Friday, February 19, 2010

Mary's Shelter February Newsletter

Mary's Shelter February Newsletter
Vol. 2, No. 2

We have had a very busy month at Mary's Shelter! A baby girl was born in January, a beautiful reminder of what our crisis pregnancy outreach ministry is all about.  We moved into a gorgeous new house two weeks ago which will allow us to shelter more women than we could before.  Two new women have moved to Mary's Shelter already, and more are on the way.  Empty rooms fill quickly at Mary's Shelter since the need for housing is great. As a result, our waiting list is usually long.   Please help support our ministry and take part in giving courageous women, who have chosen life, the opportunity to have a better life. Thank you.  
God Bless.  
Kathleen Wilson, Director

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
- Mother Teresa

A Visit from the Sisters of Life

We spent a lovely afternoon with four sisters from the 
Sisters of Life.  The Sisters have a crisis pregnancy center and maternity home in New York City, and host spiritual retreats for post-abortive women.  They are very effective in their loving, life-affirming ministry and have been a beautiful example for us.  They periodically recommend women to us when their maternity home is full.  "Gianna" was one of these women.  The Sisters came for a visit the day after the March for Life in January to visit with "Gianna" and her new baby.  The Sisters have maintained a warm relationship with her, and will continue to support her when she moves back to New York this weekend.  
Here is a beautiful letter that Sister Therese (far right in the picture) wrote to us after their visit:

It was a joy to visit 
Mary's Shelter last month - it is such a place of peace.  One can even imagine Our Lord feeling at home there the way he did in Bethany 2000 years ago.  Now I know how he felt.
You have been such a steady support in the fulfillment of our mission.  I cannot thank you enough for the amazing gifts you have set in place for pregnant women.  So many of the women we serve jointly seem to see the whole world as brighter after living in 
Mary's Shelter.  Seeing the amazing increase in hope and joy in their lives has been so rewarding, and it is all because of your support, thank you.  Pregnant women are so often asked to make heroic sacrifices for their children, and you have made her heroism possible.
Our founder John Cardinal O'Connor taught us to recognize Our Lady in every vulnerable pregnant woman.  "Jesus says to John, "There is your mother." (Jn 19:27)  And through John, it seems to me, He says to all of us, "Take care of all mothers.  I have assigned My mother to take care of all children, now I assign you to take care of all mothers.  We must see Mary in every mother."
In Christ our Life,
Sister Therese Marie, S.V.

new house hawke

New House Update

On February 1, Mary's Shelter  became the proud tenants of a beautiful, new home which happens to be next door to one of our other shelters.   With our new house we can shelter 11 women and their children.  This house will be the "transition" house for women who have delivered their babies and have shown that they are motivated to progress through our program.  We plan to host all Mary's Shelter gatherings and activities at the new house from now on, since it has so much space!  We are grateful to our landlords, Mr. and Mrs. Otis Light, for making this large, beautifully appointed home so affordable.  We witnessed the amazing renovation of this house from next door, and yet we never entertained the possibility that we might occupy it!  When Mr. Light heard we were looking to rent a bigger house, he made us an offer we could not refuse.  We know they are not benefiting financially from this arrangement, which makes their generosity even more inspiring.  Many thanks to all of you for your prayers and support in helping our residents not only with warmth, security and a place to rest, but also the opportunity of beginning their lives again.

For a virtual tour of our new home, please click here!

Resident Profiles

The following are profiles of some of our current residents.  All names are fictitious.  To see more baby pictures, click here.
lori's upload

Gianna's Big News!

Gianna gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lily Grace, on January 17th.  With the support of her doula Elizabeth, Gianna had one of the most amazing natural births we have ever witnessed at Mary's Shelter!  Gianna chose the name Lily from The Song of Solomon - "As a lily among thorns,  so is my love among the daughters."  We have been blessed to witness Gianna  come back to her faith and grow to recognize the hand of God in her life.  Gianna is a very natural and loving mother, and we are so pleased with how well she is caring for her baby.  She is leaving this weekend to return to her family in New York.  Her plan is to move home with her mother, who has become extremely supportive,  and finish college (she has an Associate's degree).  She is happy to be moving into the next phase of her new life, but she is also nervous about the challenges before her. Please keep Gianna and baby Lily in your prayers.


