A Christmas Thank You to All

Erin Byrnes, with some of our little ones, is a never-ending gift to Joseph’s House!

Erin Byrnes, with some of our little ones, is a never-ending gift to Joseph’s House!

It’s been an incredibly busy and celebratory few weeks at Joseph’s House. The generosity of all has overwhelmed us as well as the moms and kids in our home and in our Exodus program with an abundance of blessings. There are no words to thank you for the many ways in which you have served us. From prayer to daycare and tutoring, cookie making to specially prepared elegant dinners, Christmas gatherings in the homes of donors, and every type of donation from diapers to hams, many needs have been met. We are witnesses daily to miracles as all these gifts, all this generosity comes as answers to prayer so we may assist these most vulnerable Children of God in all the ways Our Lord calls us to. To sum it up, we are forever grateful and you all are simply Magnificent!

In today’s Gospel Story we hear the story of the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother to Her cousin Elizabeth. Mary went to serve Her cousin at the most life-changing moment in Her young life as She had just conceived through the Holy Spirit the Child Jesus in Her womb. It was inconvenient for Her to go on this long journey into hill country but She went to serve someone She knew to be in need.  

At Joseph’s House we are called to serve those in need at the most life-changing moments in their lives and the lives of their children. Many times their most life-changing times are inconvenient times for all of us. Sometimes phone calls from moms without a home come to us at the very end of a long day just as staff are preparing to leave for their own homes. Other times a personal crisis or a mom in labor in the middle of the night, on a holiday or weekend have been the stimulus for staff to lose sleep, work extra hours and miss time with their own families. Many times through their sacrifice, our staff with their compassionate souls become the only real family these young, homeless moms have ever known. They become soft shoulders of solace to moms, who in the midst of crisis, are beginning a new family, a family they hope to keep intact and never abandon as they know abandonment all to well. Every minute of every day at Joseph’s House must be supervised by staff, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter. We are forever grateful to our most gifted, patient, resilient, self-sacrificing staff who give up their family time, their personal time and their comfort and sleep for our moms and little ones. They are most certainly serving others just as Our Blessed Mother Mary served Her cousin Elizabeth. Once again, to sum it up, all our staff at Joseph’s House are simply Magnificent!

MARY
The Mighty One has done great things for me and Holy is His Name
— Luke 1:49,50

The Gospel story yesterday was Mary’s Song, better known as The Magnificat. On EWTN’s televised mass yesterday, Father Joseph Mary asked in his homily for all to consider writing their own Magnificat verse of praise and thanks to Our Lord. He challenged all to ponder their favorite bible verses and to then compose their own prayer. Below is my humble attempt written to Our Lord in thanks and praise. When I think of all the wonderful people I would have never known if not for the heavenly work of Joseph’s House, I understand more clearly how God has sent all of you as answered prayers and as instruments to help sustain His mission of life and love. My prayer today is you will consider this not so magnificent Magnificat a thank you and a promise to all of you I have had the great pleasure of meeting and working with through service to Joseph’s House. To sum it up one more time, you are all most assuredly, simply Magnificent!

God Bless you my friends!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;/ my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
— Luke 1: 46,47

My heart is full My Lord and My God as I reflect on the mercy so generously bestowed upon me, a great sinner. You have graciously shared with me the plan You destined for my life and I am constantly delighted with the possibilities, people and open doors You have sent to bless me. You are my Savior, My Lord, and Your generosity in answering my thoughts and prayers elates me, dropping me to my knees and saturating my soul with thanks, joy and unending praise. You have somehow considered me worthy of carrying Your love and Your word to others and so the mission You have entrusted to me will be my life’s work forever. Please help me to always be a pure vessel of Your Word, to trust in Your Holy Will and to obey even in the most difficult circumstances as I strive to carry within my heart the glory of Your Word and within my eyes, the light of Your Love. Help me to always be an ever-flowering limb on the Vine that is Jesus Christ as well as Your Hands, Feet, Eyes, Ears and Tongue on earth so Your Holy Word may flourish. Help me, My Lord and My God to always work in You and with You and through You and for You so all whom I know may find the glory of Heaven. I aspire always to be Your most humble servant & to forever proclaim the magnificence & the never-ending Glory of the Kingdom of God.”

Amen

"What Should We Do?"

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The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise...
— From Sunday's Holy Gospel Luke 3:10

“What should we do?” It’s a question asked daily at Joseph’s House as we do our best to assist the homeless, pregnant moms and their children sent our way. Sometimes the answer is more complicated than giving them an extra coat or food. Sometimes it means going out on a limb for them, stretching our boundaries and our resources to deal with complex problems we are unfamiliar with or we have never dealt with before.

