For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9: 5
Dear Friend of Philomena House:
We thank you at the start of this giving season for your generosity to Philomena House. Our first guest came to us in May 2014, followed soon after by three more moms—and two babies. Now our house is a home! You helped make it possible.
Gifts of every kind poured in, cash, handsome furniture, kitchen ware, hand appliances, linens, maternity clothes. Anything we mentioned, fell into our hands. And when you prayed, God answered. Now we have a corps of capable, problem-solving volunteers on the board and on committees. Some recruit and direct volunteers, some do training and ongoing mentoring of our moms and some stand in to give our housemother time off (especially needed on all Sundays). Both adults and teens come to expedite our outgoing mail and to help with housecleaning and gardening. We always need drivers during the week to take our guests to doctor/dentist appointments and other destinations in town. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact our chairman of volunteers, Katie Sampair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our first guest said this about her life at Philomena House:
“This is a home where you can be comfortable. It feels like it’s home…
It is relaxing with some structure and an encouraging environment. People are here for you – you are not alone.”
Our guest moms are learning and growing toward self-reliance, so they can thrive in society when they leave us. Most of all, they are learning to be loving and peaceful persons.
- Each guest mom has a personal mentor who walks with her through her stay, helping her set and reach her goals and following her progress toward self-reliance.
- One guest is completing her high school diploma and attending classes. Another guest has lovely front teeth, thanks to the care of our volunteer dentist. And three received fresh haircuts from our volunteer stylist.
- Every two weeks a coach comes to the Philomena House kitchen to teach cooking, a key skill in homemaking. This summer, our housemother and guests cooked a stir-fry chicken dinner with vegetables from our backyard garden.
- Life coach, Kay, has tutored moms in managing the areas of life they face in single or family life. She has discussed with them the transition from homelessness to home with the support of others.
- Financial planners, Sharon and Carol, introduce and teach money and asset management, a skill most young people do not possess and very much need.
More education and support…
- This spring, Mary Bochek of the Minnesota Department of Health addressed the volunteers of Philomena House on their obligations and our expectations as related to our state grant. (We acquired this generous grant through the state’s Positive Alternatives Act Program (http://www.health.state.mn.us). Mary follows our progress closely and is always ready to advise, based on her long experience in social services to women and children.
- Moms have the ongoing support of pre-and post-partum doulas. Our doulas, mostly nurses, instruct moms on physiological and psychological changes in the mother, on infant care and feeding as well as when to see or call a doctor. One of our doulas helped with the delivery and birth of Baby Boy Nabeel in June.
- This summer, Becky, a young single mom at the time of her delivery, helped us paint a room. She also addressed our guests on the experience of pregnancy in high school. Becky proved that this act of love, bringing a baby into the world and living the life of a single mom, takes the support of others and emotional strength on the mom’s part. The attending volunteers had many questions.
- Mary Ball, attorney and executive director of the Catholic Adoption Agency, spoke to our volunteers and guests on adoption options in the Saint Paul area. We want our moms to understand their options and the legal implications of each as they plan for the futures of their babies.
- Margaret Ganjes, experienced director of “To Bear Witness,” and longtime mentor and friend to Philomena House founders, spoke to a large group of interested volunteers on mentoring. In asking Margaret to describe the job, we hoped to recruit women from the group. And we did!
Remember, our guests come to us with nothing!
One guest came with only the clothes she was wearing, not even respectable shoes. With your help, we gave her the clothing and shoes she needed. Some expenses are not covered through our grants. So we use the money you’ve donated to buy necessities such as eyeglasses, which as you know, are costly. Two of our guests now wear much needed glasses, which we purchased for her. With your money, we bought beds to ensure that our guests sleep comfortably through pregnancy and after.
We bought a computer-friendly desk for one of our guests who attends school to use in her room. That way she can work and study while watching her baby. She was thrilled.
Anyone with a family can imagine the abundance of baby articles we need that require constant replenishing and that cannot be pre-used. To name a few, diapers, diaper ointments, baby bottles and nipples. Thanks to you, we’re able to finance all this, and feel grateful for your providence and generosity. We still need a van for everyday transportation. Let us know if you have an idea about how we can acquire one.
A brief report on our two baby boys, Nabeel and Kingston
Nabeel, born in late June, is ready for solid food as of this writing. He’s a most engaging fellow. When his mother comes home from school, he lights up, waving arms and legs and bestowing hugs on her. When Sharon our housemother sings to him at bedtime, he hums along. He laughs, plays, coos and reaches for things. Those who care for him say he’s strong and good at sleeping.
Kingston, a month younger than Nabeel, is a robust baby with well-developed muscles and lungs. His mother is proud of him and his baby accomplishments. Like Nabeel, he laughs, plays and reaches. Both boys sit in their swing chairs, transfixed as they watch the educational video Baby Einstein, on the computer screen in the dining room.
A word of gratitude at Christmastime
All of us who serve Philomena House thank you for everything you’ve given us from the day before we even had a place for our guests to live. The Christ Child lives! We pray that He blesses you for helping us bring Nabeel and Kingston into the safety of Philomena House. Please remember us in this season of giving with your end-of-year contributions and your anticipated tax refunds. And please pray for us as we continue to pray for you.
You are invited to Holy Mass on Saturday January 3
Come be with us on Saturday evening, January 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm for Holy Mass, which is being celebrated for your intentions and those of all the benefactors of Philomena House. A reception afterwards will follow in the church hall. Parking available in the church lot.
Church of the Holy Childhood
1435 Midway Parkway
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108
Geralyn Clasemann (651-646-0626) if you have questions.
We await the birth of two more cute babies in February!
Joyce Nevins (651) 488-9652
Co-director of Philomena House
P.S. Remember that Philomena House is a 501 (c) (3) corporation, making your contributions deductible and tax-free. Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope.