath, who initiated this project, responded affirmatively, welcoming any contributions we could make. This marked the beginning of our collaboration with Nazareth.”

Sitio Clothing Ministry, an initiative under St. John Vianney Church in Louisville, has been actively supporting the community since its inception in Linda Gottbrath’s basement in 2013. Initially aimed at distributing clothes to St. Vincent DePaul Conference clients, the ministry expanded its reach in 2014 when it was given space by St. John Vianney’s Pastor, allowing it to assist a broader audience. Sitio operates with minimal funding, relying on donations of food, clothing, household items, and furniture to support primarily Cuban immigrants. The ministry ensures that all donations, including funds, directly benefit those in need, with no compensation for its workers.

The name “Sitio” was inspired by a personal tragedy experienced by Linda Gottbrath, the ministry’s founder. Following the loss of her son in 2002, Gottbrath sought a name that reflected her deepened understanding of sacrifice and compassion, eventually choosing “Sitio,” Latin for “I thirst,” symbolizing a mission to quench spiritual and physical thirst. The ministry’s logo, depicting Jesus on the Cross extending his hand to a young person with the words “I thirst” below, encapsulates this mission.

Origin of the name, Sitio by Linda Gottbrath (with Linda’s permission and in her words)

On July 30, 2002 our son Jamie, age 24, born in 1977 on September 25, took his life by carbon monoxide poisoning. We had been to the funeral home all day and had to return the next day. I couldn’t sleep and got up in the middle of the night screaming to Our Blessed Virgin Mary: “How did you get through this? How did you get through this?”

The Blessed Mother said to me, and I literally heard her voice, “We all have to die, but through the Crucifixion my Son came back to me.

I knew I had to have a true devotion to the Crucifixion for what He did for all of us. Our son’s death brought what Christ did home to me. So when I was looking for a name for my clothing ministry, I could only think of “consoling the Heart of Jesus” Clothing Ministry but that was too long.  

I used to repair statues and there was a crucifix I was asked to repair over at Mt. S. Francis with the word, “Sitio” painted at the bottom. I mentioned this to one of the Friars who said it was Latin for “I thirst.”

Of course, Mother Teresa came to my mind, and I knew what I would call the Ministry – Sitio Clothing Ministry. This began my mission to quench Jesus’ thirst. Of course, I know His thirst is far greater than I could ever quench, but everything helps. Of course, I know His thirst is far greater than I could ever quench, but everything helps.

The logo for Sitio is Jesus on the Cross with right hand extended downward to a young person, reaching up with a cloth. The words, “I thirst” under the picture.

In a recent effort to clear out attic items, Sister Marlene contacted Sitio, leading to a significant donation event. On February 13, Linda, her husband Vince, and his friend Mike Norris used a 26 ft. U-Haul collected various items, including wooden chairs and mattresses, from Nazareth’s back kitchen door, with assistance from locals Leanne, Larry, and Leonard. This event underscores Sitio’s commitment to serving the community’s needs through generous donations and volunteer support.

4 Comments

  1. Marie Underwood

    How wonderful to share our blessings with others. Thank you Sr Marlene.

    Reply
  2. Linda Soltis, SCN

    I say ditto to the comments made by Luke and Janice. The Spirit was certainly working through you Marlene. We have so much that needs to be shared with those less fortunate.

    Reply
  3. Janice Downs

    Kudos to you, Marlene. I think you also benefited from this step you took after following through, regarding your response to the ad in the Record. Thank you for opening us up to another need that is seemingly only beginning to be met. I’m glad we could share from our abundance. S. Janice Downs

    Reply
  4. Luke

    Thank you Marlene for making this wonderful connection.
    All that we have should be shared!
    Luke

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like…

A Life Devoted to Service

A Life Devoted to Service

Sister Mary Braley exemplifies unwavering dedication to service, from her role as a beloved teacher to her involvement in parish activities.

Former Students Support Present Students

Former Students Support Present Students

Former students from Mumbai funded school expenses for three students at St. Dominic’s School, Meghalaya, enhancing their educational opportunities and impacting additional children. Sister Chandrakala (pictured) sends her gratitude.

Blending Compassion and Healing

Blending Compassion and Healing

Sister Marina lives a life of service, blending compassion, health care, and education with environmental stewardship. Her faith-driven efforts uplift marginalized communities, demonstrating the impact of living by Christ’s teachings.