Well we had another busy week at Joseph's House! Mother nature has shown us once again to not get too comfortable and not to put away the snow shovel and bucket of salt just yet.  The week began with the delivery of our new baby bottles for our baby bottle drives!  As many of you know, we've been holding baby bottle drives to support our Annual Fund in parishes throughout the diocese since our inception. 

These have proven to be extremely beneficial for Joseph's House on many fronts.  First, it helps raise the funds necessary to support our Annual Fund and cover the costs of operating our home.  Second, it allows us to spread the Gospel- the good news- of the work that is being done at Joseph's House and provide a concrete example of the true power of prayer.  Lastly, it's a way to bring new people into our mission- from daycare volunteers, buildings and grounds committee members, to new supporters who haven't yet heard about us. If you know of anyone who might be interested in hosting a baby bottle drive for Joseph's House- go talk to them! Whether it's at your work, your church, your school or even your social circles. Help us spread the good news!

We are also in full swing preparing for our 4th Annual Birdies for Babies Golf Tournament.  Please email us if you're interested in sponsoring this great event or if you'd like to participate- whether you want to golf or just join us for dinner! It's going to be a great event you won't want to miss!

As you may know, the Bishop has declared this year the Year of the Family.  In his video message this past week, he asked us to "take time as a Family to recognize one another, thank one another and love one another."

When people ask us to describe Joseph's House, the word that most often comes to mind is family.  Most of the women who come to us have had troubled, or at the very least, complicated family lives.  Often when they find themselves most vulnerable, expecting a child, is when the struggles and relationships with family get even more complicated.  At Joseph's House, they find a new family.  They learn what it means to be a family- and to recognize one another and to love one another. 

We had a mom successfully transition out to her own apartment this past week!  This mom first came to us when she was pregnant without any viable family support.  She stayed with us until after her beautiful daughter was born and then believed she was ready to move out- something we did not agree with.  Unfortunately she soon found herself homeless again and literally sitting on a curb with her daughter and all her belongings.  She called us- as she knew she could- and ultimately moved back in.  When she came, she knew there were going to be strict parameters and objectives to help her get on her feet.  She worked hard, earned her GED and got a job. She now is in her own apartment and is working full time with her daughter in daycare. 

Even her relationship with us- her Joseph's House family- was complicated. She tested the patience of staff and the other moms on an almost daily basis.  She had difficulty with the structure of our home and the rules.  Ultimately, this led to the mutual decision that it was probably time for her and her daughter to move out on their own. She is and will always be part of the Joseph's House family though.  We will continue to provide her the love and support of family through our Exodus program.

Another mom in our house has shown us recently the ways that the moms become a family to one another.  When she had a free afternoon and another mom had to take her two children to the doctors, she offered to accompany them just to help the other mom out.  Later that week a few of our moms missed their bus to work in the AM.  The next day, this mom awoke early and made sure the coffee was made and breakfasts-to-go were ready for each of them so they would be sure to make it out of the house on time.  Another night she made tea for a mom-to-be that wasn't feeling well. These small gestures may seem insignificant but to the residents in our home, these small tokens of respect and acts of kindness are huge steps.  These are hearts that come to us hardened and guarded from years of abuse and neglect- in their own families.  They are learning what being a family truly means. They are learning to recognize one another and to love one another.  And that each of their lives is a gift.

Bishop Cunningham reminds us of the words of Pope Francis that the people in our lives are a gift.  "In order to have a truly meaningful relationship with people, you must recognize their value."  This phrase could sum up all the work that is done at Joseph's House.  We show the moms and children in our home that they have value.  This is not always an easy task.  But through out loving staff, our dedicated volunteers, our generous benefactors and through the leadership of our Board of Directors, they are learning that, as our mission statement says, they have dignity.  They have value. Their children have value. They are our family.

God bless you,