It’s not just because she’s been a converted Catholic for over 50 years.
It isn’t even because she’s been called the “Queen of Funnel Cakes.”
For Lois Keller, a member of Saint Mary of the Mount parish, receiving the “Manifesting the Kingdom” award on January 27 is an honor, because it reflects the deep gratitude she has had for her relationship with Christ.
For over a decade, the Diocese of Pittsburgh has had the tradition of honoring lay and religious women and men who manifest the Kingdom of God through their lives of service. On January 27 of this year, more than 100 people from parishes across the Diocese will receive the award from the Most Reverend David Zubik, on the Sunday nearest to the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
Mrs. Keller was baptized in the Lutheran faith but converted to Catholicism when she married her husband Paul in 1953. “I always felt in my heart that I wanted to be Catholic. My husband served in the Korean war, and I told myself that if he didn’t make it through, I was going to be a nun. I always felt like God was drawing me in.”
Together, they raised seven children in the Catholic faith and made personal sacrifices to send them each to Catholic school.
Being brought up with kindness really helped she says. “I always had a strong faith. Even when I was carrying my first child, I went out on the street collecting money. Everyone said, ‘You mean father is sending them out pregnant!’ I wanted to live my religion.”
Mrs. Keller’s past activities include serving on the Parish Pastoral Council, the finance council, Renew, Ladies of Charity, the Bereavement Team, Street Fair Committee and bingo. She currently serves as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharistic and still solicits sponsors and donations for the Saint Mary of the Mount Fashion show, Ethnic Fest and Fish Fry.
Even though Mrs. Keller is retired, she has a lot of knowledge and skills that she would like to pass on to others. “I want to write a book entitled ‘Where to Turn’ so I can still continue to help people.”
Her advice to members of community: “Be loving, caring, and mostly, always be yourself. Don’t be a phony.”