An evening with the women of the Julia Greeley Home
Marriage, Family, Forgiveness — every topic was on the table when I met with the women of the Julia Greeley Home in early April. The group of 17 women also included the young mothers from Shannon’s Hope, the Christian ministry which shares the residence with us. It’s the first of many monthly visits I’m planning to make. I want each woman who enters this beautiful home to know she is valued and loved, and that our Christian faith supports her in her goal to achieve self sufficiency.
I also wanted each woman to understand that the Julia Greeley Home is built on the foundation of Catholic Christianity, which is my faith, which gave me my vocation as a Capuchin priest, and inspired me to found Julia’s three and a half years ago.
It was a special evening too, because we were able to celebrate the fact that two Julia Greeley women, Camille and “Trudi,” have recently achieved self sufficiency. Each of them received a simple necklace-cross from Julia’s, which we hope will always remind them of what they have accomplished.
I hope you’ll take the time to click on Camille’s Story (see News, to the right of this column). Her story shows how even educated, smart, professional women can quickly lose everything in this harsh world. But Camille fought her way back! We are proud to say that she is using her many managerial skills on our staff, and is inspiring new Julia Greeley residents to reach their goals, too. “Trudi” wishes to remain anonymous, so we’ve given her another name. Let me just say she has bravely moved onward after many setbacks, and we are happy to know she has found an apartment, a job, and a new life.
So I am very grateful to God for His constant help to to women in trauma and crisis. Before the Julia Greeley Home, when I counseled women to help them move past homelessness, so many would say, “But Father, I have nowhere to go!”
Now, thanks be to God, she does.
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What is Julia's?
Who was Julia?
Julia Greeley was a courageous, faith-filled, single woman who overcame slavery and poverty to become a source of hope to others even less fortunate than she.
“Thank you Julia Greeley, you were a light for me when I could not see the way!’
The words are like Sylvia Bailey herself -- spontaneous, spirited, luminous. Sylvia graduated from the Julia Greeley Home program in 2014, and shortly afterwards spoke at a workshop about her success. The Julia Greeley program had helped her achieve independence. She was in her own apartment and managing her own life.
Now Sylvia had a plan. She wanted to share the light that she had found at Julia's: “I want to volunteer,” she said. “When can I start?”
We were thrilled. Who better to explain Julia’s program than Sylvia? She was charismatic, eloquent and eager. She could explain Julia’s program “from the inside out,” because she believed that her time at Julia’s had revitalized her life journey.
A few weeks after that workshop came devastating news. Sylvia had died suddenly from a burst aneurysm suffered at her home. This vital woman, sparkling as a firecracker, had suddenly been called to eternal life.
Yet Sylvia's story continues to inspire us. She is every woman who is alone, suffering, and without a home, who finally triumphed over her circumstances. More ›
Life didn’t spare Vicki from hardship and homelessness, even though she’s held good jobs, been to college, and stayed free of the addiction trap.
The shattering blow for Vicki was the death of her fiance in the summer of 2012. Suddenly, the sensitive, soft-spoken 54-year-old found herself in a bewildering spiral. The couple had planned to let Vicki finish her college degree while her fiance supported them. But after his death, Vicki was forced to drop out of her adult education classes and abandon plans for a business degree. More ›