The one thing we are always able to do is give our moms the opportunity to preserve the life of their unborn child. That is our calling and is the very least we can do as Catholics and as people who believe life is a gift given by God.  What John is saying in Luke’s gospel story today is simply common sense and what we do at Joseph’s House is the same. It is simply common sense to give shelter to God’s most vulnerable children. It is simply common sense to fill them with food, drink and the spirit of Our Lord. It is simply common sense to provide structure in their lives, to help them with their education, to offer daycare for their children, so they have the opportunity to be good parents, good citizens and the Children of God He wants them to be.

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By the grace of God, we have done this successfully over the past 4-and three-quarter years. We have had more than 75 moms call us home and have given 49 newborn children the opportunity to come home to their very first home at Joseph’s House. 49 little souls who may have been lost to abortion if not for our home. 49 newborn lives, unplanned by their parents, but planned by God from eternity. 49 babies who would have been taken from the arms of their moms as they left the hospital if those moms were homeless and had nowhere to go.

As we prepare for the arrival of Our Blessed Mother’s unexpected child, our Savior Jesus Christ, let us remember all the other young women awaiting the arrival of an unexpected child. Let us remember that Mary’s unexpected child changed the world and there are more unexpected children who have the ability to do the same in other ways. They may be great doctors, lawyers or statesman. They may be future moms and dads whose child will be a priest or a pope. We have no idea the plans Our Lord has for our lives or theirs so it is incumbent upon us to be sure we nurture all new life and give all moms the opportunity to give birth to their children.

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
— Matthew 18:4-5

So, what can you do to help us continue our life-saving work this Christmas? You can assure God you understand what the Gift of Life truly is. How? By making a monetary donation to Joseph’s House. There is no amount too small as every cent goes directly to providing all the resources needed to run our program. Unlike other local charities we take no dollars from the government, the diocese or the Hope Appeal. We rely totally on private funding.

As you look at your home decorated for Christmas and the gifts piling up to be wrapped and placed by the tree, remember the common sense advise given by John when people asked “What should we do?” Think about what you can do, pray about what God is calling you to do, and please remember the newborn babies, remember the moms, remember the good works of Joseph’s House, and remember Our Lord needs our help to implement His plans for all. God Bless you my friends!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

God's Gift of Life

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What makes every day so very exciting at Joseph’s House is we are witnesses to God’s Gift of Life. This week with Christmas preparations, birthday celebrations and a visit from Saint Nicholas the special gifts of little lives were made apparent to all. We observed first-hand the wonder in their eyes as they wandered through our home and took in the majesty of all the Christmas trees and Nativity scenes surrounding them. All the moms and kids have had great fun creating their own ornaments and even added artistic touches to decorate the doors of their rooms making our dorm hallways very festive. The little ones also created paper Christmas stockings of gratefulness they are filling with thoughts and memories for which they are thankful this Christmas season.

This week as we continue our Advent journey getting closer to the Birth of Jesus, we are preparing for some Christmas cookie baking, decorating and a visit from Santa always being sure to remind everyone Christmas begins with Christ. There will be Christmas celebrations, masses, prayer groups and gatherings for our Exodus moms and all our residents. The true beauty of all of these events is they bring the entire Joseph’s House family together providing all with an extra special Christmas blessing.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother. Once again this year, I was given the opportunity to explain to someone the Immaculate Conception we are celebrating is for Mary, not for Jesus, as many believe.

It doesn’t take much of an explanation for anyone to understand if God was able to choose and create the Mother of His Son, He would create Her to be perfect. She would be free from original sin and all sin, because She would be the Tabernacle in which Jesus would reside for nine months. After all, if God wanted His Son to be perfectly pure as God Himself is perfectly pure, He most certainly would create a perfectly pure vessel for Jesus to be nurtured and nestled within. Mary was and is the Perfectly Pure Vessel, the Golden Tabernacle, the new Ark of the Covenant. She is the Gateway through which God sent Jesus to earth ushering in redemption for our souls and opening the gates of Heaven. Our Lady gave Her Fiat to God’s desire for Her life when She said to the Angel Gabriel “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to His Will.” Her answer let’s all of us know Mary understood God’s gift of life, for Her life, for the life of Jesus and for our lives as well.

