About Us

The Joseph House is a non-profit charitable organization that provides direct assistance to people with low incomes.

The founder of the Joseph House is Sr. Mary Elizabeth Gintling. She began in Baltimore in 1965, where she established three fundamental components that remain true today:

1). Joseph House helps the poor.
We wanted to help the people who fall through the cracks of the welfare system and who cannot receive help elsewhere.

2). Joseph House uses volunteers.
We wanted to give people the opportunity to share in acts of Christian charity. We also wanted to minimize operating expenses so most of our money would go toward direct aid to the poor.

3). Joseph House depends on Divine Providence.
Through the generosity of free-will donations of money, food, and other resources we wanted to avoid government funding and the restrictions and regulations that often accompany it. We wanted the freedom of the Holy Spirit in responding to the needs of the poor.

Since 1978, the Joseph House has been in Salisbury, Maryland, attending to the needs of the less-fortunate on the lower Delmarva Peninsula.

The Joseph House is administered by the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary, a community of Catholic women religious that was founded by Sr. Mary Elizabeth in 1974. Their convent is in Salisbury with an additional residence in Princess Anne, Maryland.

The Little Sisters oversee all aspects of the operation of the Joseph House. The work of the Joseph House is incorporated under their name, Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary, Inc., which is a non-profit and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.


Sr. Marilyn Bouchard is Superior General of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary. Sr. Connie Ladd is Vicar General.

Sr. Connie (left) and Sr. Marilyn.

Sr. Marilyn is from Green Bay, Wisconsin. She entered the community in 1991. Sr. Connie has been with the Little Sisters since 1986. She was born in Wilmington, Delaware and spent many years in Baltimore.

With assistance from an Advisory Board, the Council of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary organizes the operation and development of the activities of the Joseph House.

An additional Advisory Board helps to guide the Joseph House Workshop, a program of the Joseph House that provides long-term shelter and job preparation for homeless men.

A History of the Joseph House in Photos

The roots of the Joseph House are in the inner-city of Baltimore. This front-page story is from 1966.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth began the Joseph House as a layperson.
A free Montessori school was one of the early projects. The Joseph House also had a prison program to help inmates transition back into society. Other ministries included a gift shop, tutoring, family counseling, and emergency social services for people in crisis.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth began the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary with Pat Guidera in 1974. They relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland shortly thereafter and continued the Joseph House ministry.
A house for a convent was purchased in Salisbury in 1978.
At first, the Little Sisters went out to visit people in the countryside, bringing food, clothing, and other necessities.
To better accommodate the needs of the poor, the Joseph House Crisis Center opened in 1984. It has a Financial Assistance program for emergencies, a Soup Kitchen, and a Food Pantry. This is how the Crisis Center looked when it opened. A Hospitality Room for the Homeless was added in 1998.
Volunteers are essential to every aspect of the Joseph House.
For many years, the Joseph House operated a book and gift store in Ocean City, Maryland. The store closed in 2011.
Joseph House Village opened in 1991 to provide transitional housing for low-income families.
In 2000, the Village became autonomous and was renamed The Village of Hope.
Around the same time, Mountaire Farms donated a warehouse to the Joseph House to be used in a project to help the homeless. In 2001, Dave Pogge, CEO of Mountaire, presented the deed to Sr. Mary Elizabeth. The property was developed into the Joseph House Workshop.
The Workshop opened in 2005. It gives homeless men a place to live for up to two years as they acquire the skills needed for employment and other personal goals.
Sr. Mary Elizabeth passed away on October 27, 2004. The example she left us will always be the guiding light of the Joseph House.