Newsletter: July 2022

Dear Friends of Joseph House:

“We are not expecting utopia here on earth. But God meant things to be much easier than we have made them.”

These are words of Dorothy Day (1897-1980), a woman who dedicated her life to peace and the works of mercy. She was a friend of our founder, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, and she came to visit the Joseph House back in the 1960s. Dorothy’s cause for sainthood has already started. She is someone we admire very much.

And like Dorothy said, we don’t expect life to be perfect, but we can, and must, do better. The horrific violence that has occurred in our country has been devastating to contemplate and difficult to process. Along with you, we have felt shocked, stunned, heartbroken, sad, angry, upset . . . you name it. But no matter what, it’s important that we not feel helpless.

After the school shooting in Texas, the Archbishop of San Antonio said that we have turned guns into idols. An idol is something we worship—and what we worship is what we listen to and obey. There’s a pantheon of idols in our society; chaos and destruction are their gifts to us. The First Commandment is what it is for a reason. When we follow false gods the road leads to ruin.

Everyone has ideas on how to make the world a better place. The starting point can only be with ourselves. Jesus sought out times and places of quiet, so that’s probably a good thing for us too. For guidance we can read His words: we suggest the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) and John’s account of the Last Supper (Jn 13-17). Our spirits get starved for truth, and only by refreshing them with the springs of divine grace can we act in ways that offer hope instead of despair.

Nothing will change in our country without a firm and abiding dedication to the common good. Our faith teaches us that we are one Body in Christ, all of us together, the little no less than the great. We have responsibilities to each other, and the duty to protect the most vulnerable among us is of the utmost importance. The solutions to our problems are limited only by our resolve to find them. What else is required of us? Here is another thought from Dorothy:

“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution that has to start with each one of us.”

Dorothy Day

Like every organization that serves the public, the Joseph House has a role to play in creating a just and peaceful world. We are grateful every single day that God has entrusted us with this mission and that we can count on you to be a faithful friend. Thank you for opening your heart to people in need. Making sure everyone has enough to eat and a place to live are works of peace.

Last month we shared a story from Gerry, one of our volunteers at the Joseph House Crisis Center. Here is another one, this time involving a 66-year-old woman who had been homeless for more than a year:

“When I first met Betsy she impressed me as a very happy lady. Bright eyes, a warm smile, and a soft and pleasant voice. I wondered why a calm and relaxed person was at the Joseph House. I was about to find out.

“In my interview with Betsy she very calmly explained her need: she was looking to rent a room from someone that was going to cost $800 per month. A month’s rent was required in advance. When I asked her where she was moving from, she very matter-of-factly told me that she had been living in her car for over a year (and the motor had just gone out).

“Betsy had made arrangements with three local churches to help with her need, but was still $400 short. In order to see how the Joseph House could help, I interviewed Betsy about her finances. Here is what I learned: she is living on a Social Security benefit of $462 per month; the $800 per month rent is from a very gracious couple that understands her plight and is willing to pay her $400 per month to do laundry, chores around the house, and yard work; that leaves her $400 of rent to pay from her $462 benefit.

“When I asked Betsy how she gets by, she smiled and said, ‘I still have $62 per month left, and since my cell phone only costs $50, I still have $12 left.’

“We gladly sent the $400 to the landlord. I also called her to commend her willingness to help a such a meek, grateful, and deserving soul.”

Being able to assist people who have next to nothing is a real joy, but their struggles show us we have a long way to go in creating a truly just society. Let’s promise each other not to give up in our efforts.

We will have photos from the canonization of Charles de Foucauld posted on our website shortly. One of the lessons of the saints is that God works through individuals in every time and place. Each person makes a difference, including you! Our lives and circumstances are so diverse, and that means every corner of the world can be filled with love. As Mother Teresa said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Thank you for your support of our ministry to the poor. May the blessings of peace and good health be with you.

Your Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary

We extend to you the gift of prayer. Please send us your special intentions so we can remember you when we gather in our chapel: Contact Form.

Even a small gift makes a big difference to someone in need. You can help us in our mission to the poor: Donate.

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