Dear Friend of the Philomena House,
This March we were busy putting warm winter clothes on a beautiful baby girl born to one of our mothers in February. At that time three other women were awaiting the birth of their babies. By April, two more beautiful babies had arrived, a boy and a girl. All the babies are making great progress in their growth and development. The boy smiles, when he chooses. The highlight of the photography session of last Saturday was when he shared a huge smile with our volunteer photographer. The last young woman living with us, is due in mid-July, but just now she is regularly attending the classes needed to earn her GED.
Recently I asked one of our guests how she would describe Philomena House. “The Philomena House is comfortable, supportive and safe”. All of us at the House are so very grateful to each of our benefactors who help us provide this stable ‘home’ for these young women.
This spring, volunteers remodeled our basement to create a recreation space including a microwave oven and a small refrigerator. The room is a cozy pink with an oil painting and a watercolor print on the wall. The women love the room with its comfy chairs. We have good DVD and VHS movies but nothing to play them on since our donated TV stopped working. If you have an extra one you could donate we would appreciate it.
Many of you know that after more than four years of selfless service, Sharon King, our first residential housemother has retired. Typical of Sharon she continues to volunteer and has been invaluable in orienting her replacements. Sierra Lobby, will join Judy Lagowski as the new housemothers. Our guests will continue to be well supported, following Sharon’s outstanding example. Sierra is a college psychology major and will be a senior this fall. She is from Minnesota with strong pro-life roots. She has spent hours as a sidewalk counselor outside abortion clinics in both St. Paul and New York.
Plans for opening the Majella House are moving forward. We hope this additional home serving pregnant women who are both homeless and have other children will open in mid-June. It is an answer to our prayers, patterned after the Philomena House, and organized under our 501c3. We will happily accept donations for the Majella House. Just make your check to Majella House and we will direct it to their account.
All of us at Philomena House continue to be very grateful for the generosity of all our contributors and volunteers whose hearts and hands do God’s work.
Joyce Nevins, Director
We welcomed three newborn baby girls in March and one baby boy in April. All babies are thriving and enjoying the attentions of many “moms” who volunteer and babysit here. Now we can serve four guests at a time plus two housemothers.
Philomena House is happy to be a recent recipient of a grant
…a Social Impact Grant from the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF). This grant was made possible by many donors – past and present – whose annual generosity and belief in the power of endowment has allowed CCF to steward and grow endowment funds. These funds provide annual grants to meet the greatest needs in our community.
Family living is our model
At Philomena House each mother has her own bedroom with a crib for her newborn. Once a week, we hold “family meetings” during which the the director names her concerns and mothers have their “say” about life at Philomena House. These family meetings serve to create a harmonious living situation among people who don’t know each other really well.
To further enhance orderly family living, the House has a set of rules and regulations that guests agree to before moving in. After three years of trial and usage, these rules have proven to be beneficial and supportive of our goal: to help lead our guests toward independent living.
Good nutrition is paramount
To maintain the health of our expectant mothers, we have a nutrition plan in place, which we evaluate regularly. In that way, we can know that our guests are eating properly for their own well-being and that of their babies.
Our mothers may stay up to a year
We keep these young mothers until they’re ready to leave. Once they’ve made life choices such as jobs and housing, they want to go. The mothers who have left too early often regret it and want to come back.
Site visits from our benefactors
We have an upcoming site visit from the Minnesota Department of Health, an annual event that we welcome. Also, one of our benefactors, the Catholic Community Foundation, paid us a nice visit and gave us a grant.
Thank you for your contributions
Your contributions mean everything to us.
The money you send goes directly into a fund that buys emergency clothing, eyeglasses, affordable entertainment and more! We need these things on an everyday basis. Please continue your generosity. Know that you are making a huge contribution to the safety and personal growth of young mothers who depend on us.
After three years of operating Philomena House, we understand that God wanted this haven for young, homeless mothers. You have been an enormous help in so many ways:
prayers, volunteering, gifts of baby clothes and money. Thank you.
We keep you in our prayers and ask that you pray for us too. We feel the “lift” of those prayers in meeting the everyday challenges we encounter at Philomena House.
