Today is my last day at Maryhouse. I first came here in 2008 as a volunteer and then had the honor of serving as Director the last 5 years. I didn't know much about Maryhouse or Loaves and Fishes when I first came, but I knew I was somehow called to be here.
I've heard hundreds, probably thousands of stories during my time on North C Street and listening has been the most important part of my job. The women and children who come to Maryhouse demonstrate both bravery and vulnerability as they reveal their stories of tragedy and triumph. It has been an honor to sit alongside our guests and provide the presence and compassion that they deserve. I've always thought of these conversations as Sacred Space and they have changed me in a profound way.
During my time at Maryhouse I have witnessed moments of sorrow, joy, and beauty. I have witnessed the resilience of women facing and overcoming violence, trauma, and loss. I have witnessed the strength of mothers fighting with blood, sweat, and tears to shelter their families. I have witnessed the funny faces that babies make when their mothers feed them oatmeal. I have witnessed smiles of gratitude and faces filled with hope.
With these experiences I have felt every emotion possible. I have felt frustration that there aren't enough services for those that are homeless and in poverty. I've felt anger that there are children sleeping on the streets of Sacramento each night because our community fails when it comes to providing adequate emergency shelter. I have felt joy at the news of a woman getting keys to her own apartment after years of chronic homelessness. I have felt comfort from a guest who noticed I wasn't feeling well and offered me a hug.
So it is with bittersweet sentiment that I say goodbye to Maryhouse. To our guests, staff, and volunteers...I treasure the stories we have shared and you have forever touched my soul.