Where Is Your Calcutta?

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Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools….You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see”
— St Mother Theresa of Calcutta

I can remember clearly trying to fulfill the promise made to Jesus, “I will do whatever You want me to do if only you give my son back to me.”  I promised Our Lord on May 1, 2004. I kept searching for disaster areas all over the world where I could help believing I had to go far and wide to keep my promise. I wanted to go to Haiti when the earthquakes and hurricanes hit in 2008 and 2010. I wanted to join the Knights of Malta so I could travel to Lourdes, France and care for the infirm. I wanted to go to New Orleans when Katrina hit in 2005. I kept looking everywhere for what God wanted me to do and never considered looking in my own back yard. I never considered looking at home.

I have lived a blessed life growing up in safe, secure homes in some of the loveliest areas of Central New York. I can honestly say I never had the eyes to see what was happening here at home. I would drive through the southwest side of town and see the poverty, see people pushing grocery carts filled with their belongings, but it never occurred to me once I might be able to help my immediate neighbors right here at home.

Syracuse NY is ranked one of the poorest cities in the nation. One out of two children here go to bed hungry at night. The homeless population is staggering and growing. The abortion numbers for unmarried young women are high. You can see from the State Department of Health the number of women of child bearing age in Onondaga County in 2015.  You can also see the number of induced abortions in Onondaga County in 2015. Of course, these numbers do not include the number of abortions induced by the morning after pill.  You can also see the number of out of wedlock pregnancies in 2015. 

As they say, our lives come full circle at some point and for me the awakening came in front of planned parenthood on March 19, 2009. The minute I stepped foot on the sidewalk I knew I had found how to fulfill my promise made to Our Lord nearly five years before. I somehow understood He wanted me to serve those considering abortion, those who suffered not only from material poverty, but from the deeper poverty, the poverty of soul. I have never suffered from material poverty, however, I was and still am familiar with the deeper poverty of soul as I had spent at least 30 years of my life totally bankrupt in that regard.

You see as a young person in my early 20’s, I entered the building at pp and chose death over life, not once but twice. For more than forty years I have wondered about those children. I wonder who they might have become, who they may have married, how many more grandchildren I might have. I wonder who is suffering and alone because I have taken their best friend or their spouse. I think about the countless generations of people I wiped out, the descendants I destroyed.  I sit in mass many Sunday mornings and see three, sometimes four generations of families sitting together filling an entire pew delighting in one another because they did everything right, as I sit alone with tears in my eyes and a broken heart knowing I did everything wrong....and yet God forgives me.

In leading me to the spot under the tree in front of the sign at pp, the sign leading all to believe our plans for life are better than God's, Our Lord gave me the opportunity to make total reparation for the sins of my youth and let me know in the very first moment I arrived there He had forgiven me. I found my Calcutta on the sidewalk at 1120 East Genesee St. in Syracuse, New York. The very same place I made the biggest mistakes of my life.

O God, who show the light of your truth
to those who go astray,
so that they may return to the right path, give all who for the faith they profess are accounted Christians the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honor.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Go, prophesy to my people.
— From today's opening Collect at mass

When I spoke with the young women in front of planned parenthood they all said the same thing. Their family would throw them out if they had the baby, they couldn’t afford to support their babies, their boyfriends threatened to leave if they chose life for their babies. I could relate to all of those dilemmas and the fear they induced and I believe that is why Joseph’s House exists. Joseph’s House gives all moms an opportunity to choose life, learn the true love of family, and find the path God has for their lives. Joseph's House can rebuild the deepest poverty in the young lives of these mothers, the poverty of soul.

I am not the least bit qualified to do this work but will strive always to do it as our Lord permits, for this work is my Calcutta, it is the plan given to me by Our Lord in reparation for the greatest sin a mother can commit against her children. My Calcutta has given me the gift of the showering of God’s mercy on my most bankrupt soul. My Calcutta has given me the opportunity to cradle a new born child in my arms knowing he or she has been saved despite my sin and because of my sin. My Calcutta has brought the most fulfilling joy to my life as I have come to realize I am cherished by God My Father no matter my past transgressions. My Calcutta is striving to always implement His plan to save the lives of His most precious children two generations at a time. Perhaps your Calcutta is the same, to help us do this most heavenly inspired work curtailing material poverty, poverty of soul and saving innocent lives right here in your own backyard, right here at home.

God Bless You My Friends,

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

Finding Inner Peace

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Happy Sunday My Friends!

This morning, as every morning the first thing I did after prayer was turn on EWTN. You may or may not be familiar with EWTN, but it is the world-wide Catholic television network founded by Mother Angelica and her twelve nuns with the $200 they had in savings. The first thing I saw on the television screen this morning was this:

Inner peace comes from knowing one is loved by God and then responding to His love
— St. Pope John Paul II

 

The thought immediately occurred to me “This is true!” as I know I had no inner peace in my life until I set out on the path to try and make Our Lord in Heaven my best friend. The next thought in my head was “I wish everyone knew this,” and then, “I hope we teach this to our moms at Joseph’s House.” And then I remembered some Facebook posts I saw recently from our alumni moms and I realized “Maybe we are teaching them that. Whew!”

So, what do our moms say in their Facebook posts? When they are mentoring to one another, little golden nuggets like this;

“Someone at Joseph’s House once told me when things get to be too much or I get stressed out or scared about anything to pray to God and say “Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” I have come to say this daily and then I step back and ask myself “What do I do with this situation?”, and at some point, not always immediately the answer comes to me in a gut feeling or the whole situation changes. I’ve learned to accept things that frustrate me and usually ruin my day, because what is happening usually is what I need to happen, so in the future I can handle a bigger problem that may be coming around the corner. I hope whatever is getting you down goes away.”

And just this week from one of our grateful moms, this gem;

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord” Isaiah 54:10

These moms have found inner peace as they center themselves in Christ. They are responding to this inner peace by sharing Christ with others and sharing their gratefulness with us. Moms once abused, surrounded by drugs and violence have come to realize they are loved by God and now have the capacity to teach their children and others the same truth. This is one of the abundant blessings of working in a ministry such as Joseph’s House. Most of the time we don’t even know we are teaching our moms anything. We are so conditioned to look at what we are doing wrong, what needs to be improved and putting out the day to day fires of life lived in community, we have no idea we are at times teaching and succeeding. Then we are blessed to see posts like this, or receive a thank you note from a mom, or have someone give us a grateful hug, and we know we are at least on the right track.

This all happens because we have come to understand we are loved by God, and His love allows us to love others. Through His love we are given the inner peace we need to see through the obstacles in our path knowing on just the other side of them there is a grace, a blessing, a solution we could never have found if we did not first have this problem. We then realize the gift this problem brought to us and see how it has made our faith grow and we remember again we are truly wrapped in His Merciful Cloak of Love. Inner peace has nothing to do with ourselves, it has nothing to do with being centered in ourselves or even loving ourselves, it has to do with understanding WE ARE LOVED BY GOD! As our parish priest Father Dunn said this week at mass on the Feast of St Thomas, “We are treasured by God.” Does that not boggle your mind and bring you to tears? The one and only Creator of the Universe LOVES YOU, He TREASURES YOU! This thought alone, of being treasured by Him, that He Holds Us in His Most Sacred Heart because we are special to Him, is enough to get me through the trials and tribulations of daily life. I pray it is for you as well.

As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless Lord, until they rest in you.” We pray you have or will soon find the inner peace that comes from resting in God and basking in His love. Please pray all the moms and children of Joseph’s House find the same peace and love as well.  

God bless you my Friends,

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

Following The Rules

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How is it possible we are halfway through 2018 already? I’m not sure where the time goes but I can tell you not a minute of it is wasted at Joseph’s House.

 

House staff and volunteers are taking full advantage of the weather with many outings to parks, outdoor life-skill classes, and attending events such as a recent movie night at Lemoyne College. Senior staff is busy writing grants, planning Baby Bottle Drives, working on our fifth anniversary dinner as well as on the expansion of our Exodus program and meeting with our benefactors. Joseph’s House is driven by all of the people Our Lord so graciously sends our way from our daycare and life-skills volunteers, to our in-house staff, our senior staff, our Board of Directors and our Junior Auxiliary students We are forever grateful to all of them for without them, we simply do not exist. Our residents had the chance to stay cool this really hot weekend by enjoying Green Lakes State Park Beach!

Our newest mom is expecting her first child in four months. She came to us from a community resource center as do many of our moms. She is an example of the type of mom who has the potential to be another Joseph’s House success story. She is a follower of our rules as she has learned not following God's rules has consequences. Consequences including being homeless and pregnant without any support. She is no longer all alone, she now has a roof over her head, food on the table and help navigating her pregnancy because of Joseph's House.

She is up early each morning and although she has only been with us a week, she has found a job and enrolled at Bryant and Stratton College. She is tremendously independent, upbeat and a go-getter however she still needs the support, encouragement and skills provided by all our staff to keep her on track and moving forward. We are blessed to have her as she is the type of mom who makes our days bright and is a role model to others.