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Today we contemplate the humble girl of Nazareth who, by an extraordinary and ineffable privilege, was preserved from the contagion of original sin and from every fault, so that she could be a worthy dwelling-place for the Incarnate Word.
— St. John Paul II

At mass yesterday celebrating this glorious feast day, Father Dunn reminded us of how extraordinary is the gift of life. He reminded us we are all remarkably created, and we are all unique, exceptional and cherished by God. God chose us to be born into this world, His world, before time began. He doesn’t care if we are educated or uneducated, rich, poor, homeless or living in a palace, He loves us because we are His Creation and He has a special plan for each and every one of us.

...as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
— A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12

God’s plan for our lives is ever-changing, ever-evolving depending upon our ability to say “Yes” to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. God asks us daily to be His humble servants, to say “Yes” to Him, just as Mary did, and to allow our lives to be lived according to His will.

Our mission at Joseph’s House is to always say yes to God and to search with Him for the plan for our lives and our ministry. Our mission is to allow ourselves to be gateways through which God’s precious children are ushered toward Heaven so they may find the magnificent, one of a kind journey God has destined for their lives. We invite you to be gateways with us, to assist us in leading all towards redemption and ushering in the hope that comes with saying “yes” as Mary did, to God’s Gift of Life!

God Bless you my friends.

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Advent with Joseph & Mary

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There is much excitement to share as Advent begins and we are filled with the anticipation of Christmas.

All of us at Joseph’s House from house staff to office and development staff are going full throttle as we prepare for everything from Baby Bottle Drives to end of the year newsletters, to decorating, baking, preparing lists of wants and necessities for our moms and babies, making final preparations for gatherings in our home and watching with joy as the little ones take in the view of the nearly 12-foot tree gracing our dining room. In the photo above you can see some of our volunteers and staff as well as some of our moms and kids are thrilled to be decorating in preparation for Christmas. All of this while being sure to give thanks and praise to Almighty God for all those who touch our mission so that we might continues to change lives.

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Advent begins today and is preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ into our hearts and into our world. It is the beginning of the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar and a journey with the Holy Family. Who better to travel with as we begin the year with preparation for the joyous occasion of the Birth of Jesus Christ. The conundrum always arrives when we become sidetracked by our preparation for the secular aspects of Christmas and forget the Advent journey is about preparation for Jesus, reparation and sacrifice for our sins and thanks to God for all He has given to us

I fall prey to this conundrum every year. My remedy this year is to sacrifice a bit each day in thanks for Joseph and Mary by contemplating their trials and discomforts they endured as they made the ninety-mile journey from their home to Bethlehem.


“It was a fairly grueling trip. In antiquity, the most we find people traveling is 20 miles a day. And this trip was very much uphill and downhill. It was not simple."

Joseph and Mary likely would have traveled only 10 miles a day because of Mary's impending delivery.

And the trip through the Judean desert would have taken place during the winter, when it's in the thirties during the day [and] rains like heck, it's nasty, miserable. And at night it would be freezing.

And the unpaved, hilly trails and harsh weather were not the only hazards Joseph and Mary would have faced on their journey south.

One of the most terrifying dangers in ancient Palestine was the heavily forested valley of the Jordan River. Lions and bears lived in the woods, and travelers had to fend off wild boars. Archaeologists have unearthed documents warning travelers of the forest's dangers.

And "bandits, pirates of the desert and robbers" were also common hazards along the major trade routes like the one Joseph and Mary would have traveled.

Mary and Joseph had to bring their own provisions. "In wine-skins, they carried water, and they carried a lot of bread. … Breakfast would be dried bread, lunch would be oil with bread, and herbs with oil and bread in the evening."

James F. Strange, a New Testament and biblical archaeological professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.


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And we all know what happened when they arrived in Bethlehem.

So for Advent this year as I think of Joseph and Mary I will also think about the challenges experienced in the ninth month of carrying my children to birth and ponder what challenges and discomforts Our Lady may have encountered. I will appreciate more deeply the safety and comfort of my home as I think about the perilous journey of Mary and Joseph sleeping under the stars, never knowing where they would reside when arriving in Bethlehem. I will turn the heat down in my cushy vehicle as I think about Mary riding a donkey side-saddle over hills and valleys cold, exhausted, hungry, yet never complaining. I will imagine the apprehension of St. Joseph as he stepped out in faith knowing he must have wondered about how he would provide for Mary and the upcoming birth of Jesus, as all men worry about caring and providing for their families, and will thank him for his courage in saying yes to the Angel and becoming the foster father to Christ. I will fast each day from some food I enjoy as they fasted on bread and water out of necessity. I will make reparation for my sins and the sins of others through more prayer and more daily masses as this unknown, humble couple made reparation for all of us by giving their entire lives to God the Father, for Jesus the Son, and for all of us. I will remember Joseph and Mary and meditate upon the perils of their travels so you and I might be able to travel the glorious journey to Heaven. I will give thanks and praise to God each and every day for the gift of St. Joseph and Our Blessed Mother Mary, for their fiats, for their wisdom, strength, faith and perseverance. Please pray with me my friends, that all this pondering, contemplating and meditating will bear many fruits for Joseph’s House and for our world and I will pray for Advent and Christmas blessings for you and yours!

