Fun at the Fair & More!

Fair

Happy Weekend My Friends,

A busy week for our moms, volunteers and staff this week as it kicked off at the end of last week with the Syracuse Mets game. More than sixty people joined us at our volunteer appreciation night at the ball park. It turned into a double-header as Friday night was a rain out, and the thunder and lightning nearly prevailed again on Saturday, but the skies did part and staff, volunteers and some of our Exodus moms enjoyed a fun night watching the games, chowing down on some awesome food, spending some time with Scooch and running the bases at the end of the night. The best part of the evening for Bronson our ED was hearing volunteers and staff tell stories about the kids and moms and express to him their joy in serving the moms and little ones of Joseph’s House. Hope next year more of you can join us.

Theresa V & B

At the beginning of the week our Miracle Mom Monica, passed her driving permit test and interviewed for a job.  In most stories young women travel to NYC to have their dreams come true, however our Monica had her life saved and is making her dreams come true right here in Syracuse NY. Thank you, Jesus, Mary and Joseph for the miracle of Monica’s recovery and for saving her life and the lives of her two beautiful boys!

Monica

On Tuesday we had a very special guest at Joseph’s House. Father Tariq from Pakistan and the leader of the Sacred Heart Apostolate celebrated Mass in our Chapel along with a few of our most dedicated prayer warriors. After mass he blessed the house and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch where he shared stories of his work in Pakistan and the fear encountered in being Christians in an Islamic culture. He is a true hero of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to all the seminarians he leads in his native Pakistan. Thank you and God Bless you Father Tariq, we wish you safe travels and God’s Blessings in all your heavenly inspired works.

Father Tariq

Thursday evening of this week our dear friends and board members Chuck and Nancy Cometti once again gifted all the moms and kids and 4 of our staff members with a night at the Great New York State Fair. The evening began with dinner with the Cometti’s and everyone from Renewal by Anderson. Dinner was followed with trips to visit the animals, the butter sculpture and ended with ice cream in the Dairy Building. Our little troop of kiddos went home after a most delightful night with happy faces and full tummies. It was the perfect ending to a blessed evening of sharing with those who are so very good to Joseph’s House.

Cometti's

On Friday a dear friend of Joseph’ House who’s commitment to our mission goes back to before our opening, gifted to us a gorgeous statue of Our Lady. This statue is a treasure to Louise who has supported us financially, spiritually and personally for six years. She had tears in her eyes as she told me about this lovely statue that graced her home and all the photos taken with Our Lady of her children and grandchildren when they made their First Communions and Confirmations. Louise was thrilled and relieved to know her precious possession is in a safe, holy place where it will be cherished and treasured for years to come. Thank you dear Louise and may God bless you as you downsize into your new home.

Our Lady of Grace

We are home to four moms, six little ones and have one baby on the way. Our numbers are a little light right now but Our Lord is giving us this time to shore up loose ends and make the mission of Joseph’s House stronger for the future. We would ask for your prayers as we discern the directions Jesus Christ has for our ministry and as we open our hearts to those most in need doing great things for love, undeterred by adversity. We pray always for the strength and foresight to be the hands and feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ to all those He sends our way. God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty  

For the Love of Momma Mary

Marys Garden 2019
“……let us acclaim her “Holy Mother of God”. From her, let us allow ourselves to be gazed upon, to be embraced, to be taken by the hand. Especially in times of need, when we are entangled in life’s knots, we rightly lift our eyes to Our Lady, to Our Mother.”
— HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS Vatican Basilica Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy Weekend My Friends,

I stopped early Friday morning to visit the beautiful garden pictured above where the journey to Joseph’s House has it’s foundation. As I stood there praying, a homeless man came running from the corner leaving his cart behind shouting, “You’re that lady! You’re the lady that put this here! I stop here everyday to pray, let me give you a hug!” I can admit to you most readily there was a time in my life I would have never spoken to a homeless person, let alone hug them, but this man had the light of Christ in his eyes and his hug made me feel whole in some strange way. He was joyful and as our conversation continued he told me a bit about his twenty years on the streets, his girlfriend and his prized possessions, an American flag and a pen with a flashlight on the end of it. I immediately thought of Matthew 18:3, And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” I understood this ragged man was a child of God in his sweet innocence and exuberance. He thanked me for the care we take of this little corner as I shared with him a colorful rosary. It was the very best part of my day as I realized the gifts bestowed upon me through this most humble man, and the depths of my love for my Momma Mary.

Friday August 16th was also the sixth anniversary of the event propelling Joseph’s House into existence. That evening Father Prior and I gathered all those hoping to learn about the vision of our mission in the poker parlor which has since become our Joseph’s House Chapel. We told them all of our hopes and dreams for this home and a story about the quiet millionaires living in every neighborhood in America. These quiet millionaires were people who had lived frugally, saved their money and found themselves with nowhere to leave their inheritance. We asked the people gathered this evening if the vision and mission shared with them touched their hearts, to go out and speak with their neighbors and all the people they knew and perhaps we would receive the $40,000 we needed within 4 days to purchase this magnificent home steeped in Catholic history.

I can remember clearly wondering what would happen next and was hope-filled, but not worried because I knew in no uncertain terms this home was to be the home of Joseph’s House. The next day a woman called and told me she wanted to give us $250,000 and would write a check on Monday for the first installment of $40,000. I thought to myself, God not only gave us what we needed to purchase our home, He also gave us more. I understood we were given this gift because we had listened to Him every treacherous step of the way, and stepped out continually in unmitigating faith against the volumes of naysayers who told us the house was too big, much too expensive and we could never succeed.

It’s been six years since that night and fifty-five babies who, may have been lost to abortion if not for this mission founded in God, have been saved and will forever call Joseph’s House their first home. It is not easy work, yet it is easily joy-filled and hope-filled as we look into the faces of young, innocent women entrusting themselves to us for our guidance and wisdom in building up themselves and teaching them a better way to raise their children. We call upon many resources and personal experiences to impart better rules of living to the precious children in our midst, but ultimately the guidance and wisdom we share with all those we are blessed to touch, comes through one heavenly source and that source is Our Mother Mary.

Over the years like many of our moms, I have struggled with anxiety, and depression. Hindsight being 20/20 I realize this was due to the abuse suffered as a child and the abortions I chose in my early twenties. I have anesthetized myself over the years with everything from alcohol, to binge eating, to shopping excessively. It took the near death of my younger son and the many years of his recovery to find my way home to Jesus Christ. I traveled this road holding the hand of my Momma Mary because I was too frightened to gaze into the eyes of My Heavenly Father for fear of the disappointments I had caused Him. My gracious Loving Mother led me to Reconciliation through Her Rosary Prayer and countless daily consecrations have assisted me in knowledge of Her ways. Whenever I am fearful, disillusioned or begin to feel as though the battle is hopeless and everyone is against me, I recount the miracles of my son’s recovery and the miracles that have taken place in the building of this mission. I no longer seek comfort through drinking, binging or shopping, but rather I run to Mary. I give all my sufferings to Her for my love of Her because in Her graciousness She receives the sufferings of Her children as great gifts. As I bury myself in Her Mantle and weep in Her Consoling Arms, I ask Her to lay my sufferings at the Feet of Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and convert them into graces to be showered over those most in need of Her Maternal Love.

“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.”
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— Saint Francis de Sales

Those in need of the Maternal Love and Graces of Our Mother Mary are many. They are not only the homeless, the helpless, the hungry and the immigrant, but they are people like you and me. I believe sometimes we are in more need than those mentioned above because unlike my friend from the garden, we have lost our child-like innocence. We have become blinded by all we possess and command, and our egos make us believe we understand unequivocally the ways of Our Lord. I will tell you quite honestly my friends, the ways of the Lord are rarely logical, in fact they are so illogical they are the foundation of miracles. And Joseph’s House has most certainly been founded in miracles. We only need to take the time to remember them.

I have been blessed over the last seven years to be a part of this mission born through the love of Momma Mary for me Her prodigal daughter. All I do or attempt to do is for love of Her, in thanksgiving to Her and to bring others into the Kingdom of God. Every step taken is directed to me through a spiritual director who’s wisdom I have followed since 2010. I promise Our Lady daily, as I promise all of you I will follow the Will of God and continue the uphill battle for the love of Her and for the Glory of Her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. I will carry any cross gifted by the King of Heaven that leads to saving innocent lives and bettering the world for damaged young mothers through the ministry of Joseph’s House. We ask for your prayers and support for this mission of life and love as we pray for all of you as well. God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Embracing Change

Do not fear the changes of life, God, whose very own you are, will deliver you out of them all. He has kept you hitherto and he will lead you safely through all things . And when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms.
— St. Francis de Sales
Me and Javi

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Change is a constant at Joseph’s House. New moms coming in, new babies being born. Then there are moms leaving us after extended periods ready to spread their wings to re-unite with family and begin independent living. Moms and little ones we have become so attached to, they take away with them pieces of our hearts as we have grown to love them and their children as our own.

Genie and Jamal

There are changes with the little ones themselves as they grow learning to move, speak, joke and light up our lives in the most memorable ways. There are moms we have worked hard for, sacrificed for, who are not quite ready for the structure we are asking them to live within, who’s departures cause sleepless nights and restless hearts. There are volunteers and staff who have become part of our family and after years of service must depart. All in all, there is joy, there is heartbreak, there is movement forward and back and many times we might feel we are barely keeping our heads above water trying to keep all the moving parts going in the right direction.