So how about you? Are you a rules follower? I can honestly say it took many years for me to realize following the rules is much easier than not following them. Who would ever believe true freedom is found in following rules? Independence is gained, respect is garnered, happiness and joy prevail if one only follows the rules. This unpopular truth certainly sounds counter cultural in this day and age.

The rules I am speaking of here are the rules of God, and the greatest rule of all. As Jesus told the Pharisees“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[b] Matthew 22:36-40

This rule is the guiding light of our mission and our home. As we follow all of God’s commandments especially His greatest one, we find we grow in unshakable faith. This gift of faith has been given to us as we follow His mandates and it arrives with the expectation that in His service with much discernment, we will always go out on limbs, make bold statements and speak the truth in faith in all we say and do, whether or not it is convenient or whether or not it is politically correct.

In today’s gospel story Jesus is ridiculed by the crowd when He tells them the synagogue official’s daughter “….is not dead, but asleep” and then tells the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith."

The hemorrhaging woman had so much faith in Jesus she said “If I but touch His cloak I will be healed.” And as she grazed his clothing with her hand Jesus was aware the power had gone out of him and He told the woman “Daughter your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” Mark 5:21-43.

This is the depth of faith we constantly pray we cultivate at Joseph’s House, the depth of faith we hope to instill in our moms and little ones. It’s not easy at times as there are constant setbacks and countless hardships affecting the moms and children we serve. However, each time we take on a problem we don’t believe we have the capacity to handle, our Lord gifts us with an unexpected resolution we would have never thought of ourselves. He is always lining up the dominoes in heaven for those who follow His rules, step out in faith and serve Him in joy. When the domino line-up is complete, Our Lord gives His affirming touch and the dominoes collapse in rhythmic precision. This is when problems are solved, miracles occur and we are renewed in our awe and trust of Our Lord and Our Church. How blessed we are to be a part of His heavenly work, to be counter cultural, to speak the truth in love to all those we encounter because in all of this we have found the true freedom only procured in following the rules, the Rules of God.

God Bless you my friends!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

"How do I pray?"

Happy Sunday My Friends!

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It’s been very busy at Joseph’s House again! If you keep up with our Facebook page you know we have had many success stories in the past few months. Many new little ones born, two high school graduations, a college graduation and moms transitioning from our home to live independently on their own.

In thinking about the mission of Joseph’s House as we began, we thought we would be giving homeless moms and their babies a home. That was and is our mission to give these despairing Children of God a safe home filled with love, comfort and structure so they one day are able to succeed on their own. In our shortsightedness we believed volunteers would be rocking babies, finding jobs & housing would be easy and all those moms we assisted would be forever grateful.

We never considered the babies would rapidly grow into toddlers, safe housing for minimum wage job earners would be difficult and some moms would look at us as another opportunity to take advantage of offered services. However, through all of these realizations and bumps in the road we have somehow thrived and grown our house to a home, family and now a community. Our mission we believed was centered only on the happenings of our home, our moms and little ones has grown into a mission of Evangelization for all those who work, volunteer, support and hear about us through Facebook, in churches and wherever we are given the opportunity to share our story. How did this happen?

It happened through prayer.

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One of our moms recently asked. “How do I pray?” What a great question! Prayer is most certainly personal. When the Apostles asked Jesus how to pray they were given the Our Father prayer. Bishop Robert Barron says,

“What is prayer, and how should we pray? Prayer is intimate communion and conversation with God. Judging from Jesus’ own life, prayer is something that we ought to do often, especially at key moments of our lives.

Well, how should we pray? What does it look like? You have to pray with faith, and according to Jesus’ model, you have to pray with forgiveness. The efficacy of prayer seems to depend on the reconciliation of differences.

You also have to pray with persistence. One reason that we don’t receive what we want through prayer is that we give up too easily. Augustine said that God sometimes delays in giving us what we want because he wants our hearts to expand.

Finally, we have to pray in Jesus’ name. In doing so we are relying on his influence with the Father, trusting that the Father will listen to him.”

We most certainly have a persistent group of prayer warriors at Joseph’s House. They meet after our monthly mass at the house for an hour and pray exclusively for this mission of Christ. Led by Teresa Brusa from Holy Family, this gathering of holy souls is the lifeblood of our ministry. They sustain us and keep us going through their daily prayers and giving of their time each month to speak to Our Lord solely for Joseph’s House. What an incredible gift they give to us!

For me, prayer always begins in thanksgiving. I am so in awe of the wonder and power of God and how He translates our merest thoughts into answered prayers. I cannot look at a sunrise or sunset or a cloud or a flower without praising His Creation. I cannot look into the tiny face of a newborn child or the mischievous smile of a toddler without my heart singing for joy. I cannot look at the successes of these mother’s as they graduate and not be profoundly humbled and marvel at the fact that Our Father in Heaven has allowed me to be a part of all of the miracles of Joseph’s House. And so, my prayers always begin in thanksgiving and at times they never get any further than that. Should they go beyond thanks they always include any personal suffering being united with Christ in His Passion. Something as mundane and painful as a migraine headache is an opportunity to meditate on the Crown of Thorns that pierced His Most Holy Head penetrating to His brain. In uniting our pain with His for the Glory of His Kingdom we are praying for Joseph’s House, for one another and for Our Lord’s Holy Will to always be done. The graces obtained from this unification include giving a purpose to our pain and making it fruitful. Uniting our pain with the pain of Jesus also helps us grow in wisdom and understanding of the ways of God.

I am blessed my friends to have you take your precious time to read these words and am forever grateful for all you do for Joseph’s House and all you serve on behalf of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God Bless you always, you are in our prayers!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

Happy Father's Day

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It's been a busy couple weeks at Joseph's House.  This beautiful Father's Day weekend provides us a chance to reflect not only on our own fathers but on our patron- the foster father of Jesus Christ- St. Joseph.  I read something recently that talked about God's purposeful selection of St. Joseph as the earthly father to Jesus.  Out of all the people that God could have chosen to be the father to Jesus and the husband to Mary- He chose the unknown, humble carpenter from Nazareth. Not a courageous military leader, not an earthly king or leader, not a well known teacher- an unknown tradesman from a town in the middle of nowhere.

God, with his supreme creativity, could have orchestrated a host of other options for the earthly raising of the child Jesus. God could have chosen for Jesus to be born and raised by a single mother.  God could have sent Elizabeth to help Mary.  Think of the importance that St. Joseph played in the formative years of of the life of our Heavenly King? The first time Jesus called out to his Father- would have likely been to St. Joseph.  What type of man would God have chosen to fill such an important role? How could God have possibly chosen one who did not reflect the earthly embodiment of his own image of fatherhood? It's the image of love- the supreme love of the Father. If such a magnificent role was divinely selected for the unknown carpenter from Nazareth- think of the possibilities of God's plan for our lives? Or the lives of the innocent young children born to the women at Joseph's House?  St. Joseph! Pray for us!


On June 11, we held our 4th Annual Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament.  This event has become a premiere event for Joseph's House and seems to be growing in popularity and success every year.  This year a field of 136 golfers spent the most beautiful day at Skaneateles Country Club in fellowship with the fellow golfers and raising money and support for Joseph's House.  The day was capped off with a wonderful cocktail hour on the patio with panoramic views of Skaneateles Lake and a delicious dinner.  

This year, as a special treat, we were also able to bring all our residents out to enjoy the evening.  Nothing we can ever say can when we speak publicly about Joseph's House could ever replace seeing the beautiful smiling faces or the excited laughs of the children born into Joseph's House. The children had a lot of fun playing with our Junior Auxiliary high school volunteers and helping us pull raffle tickets for all our prizes.

The highlight of the evening was having one of our alumni Exodus moms join us to share a little bit of her story with our guests.  Aubrey lived at Joseph's House when she had her beautiful little boy Josiah.  She had been kicked out by her family.  Her child's father had left her when she was 7 months pregnant and, as she says below, the way she met Kitty and planned to move in "seemed like God had planned it." Aubrey started taking classes at Bryant and Stratton while she was a resident in 2016.  In March of this year, Aubrey graduated with an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, has passed the Civil Servants exam and is on her way to becoming a City of Syracuse Police Officer. 

A few days after our Golf Tournament, two more of our Exodus moms walked across the graduation stage.  Both of these moms earned their high school equivalency diploma's while residing at Joseph's House and with the support and assistance of the Joseph's House staff. One had her beautiful daughter while residing at our home before moving out into our Exodus program, the other came to us very newly pregnant with her beautiful young son.  She moved out after reconciling with family a few months after she moved in and is set to have her child later this summer.  Both of these women have learned how to be good moms to their beautiful children, continued their education for better opportunities in their lives and have bright futures ahead of them!

They are the successes of the hard work, patience and prayers of so many involved at Joseph's House.  By showing them that God has a plan for their lives, and encouraging them to have faith in the path before them, we can help them achieve successes they could have never dreamed of.  All of this is of course thanks to the support and dedication of so many of our benefactors who continued to bless us with their support and provide us the means to continue to minister to so many in need in our community. 

From all of us at Joseph's House, Happy Father's Day.