God Bless you!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Giving Thanks For Faith

Give Thanks!

Happy Sunday Everyone,

On this Feast Day of Christ the King we all have much to be grateful for. Here at Joseph’s House we are grateful to all who believe and have faith in our mission. We are most grateful to the moms and kids who entrust their troubled lives to us to care for them as they deserve, to care for them as Jesus would. There was another memorable dinner at Joseph’s House this Thanksgiving gifted by a generous donor and prepared lovingly and beautifully by our overnight RA Theresa, a woman of many talents. We also had notes of thanks from moms about their gratefulness to Joseph’s House and staff for all we do for them and for the way we have changed their lives. We have received an abundance of thanks over the years and they all boil down to the sentiments expressed below from one of our past residents.

I have a place for me and my daughters to stay in and have someone to look after us and take good care. I am thankful for you taking care of me and my daughters. I want to thank all the staff from all of my heart because they are so very good to us. Thank you soo much!
— Joseph's House Mom 2016

Giving thanks for me is a prerequisite to all prayer. Not a day goes by where the words “Thank you, thank you, thank you dear Jesus” do not escape my lips, because I am overcome with the miracles and blessings He shares and with the people He sends to our ministry. Many have asked to know more about the miracles and blessings that led to the founding of this mission and produced the courage to step out in faith for Our Lord, and for that reason I am sharing this post slightly edited from 2015.

In September 2005 I had the opportunity to travel to Italy. This was 16 months after my son's accident and after a miraculous 9-month recovery, he was on a rapid downhill trajectory as he attempted to return to school and the social activities of a 25-year-old. Although I knew he was heading for disaster, my family insisted I go on this trip because my life had been 16 months of nonstop care for my child.

 We traveled to Assisi and Rome and visited all the highlights of both cities. In Assisi my faith grew in leaps and bounds as I learned for the first time the miraculous power of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed, that is the power of Adoration. We prayed as a group daily, Rosary after Rosary and chaplet after chaplet as we immersed ourselves in daily mass, and in the beauty and history of our church. It was the most profound experience I have ever been gifted in travel and strangers met on that journey are now among my dearest friends. It was a life-changing experience of the highest degree and preparation for the days ahead as I returned home.

There was only one statue I asked about during the visit and when I was told the saint was St. Anthony, I was thrilled because St. Anthony was the only saint I knew of, other than Our Blessed Mother Mary. During this trip I was also told you could learn the name of your Guardian Angel by saying a little prayer of your own words for 3 nights in a row. We returned home on a Sunday, and I began saying a prayer hoping to find out the name of my son's Guardian Angel. I wanted to thank him properly for all the times he had saved this child's life as my second born had a propensity for keeping his Guardian Angel very busy.

I said the prayer for 3 nights and on Wednesday morning I waited to see what name would come to me, or hit me, or appear to me, and nothing really happened. I was a little disappointed as I walked to the mailbox and went through the mail but at the bottom of the stack I found a letter from an unknown seminary. I opened the envelope and I pulled out a prayer card with the picture of the statue I saw of St. Anthony in Italy! My child’s Guardian Angel is named Anthony and I thank him every day for his extremely hard work in protecting my child.

The next day, Thursday, four days after my return from Italy, my son had a relapse that was so brutal, we thought we were going back to the rehab hospital in Boston. Instead we found ourselves in a little cabin on Seneca Lake surrounded by our Evangelical brothers and sisters. By the Grace of God, 12 days of miracles unfolded in this secluded spot through prayer and fasting. I came to understand more deeply each night we spent in this cold, lonely place my trip to Italy had been preparation for this trial and the faith gained through the trip would be the conduit for all unfolding in the future.

After we returned home, we endured a grueling year of recovery once again. The demands of rebuilding my son’s strength rooted me deeply in reliance, faith and trust in Our Lord and Our Lady. My Rosary never left me and the most powerful Rosaries said, were the ones shared with my child through tears and fears and pain. Our wailing’s were heard, received and returned to both of us as garlands of roses and blessings showered on us from Heaven, as we found our way through a year of sleepless nights and therapy-laden days, interspersed with juicing, exercise and organic foods by the ton.