Kimmy's birthday

Yet in the midst of all of this change, all this turbulence which for some causes doubt, angst and reeling, we find God. We find Him in a most dedicated staff who continue to move mountains for our moms and kids as they answer the call of Jesus for their lives. We find Him in old friends we do not hear from often but who are still praying for us fervently so we might do all Our Lord asks of us. We find Him in the mini miracles of meeting entirely by accident people we have only dreamed of meeting who then want to know more about us. We find Him in the murmurs of a cloistered nun who through her soft words makes us understand what we are pondering as stepping out faith, is God’s truth and Holy Will.  

What we have come to learn over the years at Joseph’s House is change is good for our faith. Change is a catalyst for more dependence on God. Change is a rake that stirs up the soil of our souls preparing them for new seed filled with new ideas from the Sower who is Jesus Christ, thus giving us the knowledge the seed He is sowing is His Holy Will for our ministry.  The seed as it germinates and sprouts, ignites within us a fire triggering the engines of our hearts and our imaginations providing the impetus for us to go outside the parameters of our earthly intellect and travel in humanly incomprehensible directions. Change tests our resolve, gives us grace under pressure and prepares us for trials we may face in the future.

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.
— Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Change is good, albeit uncomfortable and at times disappointing to the point of being unbearable, and yet, it is an incentive to gain patience, perseverance and fortitude and has the ability to make us all saints. Change is a magnet used by Our Lord to attract us to Him so we learn to surrender our direction totally to Him as we come to understand we can’t possibly handle all the crossroads before us alone.  Change is a gift from God He gives to test us, to make us stronger, to purify us so we might more closely resemble His perfection. Change breeds trust, hope and joy as we come to learn by navigating through it, He is right there by our side.

So, as we move forward each and every day encountering detours and unexpected problems, instead of being angered by the inconvenience of it all, let us resolve to take a deep breath and think about what Heaven is protecting us from, or what new direction Our Lord has in store. Let us always search in hope for the silver lining in the cloud that change hangs over our heads as we remember, Jesus is always there to show us the way should we simply take the time to ask and seek the new path He has planned for us. Our prayer today and everyday could be to embrace change so we might see how it is able to advance our mission and better our lives. Let us all consider giving that prayer a try! God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers.

Kitty

The Holy Moments of Joseph's House

Ava 2
What is a Holy Moment? A holy moment is when you make yourself completely available to God. You set self interest aside, you set aside what you want to do or feel like doing, and for that moment you do exactly what you sense God is calling you to do. The saints were masterful at taking the ordinary, everyday events of life and turning them into holy moments.
— Matthew Kelly- Dynamic Catholic

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Busy, busy, busy, that’s what summer is for many and exactly how it has been at Joseph’s House. In the midst of the busyness there have been the graces of witnessing holy moments given as gifts from others who have no idea they are creating and gifting holy moments at all. You might wonder how that is possible, but I would say holy moments are also spontaneous actions of kindness, random acts of gratefulness and thanks to others given from warm hearts and generous souls.

With 7 moms and 11 little ones, unsolicited kindness and gratefulness are observed daily. Summer break has filled our daycare and trips to and from Vacation Bible Schools have been many. The tiny voices of our 2 and 3-year-olds shouting our names as we approach daycare or our older kids when they see us coming to pick them up from VBS, gives us the longing and hope we can give them happiness and protection forever. A tiny toddler who spots you and runs around the corner to hide from you babbling joyously because he recognizes you and knows this kind of hide and seek is a special game the two of you share. Little text messages received from Exodus moms with words of thanks because once again Joseph’s House was there when she had a problem no one else would help her with and she is forever grateful. Colored pictures, poetic words, and tiny flowers from a mom facing many complicated issues as she wraps her arms around you and thanks you, letting you know she realizes no one in her entire life has ever gone to the lengths Joseph’s House has to assist her, to care for her, to love her. Radiant, wistful, cherubic faces glowing in carefree innocence as they run and play in the safety of our boundaries.

Outdoor Seraphina

All of these gracious blessings from those we serve are holy moments returned to us from God for all the holy moments we have given to Him in the building of and our service to His Mission. They are holy moments given freely and spontaneously from little children and their mothers, given to us from those Our Lord sends our way and who many times have no understanding of what holy is or holy moments are.

James

As a result, others responding to God’s grace bless us and more holy moments occur. Just two weeks ago alumni from Notre Dame University held a baby shower for our moms at the house. It was the perfect day for an outdoor picnic and the moms and kids as well as the staff enjoyed a glorious day of sunshine, giggles and good company. We are forever grateful to Rebecca Croucher who graciously organized the day with our House Manager Karen and to Pat Brusa for putting up and taking down the tent he lent to us. Also, a special thank you to Father Cliff Auth from St. Mary’s in Baldwinsville who took time out of a busy schedule to celebrate mass in our lovely little chapel. The abundance of gifts and goodies lit up the faces of our moms and kids who very often have never had brand-new possessions of their own. The offering of mass and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist created many more memorable moments as the chapel was filled with moms, kids, staff and friends. Thank you to all who attended and graciously gifted us with their presence at this special event.

