Caring for the Body and Soul

St. John Paul II Catholic Mission will not exactly wow anyone who comes to this page looking for grand cathedrals. Yet it’s a major step up from where the parish was just a few months ago.

The church is a mission of the Glenmarys, the Cincinnati-based order that establishes a Catholic presence in places that historically had none, often the rural south. That describes Rutledge, Tennessee, pretty thoroughly.

The Glenmary Home Missioners have been in Rutledge for the past decade, recently moving out of their storefront parish to a new church building. Two weeks after I descended on Grainger County, Most Rev. Richard Stika of the Diocese of Knoxville was there to dedicate the new church.

I came to Tennessee, and Rutledge, to profile the wonderful work of the St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic, a mobile health facility that travels across Eastern Tennessee, bringing much-needed services to the uninsured and under-insured in the rural communities.

Rutledge is truly rural Tennessee.

The newly built St. John Paul II Catholic Mission.

Father Neil of the Glenmary Missioners.

The St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic rolls up to St. John Paul II Mission.

Sister Mary Lisa Renfer is the medical director of St. Mary’s Legacy Clinic. In addition to being a Sister of Mercy, she’s also a medical doctor.

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