Joyce E. Nevins, Director
PS. Our guests at Philomena House would welcome your contributions of your used DVDs or videos. Subject matter should be enteraining and uplifting, suitable for young women aged 18 to 26. Contact me at 651-488-9652.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.The reason the world does not know usis that it did not know Him.Beloved, we are God’s children now; It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. –1 John, 3
Thanks to God and all of you, we at Philomena House have been serving homeless, expectant mothers since May 24, 2014 – more than two years now.
We’ve come a long way in a short time
A relatively new program, Philomena House has achieved remarkable, early successes in serving pregnant, homeless women, ages 18 to 26 in Minnesota.
• More than 50% of all guests stayed in the program
• Each guest mom delivered a healthy baby who continues to thrive
• Noteworthy individual achievements include
— high school graduation
— attendance in a community college
— a commercial driver’s license
None of these outcomes would be predicted for a pregnant woman suffering
What’s inspiring is that each young woman who comes to us says that she prayed to God to help her find help such as ours.
Your prayers and contributions have helped make this level of success possible. In your charity, please keep us top-of-mind. Send us your contribution today, so we may continue our success in providing a safe shelter for expectant, homeless young women. Enclosed is a self-addressed envelope for your convenience.
Baby girl Aubrielle came to us in early August when her guest mother gave birth. Everyone here remarked at what a beautiful child she is.
We are now housing and counseling three expectant mothers, two due in October and one in November, so Philomena House is a happy, busy place.
As director, I am doing a year-long evaluation of nutrition for homeless, pregnant women for the Minnesota Department of Health, our grantor. The study will have us shopping by nutrition labels for protein, low salt and carbohydrates, sugar and vitamins. I’m cooking one meal a month for our Philomena House family, based on the study.
Young women come to us desperate, with many issues, including health problems in addition to the pregnancy. Confinement during the colder months make it nearly impossible for our guests to get the exercise they require for health and safe delivery.
So…anyone walking into our House will be amazed at the two new pieces of professional grade exercise equipment on the first floor. We’ve installed a big bike and a treadmill outfitted with many gadgets. And we’re putting these two additions to good use.
We hope to expand
We’re working with the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) and Department of Safety and Inspection to make full use of the space we now enjoy. We have applied for a state license, and in the process we discovered that we can now house house two more adults. So rather than four, we can now house six unrelated adults in a supportive living arrangement. However…there is much more for us to do before we approach the District 4 Council with plans. Please pray for us.
Moms want to get on their feet and achieve independence
Each of our moms is required to have a job or be enrolled in school. Then we help them in all other areas they are working on to attain self-reliance. Low cost housing is one of their major challenges because there is little available in the Twin Cities. While moms can get jobs and day care, a place to call home is nearly impossible to find. We welcome your ideas.
Here at Philomena House we maintain an ever-expanding catalog of community resources, which we continually enlarge, and which our moms find highly useful.
Thank you for the baby clothes
To the delight of our guests, generous volunteers have donated baby clothes of every size for infants and toddlers. Many of these pieces have never been worn. Imagine a new mother being able to dress her child in beautiful, fresh sleepers, sweaters and hats, daywear and snowsuits. We keep an abundant repository that our guests love to choose from and keep. Those of you who gave have made us very happy.
On the lighter side, our van saves the day
You may recall that last year we were shopping for a van to carry us on our many errands and appointments. We also use it to take us on excursions and outings. This summer we headed out for a visit to the Como Park Zoo and a nearby picnic site.
Shortly after we laid out our food under the sun, we were assaulted by a squadron of insects. Wasps? Yellow jackets? They bore down on us like an army, hungry and angry.There were enough of us to run fast and carry our picnic to the van and slam the doors.
Please continue your support
If you would like to give monthly, here’s how:
• Payroll deduction. Arrange with your employer.
• Auto Bill Bank through your bank.
• Send us a check by mail, monthly.
P.O. Box 13014
Roseville, MN 55113
Along with your contributions, we receive our main support from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), through the Positive Alternative Act. For the two-plus years that we’ve been accepting guests, we’ve received high marks from the MDH.
We continue to keep you in our prayers. And we thank you for your generous contributions that make Philomena House a sanctuary for homeless, expectant mothers.
Joyce Nevins, Director
(cell 651-334-5913) (651-488-9652)
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, You are mine. –Isaiah 43:1
A joyous new year to you from our staff, volunteers, new babies, our moms and those awaiting new babies!
We pray that God give us all His gifts of courage and wisdom to embrace the
life He holds out to us in 2016.