Notre Dame
The brilliant and beautiful truth is you are just as capable of collaborating with God to create holy moments as the saints were.
— Matthew Kelly - Dynamic Catholic

So, my friends here is the challenge. Let us try this week to take those moments when we are struggling or want to give into our temptations and turn them into holy moments. It’s as easy as holding our tongue when we are angry with someone. It’s as easy as saying a Hail Mary helping us walk away from indulging in dessert, social media, or shopping. It is as easy as getting up a little early and reading and meditating upon a bible verse rather than sleeping in. It is as easy as giving up your morning run for daily mass and strengthening your soul which will live for eternity rather than your body which will one day turn to dust. I will promise you for every holy moment you give to Our Lord, He will double down and give you more holy moments from people you know well, and people you may not know at all, as that is the wonder of heaven and the glory of God. The reward is great and the joy insurmountable when we simply strive to look for and think of Jesus in all we do. May God bless all of you as you search for holy moments to give to Him and to others today, tomorrow and forever.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

The Optimism of Joseph's House

Optimism
Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism that leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God’s call.
— St. Josemaria Escriva

Sometimes it’s difficult to write these weekly updates. The problems and traumas our moms have faced and still face are so very enormous and have been so destructive to their minds, hearts, bodies and spirits, as staff we all could easily drown in sorrow. Many times, there seems to be no answer to the dilemmas and complications they bring to us because we believed such atrocities only existed in works of fiction. Unfortunately, we have come to understand evil does exist and many of those coming to us have been witness to it for as long as they can remember. And so, as our hearts break, our resolve grows and we find new ways to reunite moms with their children. We find new ways to work with other programs to support these women and help them heal their fractured lives. We find new ways to pray and call on Jesus, Mary and Joseph for the patience, strength and perseverance to assist these broken souls even though we are understaffed and overwhelmed and at times we may look and feel like the picture below.

Grumpy Seraphina

And then, all of a sudden, the consolations begin to appear, like little drops of cooling rain to soothe fried brains and frazzled nerves. Kisses from Jesus in the evening sky letting us know He is with us even in our uncertainty. Confirmation from people in far off states that our work is impressive to them and something they want to emulate, gleeful children delighting in one another as they play and make smores, and finally, loving comments of thanks and praise from the very moms we strive to serve letting us know, “Joseph’s House is home.”

Smores

Yes, three statements were made to different staff members who after a most troublesome and wearisome week, could have easily believed their recent work was totally ineffective. However, these most encouraging and heartening comments from our residents helped all understand no matter how much we might doubt our effectiveness, there is something special about Joseph’s House and the blessings it provides.

One mom from another part of the state let us know Syracuse will be her new permanent home because of her experience at Joseph’s House. Another resident who just returned after a few days away said, “I’m so happy to be back home, Joseph’s House is my home. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to come back home.”  A third mom who recently joined us, when asked what was the best thing she had done for herself this week answered, “I came here (to Joseph’s House) to live.”

And so once again my friends, Our Lord consoles our hearts and soothes our minds. Consoles us through the very people He entrusted to our care and asked us to console. His most vulnerable children, who have never known a measure of true love or compassion in their own lives and yet still have the courage to say yes to life for their children. The moms who have the courage to take on motherhood all alone and to come to live in community, so they might learn to love their children in ways they were never loved themselves.

These are just a few of the reasons why many days we say yes to moms and children others say no to. We say yes to moms in dire situations even though those situations are more than we might be able to immediately handle. We say yes to them because they are pregnant or have small children, are homeless and have nowhere to go. We say yes to them because Jesus Christ has continued to say an unequivocal yes for the past five years to this mission of life and love, letting us know He will lead us through the blind spots we encounter until we find answers to the dilemmas these young women bring our way.

These truths are the manifestation of our faith, the basis of our hope and the backbone of our most obstinate optimism because we have come to understand the demands of Our Lord for this, His mission. For this reason, we will continue the struggle to respond at every moment to God's call, saying yes as often as we are able for the Glory of His Kingdom and the safe-keeping of His children. A tall order for sure but most certainly an order filled with the grace and the blessings of Our Father in Heaven. God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Moving Up, Moving Out & Moving Forward

Searphina graduation.jpg

Happy Summer My Friends,

Hope you all had a restful and enjoyable 4th of July and are adjusting to the blessings of our extended warm, dry weather. As temperatures rise and the sun shines bright it’s the time of year we celebrate accomplishments gained through long roads traveled culminating with another grade level completed, as well as graduations from pre-k to post grads. The excitement of summits achieved and the anticipation of new horizons ahead envelope hearts with zeal for hope-filled new beginnings, while relishing thoughts of lazy summer days and a break from structured routines.

