A Tradition of Caring Since 1860
Those in attendance at the 2012 LCUSA national assembly in Washington had the opportunity to meet Sr. Mary Bader, D.C., Chief Executive Officer of St. Ann’s Center. Sr. Mary presented a workshop on the increasing needs of impoverished children and pregnant and parenting teenagers and how those needs were being met. That mission continues today as St. Ann’s closes one door but opens another for young mothers and their children.
As everyone faces changes, the former St. Ann’s Maternity Home is no exception. Renewal and transformation are taking place in a home where the Daughters of Charity have cared for and loved so many abandoned and abused children. The pressing needs of today’s vulnerable children, young mothers and families necessitated a transformation of this home. Nurseries have been renovated into bedrooms and community living rooms, and up-to-date kitchens have been customized on the second floor known as the Hope House. Young mothers now have a place to live and learn while embracing the responsibility of parenthood, realizing not only their own potential but also paving a positive future for their children. A federal grant has been received that allows St. Ann’s Center to work with a specific number of homeless mothers and their children.
The Archdiocese of Washington Ladies of Charity has been involved and supported St. Ann’s since the early 1900’s. Today is no exception as some of the Ladies have volunteered to mentor the young mothers weekly and other associations have equipped several kitchens in the Hope House with everyday necessities. As the ladies love to shop, there were many gifts delivered to St. Ann’s so that these young mothers would feel that their home was truly a loving and welcoming place. How grateful the Ladies are to be participating in this exciting new chapter at St. Ann’s.
Relative to St. Ann’s mission and as Ladies of Charity, we should be aware of important and startling numbers reported by the National Center on Family Homelessness. Among industrialized nations, the United States has the largest number of homeless women and children. Not since the Great Depression have so many families been without homes. Among all homeless women, 60% have children under age 18, but only 65% of them live with at least one of their children. A typical homeless family consists of a mother and two children (Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress). St. Ann’s today helps cover that gap as a Center for Children, Youth and Families in a changing time. In celebrating the blessing of the Hope House on December 7, we were reminded that “there was no room in the inn in Bethlehem but there is room in the inn at St. Ann’s.”
– Lucy Saunders