There have been many other trials for my son since the words above were written, however we have learned all we suffer in this lifetime will always provide growth, blessings and bring a richness and maturity to life otherwise not found. When one is faithful in prayer, faithful to God’s will, faithful in taking up their cross daily, perseverance, patience and courage are born.  

Be faithful in small things because it is in them your strength lies.
— St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta

The words above are the perfect description of the journey of life since my son’s accident, the beginnings of Joseph’s House, and quite honestly of most every day of my life. Those words have produced within me a profound peace, a profound joy as I have come to understand God’s unwavering love, patience and closeness to all of us. Those words are the reason why this year and every year the gift of faith is what I am most grateful to have received as a gift from God and why my daily prayer is this same faith is a gift to be found by all. God Bless you my friends!

Love and prayers,

Kitty

SNOW DAY!

An Angel from Heaven, An Answer to Prayers!

An Angel from Heaven, An Answer to Prayers!

In those days, I, Daniel, heard this word of the Lord: “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people;
— From The First Reading at Sunday's Mass Daniel 12:1

Winter arrived early in Central New York, at least it seems early to many of us. It didn’t stop all our friends in the Manlius area from going out on Thursday evening to support Joseph’s House at St. Anne’s Annual Spaghetti Supper.  Many learned of us for the first time as our Development Associate Torrey Lansing spoke on our behalf. Thank you to St. Anne’s Respect Life Committee, Kathi Espisito, Rev. Brian Lang and all who attended for your gifts in assisting our moms and little ones.

While this weather is painstaking in many ways, there is an incomparable beauty to seeing frosted tree limbs through foggy windshields as the early morning silence is broken by the crunch of tires on a cold carpet of bright white snow. Savoring the view on the back-roads near my home, the tension of white knuckling the steering wheel is alleviated. An overwhelming awe and calm take possession of my thoughts and the wonder of God’s creation overcomes any dread produced by the abundance of snow and the changing of seasons. The only words escaping my lips as I gaze in wonder at this scene are “Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord!”

Upon arrival in the city the view is not as pristine as there are accidents and people stuck in snowdrifts. Everywhere however, you see the best in people as they step out to assist others and we witness the Mercy of Jesus in action.

Joseph’s House was buried Friday morning in a thick, heavy blanket of snow. As we all wielded shovels, I prayed for assistance through the archangels. I have done this before when shoveling and the load always seemed lighter as the shovel lifted and threw the snow to the side. Yesterday I was simply wondering as I silently spoke and prayed why in all the years we have been shoveling at Joseph’s House, no one ever approached to help. I mentally spoke to St. Michael saying, “We could really use some assistance here since the plow hasn’t yet arrived, we are all parked on the street and quite frankly my arms are getting tired!”

Five minutes later I heard a young man yell, “Do you need some help?” I ran to him, dumbstruck, ‘Yes, thank you! Really?” “Sure, I can help!” he replied with a huge smile. I asked him what his name was and he said to me, “My name is Michael.” I wish I could have seen the look on my face. He then told me how he loves the beauty of our home, the statue of Our Blessed Lady and would someday like to sit on the benches and visit with Her. He was assured he is welcome anytime!

Michael cleared our sidewalk and part of the lower section of our driveway enthusiastically, quickly and with a loving heart. We all saw first-hand in this miracle how Our Lord, the angels, and all the saints hear our prayers and how they work through the goodness of the open hearts of others, many times others unknown to us. Others unknown to us until we pray through the Saints in Heaven for their help.

It is imperative for us to understand how close Heaven is to earth and how readily assistance from higher powers is available to us if we live our lives in a state of grace and in constant conversation with God.

The day continued and because none of our volunteers were able to travel to help in our daycare, it was all hands-on-deck from staff and moms unable to get to work. There was a dance party and pizza party where many smiles, giggles and embraces were shared. The snow day turned into the most delightful, prayer-filled, thanks-filled day as the little ones went down for naps and staff and moms recuperated from the exhaustion and exhilaration of caring for five toddlers and three little ones.

Kudos to Tiffany Bennett our Daycare Coordinator extraordinaire, for always smiling even after being stuck in a drift near our home and for turning a difficult day into one we will all treasure forever. Thank you to two special moms for your assistance in daycare. Thank you to Genie, another of our moms, who dug out our overnight staff member’s car before getting herself to work. Thank you to Teresa and John Brusa who prayed all our Joseph’s House prayers in their home, as mass in our home was cancelled due to weather. Thank you to our Board of Directors and advisers who’s sharing of time, treasure, talent and dedication to our mission make our existence possible. Thank you too to all our staff for braving the elements to care for our family, always giving their all for the protection of God’s most precious children. Thank you Saint Michael, for hearing and answering our prayers and sending us an angel named for you. Each and every one of you, and all who volunteer and support us, are a blessing to us and closer to God in Heaven than you will ever know!

Let all of us be sure to take full advantage of that closeness to Heaven and to call on our friends the Saints for assistance, each and every moment of each and every day always concluding with “Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord!” God Bless you my friends!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

The Gift of Motherhood

The gift of motherhood
Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps the child to grow, and is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.
— Saint Pope John Paul II from his Letter to Women

Happy Sunday My Friends,

I can remember being in my car with a 14-year old about eight years ago, old taking her to have the blue hair color removed from her hair to try to prevent her from losing all of it. Somehow the conversation turned to boys, parties and the pressure on her to do what everyone else was doing.  I told her “If you can remember your body is a temple, it is sacred and a gift from God and He dwells in you, you will save yourself much heartache in the future.” Yes, our bodies are temples, temples of the Holy Spirit. They are sacred, that is special, holy and created to be intrinsically good. They are created in the image of God to be used to bear fruit through procreation after marriage, through the sharing of our talents to help others, and by being the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
— St. Paul to the Corinthians 3:17

Our Lord weeps in Heaven my friends, at the state of our world and our country. The shootings. bombings, demonstrations, character assassinations, the trafficking of human beings taking place daily in our country and our world. What must He think? Where did we lose the understanding we are created in His likeness, in His image for good, to be of great virtue, to be all He longs for us to be? When did we begin to believe as women true freedom, true equality, means we should be able to have what men have at the cost of our ability to be the true feminists God created us to be? At the cost of sacrificing our gift of motherhood?

Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity.
Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of “mystery,” to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.
— Saint Pope John Paul II from his Letter to Women

The moms who come to us have been enlightened enough to realize their child is a gift from God. However, it is still a tall order to teach them of the inherent dignity of their femininity and its value in our world. They have been abused in so many ways by so many people they do not believe there is an ounce of good in them. They believe love is giving up the sacred temples of their bodies to those who do not understand how special they are. They have come to equate love with sex, as have so many others in this day and time. Yet they long for the good, they hope for the good and we try to make them believe, to make them understand, they are good, no matter the mistakes they have made or what others may have told them. We want them to know, to understand they have the capability to be great because Our Lord created all of us to be that way. We want them to know they can become the mothers, daughters, sisters and workers Saint John Paul II describes above, mothers, daughters, sisters and workers as gracious, loving and as feminine as our Blessed Mother Mary.

If everyone understood and believed how magnificently created they are, if they understood they are sacred, they are temples of God, if they understand and believed Jesus died on the Cross for them and would die on the Cross all over again, for them alone, wouldn’t the landslide of bullying, of suicide, of abortion, of euthanasia, not be stemmed? If we all only understood how remarkably unique, we truly are, how we have been specifically chosen to live at this time, in this place in order to fulfill God’s plan for our lives and for the world, wouldn’t Our Lord no longer weep in Heaven?

Let us teach our sons and daughters they are sacred, they are temples, they carry God within them every moment of every day. Let us help Our Lord and Savior wipe away His tears, to bring joy to His Heart, to be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, to make Our Lord look down upon us in wonder as we step out in faith fulfilling the Holy Will of God our Father. We have the power my friends, through prayer and sacrifice and with unfathomable faith to work all these wonders. Let us be courageous in all we do in service of the Heavenly Kingdom because even helping one person come to understand the intrinsic nobility of their humanity will cause ripple effects on earth and celebrations in Heaven that will be never-ending!

God Bless you my friends,

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Patience, Perseverance & Surrender

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“Amen I say to you, unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Look at those little faces above. While some of them look rather exuberant, the others seem to be saying, “What are these adults doing now? Can’t I just have my bottle and go to sleep?” What these little faces are showing us adults is patience. And within their patience they are showing us their perseverance in patience as they get dragged around, dressed up, and taken on excursions never knowing where they are going and what they will be doing. And yet for the most part they take it all in stride and totally surrender their little lives to our discretion and care, never questioning our motives, our plans, our desires, but just rolling with the punches day in and day out totally oblivious to their own wants. They trust us totally and rely on us constantly to provide everything from dry diapers, clean clothes, warm food and drink and a roof over their heads. They never question us, they simply follow our lead always having total faith in our direction. In their childish innocence they surrender their lives to us.

In your patience you shall possess your souls
— Luke 21:19

There are times in our work at Joseph’s House where we truly wonder how in the world a situation will resolve itself. The complications and hurdles facing a mom and her child many times seem insurmountable. A fundraiser may fall flat, or a grant request given hours of attention may not be bare fruit. We may be excited by a mom doing very well when she unexpectedly decides to leave us before she is ready, making us question ourselves and what we do. We may send out emails in search of support and never receive answers. Important meetings may be cancelled, expected funding may not come through. All in all, at times this joyful work can be as frustrating as any job on earth and the expressions on our faces might resemble some of the faces of the little ones above as we wonder, “What is God doing now?”

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast (or perseveres) under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
— James 1:12

As is true with all trials and disappointments, our setbacks make us stronger and our failures make us more resilient. We learn from our mistakes and have come to comprehend along the way we are called to extreme patience, unprecedented perseverance and unconditional surrender. We are called to never question Our Lord, but to simply follow His lead always having total faith in His direction. In child-like innocence we are called to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.

Prayer is nothing but that complete surrender, complete oneness with Christ.
— St. Theresa of Calcutta

We have seen first-hand the results of this three-tiered PPS formula in the founding, opening and recent milestones of our mission. We have seen the results as more moms graduate our program and succeed independently. We have seen the results in the growth of our Exodus program as last year’s vision has come to fruition this year in so many ways. Mostly we have seen the results in the numbers of moms and little ones calling us family and loving us because we are always there for them. We see the results in all those coming to visit us and in all those who continue to learn from us, still grateful to us years after their departure.

Our moms have told us often, “I want what you have” and what we have is God. What they want is the patience, perseverance and surrender found when we put Him first in our lives and give Him our free will. We are working day in and day out to teach them this truth while helping them understand they are loved, cherished and adored by their Creator. We are working to help them understand no matter how many times they might fall, God is there and Joseph’s House is there to pick them up, dust them off and give them a fresh start.

Patience, perseverance and surrender make us childlike in the eyes of Our Lord in Heaven and we will continue to be little children to Him, as the ones He sends to Joseph’s House will be little children to us. PPS is the formula producing the miracles of Joseph’s House, and it can be the formula to change your life and all the lives of those you know and love. Work diligently my friends to be patient, to persevere and to surrender. You will fall in love with the result, and the result is God!

God Bless you always!

Love &Prayers,

Kitty

All Hands On Deck!

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Happy Sunday My Friends!

That is the kind of October it has been at Joseph’s House! After kicking off four Baby Bottle Drives, hosting the Parade of Homes with Sciuga Builders, working with Team Chevy and Gaspirini Landscaping on our playground, preparing for our At Home With Joseph’s House, Our Gala in Your Home video and then the day to day activities of our home with six moms and 10 little ones, it has been busy to say the least and very much a full team effort tackling all the happenings.

This week there have been days with all our moms working or in school where we have a very full daycare. This is an area of our home we could not run without our volunteers and our dedicated staff.  This week we also hosted mass and dinner for the Syracuse Catholic Women’s Conference speakers and the Women’s Commission. This event required the help of all our moms who scrubbed, polished, dusted and shined all areas of our spacious home along with our staff and many volunteers as well. Furniture was moved, flowers were arranged and accouterments were added making our lovely home more spectacular than normal and giving everyone a sense of pride because of their hard work and contributions.

The mass and dinner that took place Friday evening were a celebration of reverence and companionship with humble, talented people on fire for Christ, our church and our mission. While we visited and shared our story with these wonderful folks, our moms and little ones enjoyed a night out at Billy Beez with more staff and volunteers.  Yesterday as we attended the Women’s Conference and heard the testimonies of the new friends met the night before, our moms and kids once again had a fun day out at Trunk or Treat at Holy Family Church once again with the assistance of more dedicated staff.

As if this wasn’t all enough we had parishioners from St. Mary’s in Skaneateles and students from Bishop Grimes drop off van loads of diapers, wipes, detergent and personal care items for our moms and little ones. As an added bonus, we had a visit from an Exodus mom who came bearing gifts of homemade soaps for all our moms and hand-written notes from her now 6-year-old daughter.

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I thank God often for the people He has brought into my life because of this mission. There are moms and children as well as staff young enough to be my children and grandchildren whom I have come to love as family. There are many others as well, working as volunteers, working in parishes in our area, in other ministries, those who visit our home and support our mission I now consider friends and mentors. When I think about how many I have come to know, how many new friends have changed my life because of this work, I am taken to my knees in thanks and praise. I never knew before Joseph’s House how many truly good, selfless, God-loving people there are in our city and in our church. I am amazed by the depths of their faith, the depths of their compassion and the oceans of hope, faith and love radiating from them.

Such is the scope of this mission. Quite honestly a scope we could have never envisioned as we began this work. A scope that not only changes the lives of moms and babies but a scope also changing the lives of staff, of volunteers, of all those hearing our story of mercy and miracles. Joseph’s House is a mission not only requiring all hands-on-deck, but also a mission altering those hands, those minds and those hearts showing them first hand, the love of Christ.  It’s no wonder we are constantly joyful and joy-filled! Come visit us, join us and become part of our crew as a staff member, a volunteer, or as a supporter and experience the presence of Christ in our home and in your hearts. I can promise you, you will never regret it! God Bless you my friends!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

THE JOY OF LIFE!

Mason, now four and a half years old, born in April 2014 our first Joseph’s House newborn baby!

Mason, now four and a half years old, born in April 2014 our first Joseph’s House newborn baby!

“Every October, the Catholic Church celebrates Respect Life month to honor God for creating all human life. We are reminded that every human life is made in God’s image and likeness and has infinite value and worth. Each of you, through your baptism, has been called to discipleship. You’ve been called to learn more about yourself and God, to celebrate the Sacraments, and to serve one another in love. When we do these things, we show God how much we value his gift of life.

— Lisa Hall, Director of Respect Life Ministry Diocese of Syracuse

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Beautiful words above from our friend Lisa Hall spoken at the Respect Life Mass this past Thursday at the Cathedral. Powerful words were spoken by Msgr. Yennock concerning the toll abortion has taken on our society. More than 60 million lives and souls lost because the law of our land says it is legal to kill the most innocent lives in the safest place they should ever know, the womb of their mother. More than 60 million lives lost because we do not understand every life is a gift from God.

At mass at Joseph’s House this past Friday, Msgr. O’Brien reminded us of this gift that is life. He reminded us Our Lord knows every hair on our head and has a unique plan for our lives that only we are able to fulfill. Each time we kill a child in the womb of his mother we alter God’s plan for our world and something good and special, something holy, and of God is lost.

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”
— Luke 12:7

Joseph’s House is the antithesis of the law of our land. We are a place where any expectant mom can come with her children and find people supporting her decision to carry new life and bring their child into the world. We are a place where young lost souls, many of them once considering abortion, can find God’s unique calling for their lives so they may then help their children find theirs. We are a place where hopes and dreams once thought impossible come to fruition. We are a place surrounded and enveloped in the mercy of Christ for the good of His children.

We impart this good news to all who join us so they understand in every way the depth of God’s love for them and their children. This results in many accomplishments and much good news to share. Every mom in our home is either employed, interviewing or taking classes for their GED or classes at the college level. Our success stories are increasing, our transitional housing program is moving forward and the calls from those wanting to join us or open a home like ours are never-ending.

We have a mom working full-time, taking GED classes who just received her driver’s license because of our newly instituted driver’s ed program. We have a mom working full-time taking classes at OCC with a 90+ average, who’s older child will soon be entering outside daycare. This is the first step to transitioning out of our home and into transitional housing. We have a mom with a flair for cooking who fills our home with fragrant aromas warming our souls and tummies as the colder weather shares its’ chill. We have a mom who never believed she was capable of passing any high school exams doing so well in her classes her instructor told her she will be ready to take her equivalency exam in a few weeks. We have an Exodus mom who successfully passed her GED exam with flying colors after failing it several times before.

We are Joseph’s House and we exist to promote the sanctity of human life and the dignity of all women. We exist to help those who believe they are helpless and hopeless and show them the way to growing in confidence in themselves and envisioning new possibilities for their lives. We exist to make all our moms and children understand they are truly loved and cherished by God and by us. We exist to make them believe for the first time in their lives they are strong, they are capable and they are worthy of finding a good man who will love and respect them in the way God has ordered.

This is a life-affirming, life-giving, most inspiring place to work, volunteer and live. Our home comes with all the problems of a very large family, sometimes with the heartache of disappointments but more often with the joy of milestones achieved. We are blessed to witness our moms and their children blossom from the depths of despair to the heights God has planned for them. We are given each day in our home the opportunity to respect life, to save life and to renew life for all those calling Joseph’s House their home.

We invite you to join us in this most glorious adventure that is Joseph’s House through working with us, volunteering with us and or supporting us with a monetary gift. The possibilities are endless for your life and the sanctity of human life should you decide to join us! We hope to hear from you soon! God Bless you my friends!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty