The Dwelling Place Summer 2015 Newsletter

springDear Friends,

The long winter has passed giving way to a myriad of spring blossoms and invigorating aromas of sweetness. Open windows welcome in warm breezes and the vibrant sounds of renewed life stirring on the streets of the city.

Here at The Dwelling Place we, too, are over-brimmed with spring. We are celebrating every new leaf in our patio and on the trees that line the street leading to our front door. Even more, we are rejoicing that new beginnings have been possible recently for some of our women whose long winter of homelessness has come to an end. With gratitude and excitement they moved on to their own living space prepared and eager for a fresh start. As they settle in their new homes, may they “catch their breath and sing!”

While we catch our breath from these transitions, we also prepare to welcome new women seeking safe shelter and caring support. Perhaps they will come from a long winter on and off the streets or from a desperate situation that left them with no place to call home. Whatever the circumstances, we remain dedicated to our mission, offering them refuge, healing, wise companionship, and hope that their current “winter” will give way to their “spring.” Perseverance, determination, and a willing spirit will light the way on their journey from fear and fragility to strength and a new purpose.

Thank you for cheering on these courageous women with your generous outpouring of support in every season of our life here at The Dwelling Place. To date, your donations to the Spring Fling Campaign brought in $15,000. Your contributions are making a big difference!

May your hearts be “fresh and fearless” while the music of springtime and summertime echoes in your soul!

–Sr. Joann


one-dayApril 21, 2015 was moving day for Lucile from The Dwelling Place to her new home in a supportive housing complex in uptown Manhattan. Lucile arrived at The Dwelling Place in October of 2012 following a difficult period of separation and divorce. She had lost everything, her home, her personal belongings, and most of all her dignity due to her husband’s infidelity.

Becoming homeless from the divorce, Lucile had no one to turn to for help. By this time her three sons were adults and living on their own with little space to take in their mother. Desperate, Lucile moved from place to place spending time with friends and other family members until she moved in with her mother where she stayed for several months. However, this living arrangement was not ideal for Lucile or her mother. Lucile’s counselor at the Mental Health Center, where she was finding support, recommended that she contact The Dwelling Place. Acting on this recommendation was the beginning of Lucile’s transformation.

“When I first came to The Dwelling Place I felt that I had become like a lost bird with a broken wing with no one to offer support. When the sisters and staff opened the door to me I immediately sensed the love and warmth that was present in this special place. Soon I felt comfortable and accepted.”

For over two years I called The Dwelling Place “home.” Here, I was guided by my sister case manager and participated in off-site mental health programs that taught me new life skills to cope more effectively with stress and my depression. Faithful participation in these programs also opened the way for me to apply and be accepted for my new housing.

With the guidance of the case managers here at The Dwelling Place, I am better able to manage my finances and my medications. Their caring support revived me, gave me hope, healing, and confidence to begin my new life.

Living at The Dwelling Place was truly a blessing. My motto was always; Take one day at a time, one step at a time. I would encourage any other woman reading my story who may find herself in circumstances that are similar to mine to contact the sisters and staff at The Dwelling Place. They will help you get yourself together and find your way.”


sister-margaretI am back on board “the good ship Dwelling Place” and happy to be part of the crew, helping however I can. One of my first responsibilities was to accompany Lucile to a housing interview. I remember two and a half years ago when Lucile came for her interview to be sheltered at The Dwelling Place. At that time I was taken by her gentleness and shyness. Since then, she has become a resilient and strong woman who is not afraid to tell her story. Many of our readers will remember Lucile telling her story to all of us at the annual Fall Gala. Her sons sat at the front table beaming with pride. I was deeply touched by this simple woman and her loving sons.

Last month as I sat listening to her at her housing interview, I was deeply touched again by her honesty and acceptance of her life as it is. She answered all of the questions without hesitation and was very open to receiving continued care and supervision which was being offered to her.

Lucile was accepted, given her key, and has since moved into her new room in supportive housing. I know she will be a great asset to the community at her new housing just as she was for The Dwelling Place community. She will be joining four other formerly homeless women from The Dwelling Place. I am sure they will have lots of tales to tell of their days at 409 W. 40th Street!

For Lucile and others like her, The Dwelling Place is a safe and nurturing environment where the women are loved unconditionally. This is the transformative element in their lives. It is actually God’s unconditional love at work on the “good ship Dwelling Place.”


Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY invited the leadership of the ministries that are part of their federation which includes The Dwelling Place to an evening of celebration and recognition for those who serve the most vulnerable in our city and surrounding area. As part of the evening festivities Cardinal Dolan presented special awards to staff and volunteers who serve in the various ministries associated with Catholic Charities. This event was held on Wednesday May 13 at Fordham University-Pope Auditorium.

The Dwelling Place is proud to announce that Sister Nancy Chiarello was one of the recipients of the Faithful Servant Award. This award recognizes consistent dedication by clergy and religious to the charitable and social mission of Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York. One of our long-time volunteers, Maryanne Bisulca Pietz, received the Meritorious Volunteer Award given for outstanding volunteer service. Maryanne has volunteered at The Dwelling Place for 27 years.

Members of the Board of Directors and staff were present to celebrate with Sister Nancy and Maryanne as they received these well-deserved awards. Congratulations to both of our awardees!

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