God bless,

Bronson

Mary Our Mediatrix

 Mary’s Garden Established May 15, 2010

Mary’s Garden Established May 15, 2010

Happy Sunday & Feast of Corpus Christie,

I can honestly tell you Our Blessed Mother is always on my mind. The fact the entire month of May is dedicated to Our Lady gave me the opportunity recently to reflect a little more often on Her intercession in my life and the history of Joseph's House. 

Mary is the reason I am able to share with you the story of Joseph’s House. She welcomed me, a great sinner and most wayward, prodigal daughter of God humbled by the near death of my child, and delivered me to the feet of Jesus through Her prayer, the Rosary. I have not found appropriate ways to thank this most loving Mother, Mediatrix of Our Lord’s Mercy and Grace and so I simply try to explain how She changed my life.

The inspirations given for Joseph’s House were three-fold. And when Our Lord placed the first two steps in my heart in Adoration on St. Joseph’s Day 2010, I can remember saying to Him, “Lord, you know my husband and that’s NEVER going to happen!”  The next thought heard in my heart was, “Start with a garden.”

I left Adoration that day filled with excitement and anticipation and yet had no idea how I was going to ask my husband if I could plant a garden behind his business.

I felt there was an urgency to placing the garden where Our Lord directed, however the fear of rejection of the idea was high. Finally, on May 5th, 2010 while walking near our church, we stopped at the Grotto of Our Lady to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the healing of our son. I looked at Our Lady and whispered quietly in my head, “I don’t know when to ask him about the garden.” The immediate answer placed in my heart was, “Ask him right now.” And so, I blurted out the request to put a garden behind his business and the man who has said no to my crazy ideas throughout our entire marriage said nothing. He just stared at me.

About an hour later my husband said to me, “The piece of property where you want to place the garden is your property, and if you want to plant a garden there it’s okay.” And so, with the help of my dear friends the Seiler and Hubbard families, my family and all of our employees, the garden was established on May 15th, 2010.

This year’s garden was planted this past Thursday May 31st, the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. This feast day is most important in our family history and also in the history of Joseph’s House as it is the anniversary of my dad’s passing and the anniversary of the first fundraiser for Joseph’s House hosted by Tom and Leah Valenti. I remember this event at the Valenti's 5 years ago vividly as I prayed for my dad along with his friends in heaven to help me speak to a group of strangers about something deeply personal and seemingly impossible. Prayers were answered and the event was so successful we came to understand this mission impossible called Joseph's House, WAS possible, because it was a mission of Our Lord.

Our neighbors around our business have thanked us for bringing beauty through this celestial oasis to their impoverished area, and after 8 years this little garden is thriving. This past Friday someone came to me as I prayed there and told me of the many graces he receives while attending to Mary there. He is not Catholic but has grown fond of Our Lady and the quiet time he spends with Her daily. He shared with me stories of his children and his history and I learned things about this man I would have never known if not for Mary. He told me about the homeless people, business people and families who come to visit this tiny haven of grace & solitude. I am constantly astonished by the miracles having occurred because of Our Blessed Mother’s presence on a desolate corner in the heart of a business district. I am awed by the stories shared in Her presence, the hardened hearts softened and transformed, and how everyone rallies around to keep Her safe and Her space beautiful. How could these most miraculous happenings be the result of this most humble garden? Only because the garden belongs to Mary, and She is the supreme intercessor of nurturing Christ in our hearts.

Joseph’s House is the end result of this little garden on the corner of West Belden Ave and Van Rensselaer St. in Syracuse. As a young girl, Mary was given an inspiration to run to Elizabeth on the Feast of the Visitation to serve Her cousin thousands of years ago, this little garden dedicated to the same young Mary has given us and many others the inspiration to reach out to serve as well. This garden was not only the first step in the building of Joseph's House, it has also been the catalyst for conversions and for thousands of people to learn more about Jesus, His Mother, and Joseph's House. To understand all this began with Mary and Her Prayer of the Rosary tells us all of Her extraordinary intercessory power.

Let us continue to thank, praise and ask Our Most Blessed Mother to instill within us the same humility, trust and faith gifted to Her and always say “Yes” to Our Lord. Let us always confide in Her Immaculate Heart, call on Her as our most trusted Mediatrix of Mercy and Grace, and praise Her for Her many sacrifices, so we may continue to serve all those finding their way to our Joseph’s House door. Thank you to all for all you do in service of Our Lord  and for our moms and little ones. God Bless You My Friends! A prayer of praise to Our Lady follows.

Love and prayers,

Kitty

A Reflection on Mary's visit to Elizabeth

Ave Maria Stella

Hail, bright star of ocean, 
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.

Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

COME HOLY SPIRIT!

