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