Sister Nancy was one of the founding members of The Dwelling Place in 1977. Since then, she has helped countless women build independent lives.
What inspired you to help create The Dwelling Place?
The need to provide shelter for women. There were too many homeless women, not enough shelters.
How would you describe The Dwelling Place to someone who’s never been here?
The Dwelling Place is a ministry to and for homeless women. Each woman is treated as an individual in need to be loved, cared for and respected.
What do you wish people knew about The Dwelling Place?
That we’re here.
How is The Dwelling Place different than other shelters?
Because we do not receive government funding, we are able to adapt our programs according to the needs of the women. Being small enables us to know the women, identify and meet their needs.
Can you describe a typical—or not so typical—day at The Dwelling Place?
There are no typical days at The Dwelling Place. This is a blessing in that you can’t get “into a rut.” Not knowing the answers but knowing where to look and being open to the challenge of the day is “typical.”
Can you share a favorite memory?
One of our ladies decided to return to Florida. As I was helping her pack her belongings, I gave her a big hug and she said to me, “If you see me, say hello.” It opened my eyes to the need of all of us—to be acknowledged as a person.
What inspires you?
The gospel, my Franciscan roots, the women, staff, our Board members and notes and letters from our benefactors.
And last but not least, what makes you smile?
Aside from a good joke… When I see a woman transition from a state of confusion, mental anguish and loneliness, to one of independence and hope. I just received a card from a woman who is moving out to her own place. She was confused, unfocused and frightened. Her opening line was, “and today I’m amazed that I want to live life.” I’m smiling.