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The Holy Spirit is the gift-bearer of God. He comes to us in prayer in ways totally unexpected and always magnificent. He showers us with gifts and talents, knowledge, wisdom and understanding, we never knew we had and inspires us to take on impossible tasks. We know He is at work as He does not ask the best or the brightest to labor on His behalf. He doesn’t even ask the most educated or most famous. He calls on all of us, the every day, run of the mill lay people of the church to cultivate the inspirations commissioned by Our Father in Heaven.

This fact should give us all hope my friends. Hope to insure us if we are lost at this moment, God knows it and He is just waiting for us to respond to His beckoning call. We are never too young or too old, never too smart or too dumb, never too ill or too healthy because Our Lord knows His plan for our life. He is patiently pacing around calling our name morning, noon and night so one day we might bear the fruit He has planned for our life.

As Saint Paul said in today’s second reading:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
— 1 Corinthians 12:3, 4-7

Is this quote not the perfect description of Joseph’s House? Many have come together in different services, with different talents, with different connections, with different knowledge, all for the common good of those who have been discarded by those they love the most.

Our Lord’s net has been cast far and wide for the growth and success of Joseph’s House. So many people reaching out to help and support in so many ways. We have people sharing their stories during our life skills classes.

People tutoring, people drawing up plans for our playground area. People providing lawn service and snowplowing. People volunteering in our daycare and at our events. People spending hours each month preparing prayer and praying for us as our prayer warriors. There are churches and businesses promoting the message and success of our mission. All of these examples are people moved by the Holy Spirit, moved by the love of Christ and moved by the gentle promptings of Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.

What we witness each day in caring for these young women and children is they also have gifts, they also have talents & they have love to share with others. As they come to understand what love is, they learn everyone should be respected and everyone has dignity. They learn instilled within them at their conception is an inherent dignity, a dignity which is a gift bestowed upon them by Almighty God. They come to understand this gift is a gift they are worthy of because they are created in the image and likeness of God.

We had a mom who came to us last November from downstate. She arrived pregnant with two children dropped here by someone she barely knew. She was totally traumatized. Her children were even more traumatized. Not one of them spoke to us and there was no interaction between her and her children, they simply hung on her as she moved around in a somewhat robotic like state.  We weren’t even sure we could help this young family. We didn’t know where to begin with them and so we prayed for them. We prayed, prayed & prayed some more, Rosaries & Divine Mercy Chaplets. We prayed in Adoration and at mass. We prayed for something to change so we could reach this woman and show her and her children the love of God.

The transformation has been like watching a rose bloom in slow motion. The petals unfurling slowly and deliberately creating a masterpiece of beauty. The children who once did not speak, are now chatterboxes and we have come to learn they are smart beyond their years. The expectant child we thought might be placed for adoption has found a loving, nurturing, joyful mother and two older siblings to love and protect her. The family we didn’t know how to help, was simply helped by love. This is all the work of the Holy Spirit, called into the action by the power of prayer, manifesting His gifts through the love of God showered on this most desperate trio by a home immersed in the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit. We want to do this work forever my friends and we ask you to search for the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you, so you might share them with these most innocent lambs, the Children of Christ through His mission of Joseph’s House.

God Bless you always!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty   

A Most Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!

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It has been quite the week here at Joseph's House. Our Mother's Day campaign kicked off with a series of short videos introducing you to some of the children of Joseph's House and most importantly, our 47th baby Elena.  In celebration of Elena, we solicited donations of $47 as a way to pay tribute to the special mom in your life.  For each donation received, a special Mother's Day card was sent out.  As an added incentive, two very generous anonymous donors agreed to match many of those donations! That means a $47 tribute to your mom resulted in a $94 donation to Joseph's House!  If you'd still like to donate, you can do so at our website and add a tribute to the special mom in your life.  Although they won't arrive by Mother's Day, they'll receive the card next week. After all, moms really deserve more than just one day to celebrate!  We were very happy to share this fundraiser, along with our Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament and an update on our Home on News Channel 9's Bridge Street. 

Of course, since that interview, we welcomed our 48th baby to the world! Beautiful baby Aria and her mom are both doing really well.  God is good! 48 miracles of life that call Joseph's House their first home.

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Joseph's House is obviously all about mothers.  It is through the Blessed Mother that many at Joseph's House have found themselves humbled at the feet of Our Lord and Savior.  It's through the Rosary that the strength, wisdom and clarity is given to carry out this mission.  It's about the moms we serve day-in and day-out.  It's about the moms and grandmas who volunteer to help take care of our little ones in our daycare and in our home. It's about the donations we received in honor, memory or tribute to the moms that have touched so many lives. 