It is very much the same at Joseph’s House where in the past few weeks many of our little ones have graduated pre-k and kindergarten and are preparing for summer programs, new day cares, and more school at new grade levels in the fall. They are getting older, getting smarter and moving up in the world in new and exciting ways. Change is in the air too for some of our moms who have been with us for long periods of time and are preparing to move out on their own and transition to independence with their children. And finally, there are infants moving forward who have been in utero for nine months and have decided it’s time to make an entrance into their new, exhilarating outside world.

Graduation Noah

All this moving, up, out and forward can seem especially perilous to many moms calling us home because the complexities of the problems that have occurred in their lives are so very twisted and so very dark. We could never have foreseen five years ago when we opened our doors the turbulence, devastation and depravity of some of the traumas suffered by these young women. We could have never anticipated the destruction was multigenerational and included immediate and far extended family. It is no wonder they struggle with anxiety, depression and mental health problems making it most difficult for them to untangle 20 years of mistreatment in the 2 years they have with us.

This is one of the many reasons we at Joseph’s House are called to go further out on a limb for our moms and kids than anyone ever has before. We are called many days to walk a tightrope, so these young women might see evidence of how true compassion and the love of Christ are forged together. As we extend ourselves in unexpected ways and in new directions, we make this love and compassion evident, not only to them, but to those to whom we advocate on their behalf, as well as to those who have since cast them away.

We had many examples of all of us teetering on limbs and walking on tightropes with The Monica Miracles, written about last week. This week there were more crisis to be addressed and more high wire acts completed as we fought for a mom to get healthcare needed for years due to unrelenting abuse suffered since early childhood. This situation has been brewing throughout this young mom’s life, has come to a head and is finally being addressed due to the unrelenting persistence, assistance and compassion of all of our staff, most especially our Case Manager Rebecca. This young woman is now in a safe place getting the extended care she has required for years because of Joseph’s House. When she has addressed her problems and is in a better state of mental health, she knows she has a safe home and loving family to return to who will give her all the support she needs to become a strong, independent survivor and wonderful parent to her children as we continue helping her move forward in her life.

We have recently been confronted with another situation we never anticipated five years ago, which is helping moms gain custody of their children. However, hindsight being 20/20, we are able to now see how Our Lord has led us into these situations slowly and carefully. We are able to see clearly how He has been waiting for us to be prepared for them and how He has been instilling within us courage and confidence through past experiences to handle the complications they entail.

You see Jesus always prepares us, although we may be unaware until we find ourselves in the midst of a situation that would once have caused a panic attack, but is now handled calmly with gravitas and discernment. These are situations where we encounter people who in the past would have intimidated us. People we know are more educated than we are and have vast experience in their respective fields while we have none.  At these times we remind ourselves of our total surrender to God’s Holy Will as we find ourselves serving as an arbitrator, making split second decisions, and fighting battles in legalese for which we have no real comprehension. And yet somehow by the Grace of God, words of conviction are spoken from the unschooled, the court battle is won and the underdog prevails. The next thing you know we are at the hospital whisking away a jubilant mom’s newborn child taking her HOME, to the place that will forever be her first home, our home at Joseph’s House.

Ava

While that conflict was taking place, there was another happening 120 miles away right here in Syracuse where a real lawyer, our Executive Director Bronson, continued a plea for sole custody for another mom for her children. This situation has been ongoing since March and once again, another hard-fought battle was won, another great result achieved because of the courage and perseverance of Bronson and a mission built on the foundation of forgiveness and compassion that is always seeking the way that is Jesus Christ.

I can honestly say we are all exhausted by the weeks’ events, almost to the point of delirium, but so filled with awe that we are invigorated with hope and wonder. This hope and wonder are another gift that comes in being filled with the Holy Spirit as it gives us the motivation to keep moving up in reliance towards Jesus, moving out to extend our comfort zones according to His Will and moving forward towards more victories for His most precious children in unforeseen and incredible ways. What an adventure it is and what an adventure it will continue to be as we step out daily in faith for our moms, for their children and for Our Father in Heaven. We have positions available if you would like to be a part of the hope and wonder that is the Joseph’s House mission, a mission moving up, moving out and moving forward! God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

The Monica Miracles

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I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5

The above quote from John is my favorite and it is the quote that was a catalyst for me as we worked to build Joseph’s House. Our hope and prayer at Joseph’s House is to always be fruitful branches on the Vine that is Our Lord Jesus Christ. Some days it’s easier to see the fruit than others and in the past few months we seem to have a bumper crop made up of a series of miracles we never saw coming our way.

Since our fifth anniversary celebration on March 19th of this year the miracles have included three more newborn babies making us a family with 55 newborn children who will forever call Joseph’s House their first home. The newborn miracles are what one might expect at a home like ours, however recently we have been gifted with a series of unexpected and somewhat phenomenal happenings we will refer to as The Monica Miracles.