Catherine is due in April, and she is the "lead" mom in one of our shelters.  She escaped to Mary's Shelter from an abusive relationship, and we are impressed by her maturity and desire to improve her situation.  We are also impressed by how well she is handling her five-year old son, who has been having a difficult time adjusting to the many changes in his life.  She takes him to see a therapist, and they both attend weekly parenting classes, which have been tremendously helpful.  He has stopped receiving so many negative notes home from the school, and seems to finally be comfortable with his situation.  Catherine is now starting to concentrate more on the birth of her next child, and is looking forward to moving into our new "transition" home.  She is a few credits away from a college degree, and we are all hoping she can find a way to pay for school.  Please keep Catherine in your prayers as she meets the challenges of single-parenthood.


Veronica gave birth to her baby boy on January 6th, and gave him up for adoption.  She is only 18 years old, and was kicked out her parents' house for her decision to carry the baby to term.  Friendless and homeless, Veronica sought refuge at Mary's Shelter, where she nurtured her baby, licked her wounds, found a job, and made plans for the future.  Just last week, Veronica moved into her own apartment with a little help from her generous employers.  She plans to attend college in the fall (she graduated high school early!), and pick up life where she left off.  We are so proud of the difficult decisions Veronica made and followed-through with.  We are happy she is close by so we can lend her support whenever she may need it.


Bernadette is expecting her 2nd child next month.  She moved toMary's Shelter several months ago homeless, unemployed, pregnant, and at age 32, one of the oldest women we have ever sheltered.  We are impressed with how quickly she moved in accomplishing her goals.  Within two months, she had completed her GED, found a full-time job, and had become a unifying influence in our shelter.   She takes the lead in cooking, cleaning, and bonding with the other mothers, which is why she is another one of our "lead" moms.  Her employer thinks so highly of her that during the blizzard, he paid for her to stay in a hotel close to work.  Her big goal is to complete a phlebotomy course at Career Training Solutions, but she currently has no way to pay for it.  Please pray that she can secure the necessary funding to complete her course and be in a better position to support herself and her baby.

Volunteer Corner

Hello everyone,  
My name is Lena Foster and I am very happy to be a new addition to the Mary's Shelter Board and I look forward to serving and volunteering in many ways.
Please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself.  David and I have five children - David, Jonathan, Emily, Daniel and Sarah.   I am happy to say that I have been a "stay-at-home-mom,"  for the last twenty two years.  I love being home with the kids and they seem to like it most of the time.  I do feel a need to serve outside of my home.  Staying at home has afforded me some talents, and some time, and some treasures too.  I will give them to the Lord.   I feel very Blessed to be able to do that through Mary's Shelter
God Bless, 
Lena Foster 

Thanks to our Volunteers!

*Thanks to the boys basketball team from St. Michael the Archangel High School for ALL the help with moving into our new home!

These guys worked around the snow before and after the storm to make sure we got everything done to move our new moms in. You guys are the best. 

*Thanks also, once again, to the Students for Life at Mary Washington College for helping with the cleaning and moving. We so appreciate the many ways this young group has found to offer assistance to Mary's Shelter.  

*Thanks to a special group of homeschoolers from the Holy Innocents Homeschooling Group for cleaning and packing up the kitchen so well!

 *Thank you to Karen Scanlon, Marge Callahan, and Ginny Foreman for offering to organize and lead the much desired knitting classes for our moms.  They are really looking forward to it!

*Thank you to Elizabeth Cagnina for her amazing doula assistance at Gianna's birth.  Gianna was so informed and prepared for childbirth because of Elizabeth's guidance and recommendations.  
Mary's Shelter "Fulfill the Promise" Campaign Update!

Thank you very much for the response to our "Fulfill the Promise" Campaign.  We have increased our e-mailing list by almost 100 people, and have received several pledges of on-going monthly support.  Our goal is still to reach 1000 people, and we are currently quite far from that goal!  Please continue to spread the word that our ministry needs your help today!  

*To make a monthly donation through your bank account, please
click here.

*To make a monthly donation through Paypal, please 
click here.

*To make a one-time donation of any amount, please 
click here.

Thank you for your generous support!

A Final Thank You

We are very grateful to the wonderful volunteers, prayer warriors, and donors who are crucial to the survival of Mary's Shelter. Through your ongoing support, we pray that this ministry will continue to foster a culture of life in our community for many years to come.

Thank you and may God Bless you!

The Directors and Staff of 
Mary's Shelter