Newsletter: September 2019

Dear Friends of Joseph House:

A friend of ours has been going through a difficult time. Worries keep her up at night. She will go for a walk to clear her head but that doesn’t help. She prays to God a lot. She prays very simply and honestly. When we spoke with her we did our best to assure her that God will answer her prayers. Her response: “But I need an answer NOW!”

Our friend is not impious, angry, or demanding. She’s not stamping her foot expecting God to be at her beck and call. She’s afraid. She’s feeling the weight of her problem and there doesn’t seem to be any solution to it. She doesn’t know what will happen or what she can do.

Chances are you understand how our friend feels. Sooner or later, we all come to the end of our rope. Our usual supports will give way. Like our friend, we will feel weak, powerless, and vulnerable. We’ll reach our limits and no longer have control over the events that impact our lives. Insecurity will gnaw away at our peace of mind.

At the Joseph House, we and our volunteers hear many laments from people undergoing the trials of life. Often we feel there is little we can do. We can only be like Mary and the beloved disciple John, who stood at the foot of the Cross, unable to do anything except be there. Where they stood was unimaginably frightening and desolate, but fear did not keep them away. Love gives us courage to go where we’d rather not.

And where were their eyes focused? Not on themselves. If it seems we can do little it’s because we’re looking at our limitations, at how impossible the situation appears to be. The words of Oscar Romero, who was recently canonized, steer us in a helpful direction:

“We cannot do everything, and there is sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.”

We could not go on if we didn’t believe in the grace of God that’s always at work. God’s pretty good at filling in the gaps left by even our best efforts—in fact we depend on it!

Every inkling of compassion, every tug at our heart to do good…that’s God asking us to be the loving and caring people we were created to be. Thank you for being part of the Joseph House family. Through your donations, your prayers, and all the ways you show your support, you are making a difference.

Brandy, 36, has been homeless for the past six months. Although young, she suffered a stroke. Her mobility is not completely impaired, but holding down a job is not possible. Brandy’s monthly disability check will keep her in an apartment and off the streets. She found a suitable place to live, and we sent $180 to the landlord to help cover the security deposit.

Natasha, 35, was also homeless and living in a shelter with her two children. She found a retail job that was almost full time (30 hours per week), and soon after that, an apartment she could afford. Things were looking up until she learned of the security deposits due: $690 for the apartment and $200 for the electric. Natasha had been saving her money, but her time was almost up at the shelter. We contributed $175 so she and her children could move into the apartment and not be homeless again.

Louis and his wife Joan have a combined Social Security income of $707 monthly. Their tiny house is in a neighborhood of substandard housing. Louis is 71 and being treated for stomach cancer. The extra expense for prescription medications is making it impossible for them to pay their other necessary bills. To prevent the power from being turned off in their home, we sent $150 to the electric company.

Gretchen is 50 and undergoing chemotherapy as part of her cancer treatment. She came to see us before having surgery to remove her kidney. Gretchen hopes to go back to work someday, but right now her health doesn’t permit it. Gretchen has subsidized housing (a real lifesaver but so hard to get), although her rent hasn’t been adjusted yet to reflect her loss of income. She owed money for rent, and if she didn’t pay it she would be evicted and lose her subsidy. We paid $220 to make sure that wouldn’t happen.

Haley, 59, lives alone and just had her car repossessed. She has been trying to get by on $560 a month Unemployment. Her most recent job interview went well and that led to a promise for an upcoming position. Her lack of transportation, however, was going to be an obstacle.

A local car dealership agreed to sell Haley a used car in excellent condition for $595—well below the usual asking price. One of our volunteers, Jack, accompanied Haley to the dealer to inspect the car and go over the sale. An agreement was made for the Joseph House to pay $250 up front with Haley paying the balance after she started working. She was overjoyed, and we were happy that we can do whatever it takes to help people get back on their feet.

Stefanie, 35, is working to provide for her two children. Her budget is very tight, with the rent taking 65% of her paycheck. Stefanie recently needed to have emergency dental work done on an infected tooth. It cost her $300, leaving her short on the rent money. We contributed $200 to help prevent her and her children from being evicted.

Our friend reminded us that the needs of the poor cannot wait. When someone is in a desperate situation, help is needed NOW, not sometime in the future. Thanks to your faithful support, we can respond quickly and directly to the many cries for help at the Joseph House.

Signs of grace are everywhere—let’s keep our eyes open. And may God bless you!

Your Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary


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