Monica, born and raised in Ghana, Africa, came to us on March 26th of this year through a referral from our friends, the Sisters of Life. She went to the Sisters because she was a single mom expecting her second child, she was losing her apartment and she was all alone. Wanting to leave the NYC area, Joseph’s House seemed a good fit for her. We had taken in 3 new moms a few days prior to her arrival, so Monica’s intake was delayed a bit. On the day she was to meet with our Case Manager Rebecca, Monica was found unresponsive on her bedroom floor, her 13-month-old sitting in his crib looking confused and afraid. An ambulance was called and Monica, along with our CM Rebecca left for the Hospital.

The two amazing nurses who worked to save Monica’s life when she was in most critical condition. The visited Joseph’s House and brough in donations collected from their hospital unit for Mother’s Day.

The two amazing nurses who worked to save Monica’s life when she was in most critical condition. The visited Joseph’s House and brough in donations collected from their hospital unit for Mother’s Day.

The prognosis was not good. Monica had suffered an extreme episode of eclampsia. Doctors were able to safely deliver her little boy by c-section and were simply amazed he was born entirely healthy. Soon after delivering her child Monica went into cardiac arrest five times. Doctors and staff did chest compressions on her for five hours. She lost copious amounts of blood and was placed on a massive tranfusion protocol; the hospital nearly ran out of their supply of her blood type due to the number of transfusions. Monica was transferred to another near by hospital, a Level One Trauma Center. Doctors and nurses both let Rebecca and Bronson know they had never seen trauma like this. They gave little hope for her survival.

In the first week we constantly anticipated bad news. Bronson & Rebecca found themselves in the position of being Monica’s advocates and in charge of making her medical decisions as the few family members she had in the States were unknown . Rebecca and Bronson rarely left her side and conducted Joseph’s House business from ICU at the hospital for 19 days. Monica was showing few signs of responsiveness during these days. The complications were many, no one was sure how she was surviving but they remained hopeful. Over the next 7 weeks as she struggled to gain consciousness, many life-threatening complications occurred from blood clots, to infections and emergency surgeries to stop internal bleeding. Doctors were not sure she would recover and if she did, there was the possibility of longterm damage.

Back at Joseph’s House our other residents were scared, they were tearful and overcome with emotion thinking someone they considered a new friend may not survive and so we prayed with them. We encouraged them to pray on their own. We shared with them and with all our staff and prayer warriors, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer we learned was a favorite of Monica’s and her family in Ghana. Many who had never heard of this prayer of God’s unfathomable mercy began reciting it and sending it on to others so they might pray for a miracle for this young mother and her children. Soon people all over Syracuse, in NYC and Long Island, down in Texas and in Kenya and Ghana were praying for Monica and the baby steps needed for her recovery began to take hold. The Divine Mercy image was displayed in Monica’s room the very first week she arrived in the hospital. The Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by Trish Short was played for Monica and although we were unsure she could hear at all, she responded to this prayer with tears even while in her coma. Her rosary was wrapped around her fingers and specific prayers were said asking the Blessed Mother to help Monica move her hands. The prayers were answered as her fingers regained movement & dexterity.

The doctors and nurses were amazed at the progress she was beginning to make, they were overcome with the dedication of our Joseph House staff most especially Rebecca and Bronson who were on the short list of visitors allowed to see Monica. They were also overtaken with the faith they observed from our staff members and some of them were moved to include the Divine Mercy Chaplet in their own prayers as well. The moms at the house began to realize God was hearing their prayers and their prayers were helping Monica to improve, to heal. Seeds of faith were being planted and sowed in our home and in far off places because of the tragedy suffered by this beautiful young mother. Through this tragedy and suffering God rained down mercy, and blessings abounded for Monica and for all those she touched. We could all see clearly Our Lord’s miraculous work through the hands of the doctors and nurses and in the transformations in Monica’s recovery. Most importantly the transforming power of prayer was made clearly evident to many of our residents and acquaintances near and far.

After 56 days, Monica returned to Joseph’s House on May 28th and was soon reunited with her children. She is still recovering and with the love and support of our staff, the other moms, volunteers and everyone’s prayers, she continues to improve becoming stronger every day.

As if all of these miracles of healing and the spreading of prayer were not enough, yesterday we learned of more miracles. It turns out Monica has an uncle in Ghana who is a priest. His name is Father Jacob and he traveled here to visit Monica and do some other priestly works. As He prepared to leave Ghana, he remembered a priest he had gone to seminary with in Ghana 33 years ago. He knew his friend was somewhere in the US but had no idea where. Imagine his surprise when he was reunited with his old friend, Msgr. Francis who just happened to be right here in Syracuse, New York at St. Rose of Lima Church. As if this GODincidence was not enough, Father Jacob also realized a Sister he knew 20 years ago was also here in Syracuse and so they all visited at Joseph’s House Friday evening, old friends brought together through a young mother’s tragedy, Our Lord’s intervention and Joseph’s House.

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Saturday morning Father Jacob gifted us with Holy Mass at Joseph’s House. It was attended by fifteen of the prayer warriors responsible for much of Monica’s healing. It was an incredible morning where the GODincidences of Monica’s journey became abundantly apparent to all. Father Jacob led me to understand through his words of wisdom; Joseph’s House is a branch bearing fruit on the Vine that is Jesus Christ. He made us understand without Joseph’s House, Monica and her two children may not have survived. He explained that in Ghana they don’t have hospitals to deal with the complications she experienced and if she had been in NYC in her apartment, no one would have found her and her 13-month-old because she was so very alone. He added that Joseph’s House is the vehicle Our Lord used to reunite old friends from Ghana in Syracuse NY, as well as family members unseen for seven years who flew in from Chicago this weekend to visit him, Monica and the children.

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There are more Monica Miracles to report in car loads of donations received from the Crouse Hospital nursing staff and new relationships built because so many new people have come to learn about our work. Bronson was told by doctors and nurses from the hospitals they have never witnessed an agency so dedicated and concerned for a client. This comment is testimony to Bronson and Rebecca who spent endless hours at Monica’s bedside to be sure she had “family” she could count on, to be sure she understood they would be God’s presence for her during all her difficulties.

I truly believe there are more Monica Miracles being prepared by Our Father in Heaven for Monica, her children and family and for Joseph’s House. We will be sure to keep you updated on all of them as they appear and until then we will work hard to remain in Christ as He remains in us so we might bear much fruit for Him and His Kingdom. God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Counting the Baby Steps

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The success of the moms at Joseph’s House depends upon accepting a series of changes to their lives. The most important changes to begin the journey of independence and success is a young woman’s willingness to work hard, follow the rules and give up habits that have held her back in the past. Although this may sound impossible for many, we have seen first-hand it is possible with the correct amount of maturity, resilience and surrender. We have had the blessing of witnessing to many stubborn yet courageous women as they come to understand giving up their freedom in some small ways means gaining their freedom in bigger ones. This seems to happen most often when all are inclined and prepared to work in implements, when all are willing to take baby steps.

Baby steps are the stepping stones for all of us to change our not so endearing proclivities and improve our lives. Whether it is to regain our health, to improve our job skills, attain a diploma, grow in our faith or begin a mission, everything starts in increments linked together by momentum, sometimes building slowly and methodically and other times building very quickly. There is often times a dilemma that occurs as the increments and baby steps take us down a path where we try to ascertain if what we are attempting to achieve is founded in God, backed up by need, and is logical in an infinite number of ways.

We have learned with Joseph’s House often times the paths to success defy logic, not only for our moms but for the growth of our ministry. For the moms, these paths are created in unexpected ways, at times through a single conversation, hastening their resolve to succeed thereby pushing them uphill from a long-standing plateau. For our mission, the unexpected introduction of a person met after a Baby Bottle Drive or through a tour, may be the catalyst for growth simply because Our Lord has been leading our paths to intersect in small increments and by baby steps for several months, or perhaps even several years. Many such people have appeared time and time again at Joseph’s House and through their gifts have been the basis for moms to find a road to success leading them to lives of independence. These same people are also often the manifestation of answered prayers giving us opportunities to grow our mission and to move forward following the lead of Jesus.

Circumstances like those mentioned above occur because God has been working in the lives of all of us and all who come to us in increments and baby steps since before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs. He has been opening the doors of our hearts, widening the parameters of our minds and expanding the depth of love in our souls throughout our entire lives so many lost children might find a way to Him because of the good works He has planned. He has been lining things up, getting ducks in a row and bringing the pieces of an intricate puzzle together sometimes slowly and other times quickly, to create a community of love, respect and service to those most in need.

My hope and prayer for all of you is to recognize the working of God through the increments and baby steps in your own lives. As you reflect on all the coincidences leading you to the place you now reside, you will see in hindsight how Our Lord works straight with crooked lines. You will see where you veered off His intended path and come to understand how He put you back on course despite some poor decisions. You will see clearly the difference between the ease of following God’s plan for life and the turbulence when insisting upon following your own. You will be able to undeniably embrace the belief that giving up your personal freedom in small ways results in gaining God’s freedom in bigger and better ways. As the twists and turns of all this contemplation become clear, seeds of gratitude will be scattered and take root deep within you and you will come to comprehend Our Lord’s purpose in giving us rules to follow, bumpy roads to travel, as well as the consummate love He has for each and every one of you. Enjoy the memories my friends, take stock of the increments, count the baby steps and be grateful! God Bless you always.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Everything is Better with God

Our Joseph’s House Student Auxiliary at our Birdies for Babies Golf Event

Our Joseph’s House Student Auxiliary at our Birdies for Babies Golf Event

Happy Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday Everyone! What a blessing to have Father’s Day and Trinity Sunday celebrated together. The two celebrations are a heavenly match for sure, as a dad couldn’t ask for better role models than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, along with Saint Joseph to lead him through the ups and downs of work and family. We are grateful to all of you dads who do your best to love, support and provide for your families as well as be role models for all our sons and daughters. Thank you for being there for your families, and for our communities.

It’s been an incredibly busy week for Joseph’s House once again. It kicked off on Monday in Skaneateles at our sold out 5th Annual Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament. We prayed for days for the rain to not appear but God had other plans. As the skies threatened I recalled a Mother Angelica story where she prayed for sunshine for the out-door opening of her short-wave radio facility. The clouds were low that day and the rains fell and Mother was disappointed Our Lord didn’t answer her prayers. She said to Him, “Why did we have to have rain today?” and He answered, “Angelica, I wanted to be here too.”

Although our prayers went unanswered for the weather and the heavens opened and the rain fell hard, our spirits were not dampened, because we knew God wanted to be with us in Skaneateles, just as He wanted to be with Mother Angelica in Alabama, to celebrate our fifth year of serving His most precious children.

We were truly overwhelmed by the patience, perseverance and good humor displayed by all the golfers who became more than a little bit wet and only completed three to six holes before calling it a day.  Eight foursomes completed all 18 holes of golf while everyone else hung out in the bar sharing stories and laughs with one another. With one hundred forty four golfers and nearly two hundred for dinner including our moms, kids and many staff members, Skaneateles Country Club was filled. Guests won many high-end raffle prizes, enjoyed delicious food and great company while learning more about the latest accomplishments of our moms and the miracle stories of our mission. It was a wet and chilly day but it was a day filled with the warmth of laughter, good will and compassionate hearts and an open bar for many hours! God is good my friends, and the day was better because we saw Him in the rain and felt His presence, as He blessed us with another very successful event raising substantial funds for our mission of Joseph’s House. Many thanks to all who attended and sponsored this fantastic event and thanks be to God.

The rest of this week we have been doing the daily work of serving our moms and kids. Our staff continues to amaze us with depths of their talents and commitment to our ministry. Many interviews of potential moms have taken place and the phone seems to be ringing off the hook from those in need of food, shelter, love and support. Yesterday morning I heard from a mom who was with us our first year and is now living in Connecticut. She sent photos of her son’s pre-k graduation. When I thanked her for remembering us she texted back to me, “How could I forget you. You guys gave me and my child shelter when we had nothing. You will always mean the world to me. My only regret is falling for fake love and leaving before I was ready, but God held on tight to our hands and now, all is amazing”

Those words certainly brightened my day as just before this mom texted I was having one of those moments where I wondered if our work was making a difference to anyone at all. Her message right at that time was certainly a little gift of consolation from Our Lord and confirmation that even on the tough days we are making a difference. We are planting seeds of faith in the hearts and souls of women who once had none simply by loving them as He loves us. Simply by being His hands and feet for others. Simply by speaking the truth in charity and helping all who enter our home come to believe everything is better with God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. May the blessings of the Holy Trinity be yours today and everyday.

 God Bless you my friends.

 Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Immersed in the Spirit

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Happy Pentecost Sunday from this tiny, wistful wonder of God’s creation. This precious child is one of many now residing with us and each and every one is a wellspring of joy and amazement to us daily. We are charmed and delighted by their exuberance as they grow in the warmth of our loving home and we thank God we are able to be a safe haven for them, their moms, and all our Joseph’s House family.

Pentecost is one of my favorite Feast Days and so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite prayers directed towards the Third Person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit. It is a prayer that easily brings tears to my eyes as I offer myself to the Paraclete, our God of Love. It is the prayer that rescues me from gloomy moods, soothes my anxiety and fills me with awe as the words deliver me to a peaceful place where the depths of the love of Jesus for His prodigal children are made apparent. It is the prayer where I recall life’s sorrows and miracles and see perfectly how Our Lord and Savior is always at the center of each and every experience. It is the prayer empowering me to unearth the magnificent omnipotence of He who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, illuminating me with a knowledge of His endearment for all those He has chosen.

Perhaps you will consider adding these enchanting words to your daily prayers, gifting yourself to God’s Holy Will through total surrender. As you repeat the words each day strengthening your soul, grace will overtake your heart and you will come to understand how offering your entire being to the Advocate results in becoming completely fulfilled and thoroughly immersed in the Spirit .

God Bless you my friends,

Love & Prayers,

Kitty


PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

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Holy Spirit God of Love, be present to me

Accept this offering of myself I make to you.

Receive my hands, my feet, my eyes, my tongue and all my senses.

Receive my memory, my will, my understanding, my sighs,

the longing and aspirations of my heart.

Receive my every moment, my every hour and all the happenings of my life.

Holy Spirit God of Love, knit my soul to yours.

Let your love possess my whole being, my powers, my inspirations, my very life.

Let your love rule my labor and my rest, my going and my staying and move me as it pleases.

Let your love humble or exalt me, calm me or disquiet me and burn away all of my faults.

Holy Spirit God of Love, nothing will cause me fear as long as your love enfolds me, for your desire to give is greater than my desire mine to receive

Transform me into yourself, so I may no longer know myself, nor find myself except in you.