The Dwelling Place of New York Spring 2016 Newsletter
Picture yourself arriving at the front door of The Dwelling Place with your meager belongings in hand feeling frightened and numb from the realization that you are homeless. Yet, here you are! Making the initial phone call asking for help and coming for the intake interview called forth all of your inner courage. Tears of relief fell from your eyes when at the end of your interview you heard, “Welcome to The Dwelling Place.”
As the front door opens to you on your move-in day your fears and humiliation are met by the encouragement and greetings of the team of women who are dedicated to serving you. They are happy to see you and welcome you as an honored guest. Are these women for real? Can I make it here? Could the “miracle” that I have been longing for and praying for be here before my eyes?
This spring we are honoring the women who work at The Dwelling Place each day providing “miracles” through their caring presence, dedication to all the details of homemaking, and wise guidance all mixed with tough love when needed. Our staff includes our case managers, Sister Nancy, Sister Pat, and Sister Margaret, whose counsel and direction are key to a woman’s journey from homeless to wholeness. Also key are the women who provide meals, housekeeping, and around the clock presence to the women. Thanks to Luisa, Carmela, Barbara, Ruth, Silvia, Eva, and Juliana who companion the women as they prepare and serve meals, do laundry, make sure the house is spotlessly clean and homey, welcome guests, receive deliveries, and keep watch day and night for the safety of the women and the building. All of these women are the HEART of The Dwelling Place.
Since you are the HEART of our funding, we ask for your generous support of the Spring Celebration Campaign to ensure the continued work of our case managers and staff, the beautiful women of The Dwelling Place!
Wishing you springtime peace and joy,
NOLLAIG NA BAN – WOMEN’S CHRISTMAS
by Maura Mulligan – A Volunteer
There was a time when women of Ireland worked side by side in the fields with their men while also being responsible for all the housework and raising of children. On one day of the year, January 6, they left the men to handle the household chores while the women shared a meal and caught up with each other’s lives. In the Irish language the day is called– Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas).
In modern Ireland women still gather in groups on January 6 to share and exchange news. The difference now is that the holiday has grown into a celebration of women’s contribution to modern life which also explores opportunities to raise awareness of women’s issues.
In keeping with the custom, I gathered friends together on January 6 here in New York. We exchanged recent experiences that have made a difference in our lives and acknowledged that while we are blessed, not everyone in this city is as fortunate. Our choice to help “The Dwelling Place of New York,” was the result of my volunteering there a couple of times at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I witnessed firsthand the generosity of the staff and the regular volunteers.
My group decided to host a fundraiser with Irish music, song and dance on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st. We invited Sister Joann and were inspired to hear her speak about the mission of The Dwelling Place and the difference the shelter makes in the lives of the women it serves.
Our next Nollaig Na mBan fundraising celebration for The Dwelling Place will be MAY 1ST the ancient Celtic festival of Bealtaine. We’ll spread news of this as time gets closer and we welcome everyone reading this to join us.
We are fortunate at our company in that we surround ourselves with kind and compassionate people who look to share their good fortune and experiences with those throughout our community every chance they can. Given that, we seek to partner with a number of charitable organizations each year and have found such immense joy and inspiration in our partnership with The Dwelling Place!
Providing a safe, nurturing environment for women who want to become the best versions of themselves is just the start of what the sisters and staff do. Yet it is their genuine belief in the strength and capabilities of the women who walk through those doors that is what we felt the most. A lot of people don’t really understand that meaningful eye contact, a few kind words and even just a smile are truly powerful forms of encouragement that can lift someone up when they are down. The staff at The Dwelling Place does, and every single person at my firm commented on this and recognized just how special the environment is there that they’ve worked so hard to create.
We believe strongly in the staff of The Dwelling Place and know that any time spent with them is time well spent!
For several years the Sisters on staff at The Dwelling Place have been visiting churches in the New York, New Jersey area to share the history, purpose, and services of The Dwelling Place. The stories and experiences they told show clearly how a program based on dignity, love and kindness produces effective results. Listeners were touched and wanted to help.
In 2015 the Sisters were invited to 7 churches as well as a few schools and civic groups. Each time, they found new supporters for the Dwelling Place and raised vital funds for continuing their work.
We are so grateful that you care deeply about The Dwelling Place and transforming the lives of homeless women. Whether you live in the city, or surrounding suburbs, your help in raising awareness about The Dwelling Place makes a big difference!
Just contact Sister Joann, at dpny409@aol. com or 212-564-7887, if you would like the Sisters to speak at your church, school, or civic/social group.