It's also about our staff- many of whom are mother's to children of their own, and all of whom are mother's to all the residents of Joseph's House.  They are the hands and feet of Jesus as they provide the love and support to our residents.  To many of our residents, our staff is the light of Christ that comes to brighten the darkness that results from years of abuse and trauma. They are quite simply, the moms many of our residents have never had.  Enough can't be said about the dedication and love that is poured out of them and into every being who resides under the roof of Joseph's House. 

This week, one of our staff members was honored by her son with a donation in celebration of Mother's Day.  The most heart warming message was received with the donation:

As you can probably tell this is a donation for my mother. She is so passionate about the work and service that she is able to perform for JH, I live 3,000 miles away and every single phone call I hear the joy and happiness she feels when being a part of your community. I wanted to donate this gift not only in my mother’s name for Mother’s Day but in the name of all of you who so generously and graciously provide such a wonderful service to so many mothers and children is need.

Thank you all for all that you do and as much as I want to wish my mother the most perfect Mother’s Day, I also wish a happy Mother’s Day to all of you, regardless of whether you have children or not you are mothers to the world and you make the world a better place. I try to constantly remind my Mother how proud I am of all she is doing and the work that comes from your organization, and just as constantly she is reminding me that this is not a job but the work she truly loves. Please feel free to share this with your entire staff and please let each and every mother you are housing know that myself (someone out there) is wishing them a very happy Mother’s Day and thank you for always being the backbone of your families.
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As you can see, being a part of Joseph's House is a calling.  We are called to walk, hand-in-hand with Our Most Gracious and Loving Lord as we work to help these moms and save these most precious babies. While we have always felt as though our staff was world class, it is truly a team effort and this week we found out that we have been named a finalist in the CNY Business Journal's Best Places to Work!

The blessings of working for and with an organization like Joseph's House is truly humbling beyond words.  In the past 3 weeks we've welcomed 5 new children into the world and into our Home.  I've witnessed the staff swaddle these moms in the support, the care and the love that they so desperately need. They've comforted siblings who are struggling to adjust to not being the only child. They've held hands and coached moms through labor.  They've prayed with them when they're scared.  They've laughed with them, they've cried with them, they've counseled them when they've come up short, and they've celebrated when they've achieved success. They've shared in the sorrows and in the joys.  When they've needed it most, they've lifted them up.

Whether or not our staff has children of their own, they are moms to so many.  They are, as one son said above, "mother's to the world" and make the world a better place.

Wishing you all the happiest of Mother's Days.

Bronson

 

Love In Action

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Here we are once again, entering the month of May, the month of Mary that begins with a Feast to St. Joseph and ends with the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, for the fifth time in our home’s history. The beginning of this fifth year of service has once again been overtaken by the awesomeness of Our Lord and His gift of life. Four new babies in 10 days, including a set of twins. Another new life joining us on May 20th will bring our family to number 8 moms, 9 kids and 5 newborns!  It most certainly seems spring has sprung at Joseph’s House. As we enter our fifth year of service, we are stronger than ever albeit a little older and at times a little exhausted. All the work however never diminishes the joy of welcoming home a soon to be mom and shortly afterwards, her newborn child.

What a blessing is life! With all its difficulties, messiness and pain, there is not anything to compare to the love and joy that erupts in one’s heart as they witness the dreamy smile of a newborn drifting sweetly to sleep swaddled and snuggled in the arms of an ever-adoring mom as she gazes lovingly down upon him. If these young women have never known love in their lives, they learn the meaning of love at Joseph’s House. They absorb the peace, structure, and rhythm of life in an atmosphere instilled with the presence of God, and they all find a part of themselves here they never knew existed. A part of themselves they are then able to pass along to others.

What we are today and have become in our last four years is a result of your allegiance to our mission. You are our foundation, our partners. You are the extended family allowing us to do this heavenly inspired work through your dedication towards the most vulnerable of God’s children. Because of you we will welcome our 50th newborn child to his first home at Joseph’s House this year. 50 children who might not exist if not for this home, if not for you.

We are growing in new directions because of the success of our program. We recently added new staff positions to assist in the development of our ever-expanding Exodus program. This program already provides assistance to moms who have graduated from our home by gathering them together for monthly dinners and life-skills. We also supply these alumni moms with material needs as well as emotional needs as many times loneliness occurs after leaving the supportive, loving, family -environment of our home. Exodus will one day also provide transitional housing as well as assistance with transportation, educational needs and daycare.

The readings this entire week at mass have been about Jesus the Vine and His people, the Branches. We have been told all week when we remain in Him, when we keep His commandments, when we love others the way He loves us, we will bear much fruit. It seems the readings boil down to this one truth from the second reading today from St. John, the truth that GOD IS LOVE.

If you look up the definition of love online you will read all about love as a feeling. It is intense passion, it is intense desire. Nowhere does it say what St. John said “God is Love”. However, as our Pastor said at mass this weekend, what John is saying is Love is an action. We are called to act in love, we are called to decide to love, we are called to put motion into the joy we derive from the love God shares with us and then spread the love and its’ effects to others.

God is Love which means Love is God. Joseph’s House is Love, and is love in action! Joseph’s House is God and is God in action! Joseph’s House will remain in Him so He always remains in us. We will joyfully serve and decide each day to love those many consider unlovable and teach others to do the same. We invite you to join us in this continuing endeavor to love others as Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loves us!

Once again, we say thank you to each and every one of you who continue to pray for us, support us, volunteer and work with us, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are truly Love, you are truly Love in Action, you are truly Fruit of the Vine of Christ, you are truly of God and you are truly changing lives! God Bless you my friends!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Jesus, The Vine Through Whom We Flourish

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Today’s Holy Gospel according to John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” The Gospel of the Lord.

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Joseph’s House is flourishing on so many levels! This week we welcomed 3 more newborn children to their first home, our home, Joseph’s House. Where would they be without this home? One mom would be in a tiny room sharing a bed with her mom and her 18-month-old son with her newborn in a pack and play next to her. Another had no where to go and would be out on the streets with her newborn, premature twin girls. We have another newborn child arriving by C-section tomorrow who came to us with two siblings from an abusive family in an over-crowded flat in NYC. There are also interviews and calls coming in several times a week from moms needing assistance. The need for our home is flourishing and so we must grow in our ability to allow it to do just that.

We are flourishing in our growth as we have added new positions to handle the development within our mission of our ever-expanding Exodus program. This program already provides assistance to moms who have graduated from our home by gathering together for dinners and life-skills. We supply these alumni moms with material needs as well as emotional needs because many times loneliness occurs after leaving the supportive, loving, family environment of our home. Exodus will one day also provide transitional housing as well as assistance with transportation, educational and daycare needs.

We are flourishing in fundraising opportunities as our Baby Bottle Drives are expanding to more churches and places of business. A most exciting development is people now reach out to us to welcome us to speak to their groups rather than having to always seek out opportunities on our own. We are also finding and being awarded new grants and have some new tithing opportunities coming our way.

What has been the catalyst of all this flourishing in so many diverse areas of this mission precisely when most needed? Jesus the Vine is the catalyst. He is the one who long ago planted the seed for this mission in the heart and mind of a great sinner to allow this person and many others to come to understand He is truly mercy and forgiveness and can do impossible works through the most imperfect instruments if only we remain in Him, the True Vine.

One will never starve when grafted to the Vine of Christ. Jesus will supply never-ending sustenance in gracious blessings and answered prayers. One will suffer, sometimes immensely, in their personal lives as they are pruned to perfection and Our Lord removes limbs rooted in pride rather than in Him. As a matter of fact, pruning and suffering in this manner was always an indicator one was favored by God as a disciple in the Old and New Testaments. Just look at what the Apostles suffered to remain one in Christ. Think about what Saul suffered in today's first reading to become St. Paul.  

Any pain suffered in the growth of any mission whether physical, psychological or emotional is what is necessary for personal growth and for the growth of the mission. The sacrifices one gives to, through and for Jesus Christ make one more like Him, the Perfect Vine. The pain and torment are always worthwhile, always abundantly fruitful in the ways they bring one closer to becoming the image of Our Lord and Savior.

Ask yourself this question, who or what would you like to reflect when you stand before Christ at your Final Judgement? The values of this world or the Face of Jesus Christ? The only way to reflect the Face of Jesus is through suffering, as He is proof the suffering of death always comes before the glory of everlasting life.

What suffering could be more painful to man than to be considered a withered branch gathered up, thrown into the fire and rejected by Jesus Christ? Absolutely nothing, and for that reason we will always strive to remain in Him and have His words remain in us no matter the cost. As He suffered for us, we are willing to suffer for Him always, in any and every way to build His mission of life. His mission of love. His mission of mercy and forgiveness so Joseph’s House may flourish into perpetuity.

We invite you to join us so we might flourish together, in this growth, in this pruning of and grafting to the Perfect Vine, the True Vine, Jesus Christ. We pray as we travel together down the sometimes rocky road, we will all strive to bear much fruit and become His most joyful disciples so at the ends of our lives we may all find everlasting joy and everlasting life in Heaven with Our Almighty Savior forever!

God Bless you my friends!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty