Where Is Your Calcutta?

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,