We look to another year of blessings on Philomena House, including your contributions to our vital work in helping moms and saving babies’ lives. You should know that more than 100 volunteers also helped us in our work, some of them ready to fly to our aid at a moment’s notice. Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks.
The Minnesota Department of Health, Positive Alternatives Act, has invited us to submit a proposal for an additional grant of revenue. Grants will be awarded for three years, June 20, 2016 to June 30, 2019, with the possibility of an extension until December 31, 2020.
Award decisions will be made approximately May 1, 2016.
With these monies, we can do ever so much more for our moms and babies.
• rental of our house (owned by a benefactor of Philomena House)
• marketing programs like our pregnancy help line
• computer and printer for moms to assist in finding jobs, schools,
• our office printer and copier to communicate with Minnesota Department
Health and our volunteers
Our relationship with the Minnesota Department of Health is a good one. We received high marks on their visit to Philomena House this year, so we hope for a good return on our grant proposal!
Al Clasemann and Paul Arend
Three of our valiant volunteers have gone to God this fall.
Al Clasemann, father of Geralyn and Mary Ellen Clasemann, Philomena House board members, died at the age of 96 on September 24, 2015. Al stamped thousands of return envelopes for our mailings while seated in his walker.
Paul Arend died December 17, 2015 during the Hour of Mercy. Paul helped put Philomena House in shape for us by repairing everything that needed it—perfectly.
His work for us includes a refurbished antique desk in our office, donated by board member, Duane Sanocki.
Bernadine Scroggins, Co-director
As you may know, Philomena House was started by four volunteers, two with experience serving homeless, pregnant women. Bernadine Scroggins and her husband Merlyn were pioneers in spreading the message of the value of every human life, traveling throughout Minnesota for the last 40 years. Together they were instrumental in helping establish some 20 Birthright facilities throughout the state.
Bernie and Merlyn welcomed into their own home seven homeless pregnant women and guided them to independent lives with their new babies. So Philomena House was Bernie’s dream come true. She helped draft and finalize the constitution and policies we have in place today that create an atmosphere of peace and love. On October 2, 2015, our co-director since 2008, Bernie Scroggins died during the Hour of Mercy.
Merlyn is now living at the Sunrise Senior Living center in Roseville.
We are heartbroken and believe God abundantly blesses His “good and faithful servants.”
Please pray for us as we pray for you.
Joyce Nevins, Director
(cell 651-334-5913) (651-488-9652)
P.S. Your contributions are tax-deductible. Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope and mail it to us.
Two more newborns are living in our home with their mothers. Both children are thriving and developing well, much to our delight. Levi is a strong, handsome boy, highly alert for his age. He’s able to look around and though he doesn’t yet hold up his head, he’s trying. Chantelle, a Valentine to her mother on February 14, is a healthy, good-natured baby. The first baby girl in our family, this cute newborn attracts a lot of attention from everyone in the house.
Last year’s moms and babies have moved on into the community
Babies Nabeel and Kingston, born last summer, graduated Philomena House with their
moms at holiday time. You saw these two little boys’ photos in our December 2014
letter. Nabeel and his mom come back for visits.
Needed: a late-model 8-seat Honda Odyssey Van
We are still shopping for a used Honda Odyssey, eight-seat utility van with the safety features that make it suitable for transporting moms and babies. Please look around. If you find one, we may want to see it. Call Joyce Nevins.
Encouraging words from the Carmelite nuns
We join you in giving thanks and praise to Our Lady and St. Philomena for the four babies and their mothers who have been blessed to find a warm and safe shelter in Philomena House. With so many negative things happening in our world, it is refreshing to know of the goodness of God manifested in the charity of others as they keep Philomena House open and prospering…”
The Carmelite Nuns, Lake Elmo
Come to our 2nd Annual One-Day Yard Sale on May 15
Find treasures on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Philomena House Yard Sale 386 Mississippi River Boulevard South in Saint Paul 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting Rain date: Saturday, May 16. We are looking for volunteers to assist with the set up and packing, and to help during the sale. We also need donations such as clothing, household goods, toys, etc. Last on our list are gifts of baked goods, water and soda for the bake sale. Contact Mary Henseler, 651-278-5251.
It’s tax-return time
Philomena House is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization, so your contributions are taxdeductible.Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope for your donation, which continues your work and ours, making a first home for newborn babies and their mothers.
Joyce Nevins, Director