A Message from Julia's Founder, Father Regis Scanlon, OFM Cap.
"But Father, I have nowhere to go!” That was the cry I heard over and over again when I counseled women who had lost their homes and their families due to a personal catastrophe.
Some suffered from the death of the husband or family breadwinner. Some suffered from a sudden financial collapse, or an illness which drained all their resources. Some women become estranged from family and lose all contact with loved ones.
Before the Julia Greeley Home came to be, if they didn’t have family or friends to help, most of these women had nowhere to go except overnight shelters. But these shelters are temporary, and there aren’t nearly enough to go around. Women who are alone, without homes or other resources, number in the hundreds, according to metro Denver homeless statistics.
Living in shelters and fending alone “on the street” is an unimaginably brutal life. Women alone are a constant target for sexual predators. They are always in danger of being victimized by hardened bullies, street gangs and violent criminals.
God does not intend for His children to be left without help, or love! It was unconscionable to me to think so many women were forced to live "invisibly" and alone, when the answer is clearly to reach out to give them a stable home and the tools necessary to find meaningful work and independence. That also means helping them see that God intends that they recognize their dignity as human beings and as women. I was convinced that once women understood these truths, they could be inspired to achieve the self confidence necessary to rebuild their lives, just as our patron, Julia Greeley, achieved so much despite her many hardships and obstacles. (I hope you'll take the time to read about her life, "Who is Julia", I think you will be amazed and what she accomplished with so little material gifts; today, she is on the road to canonization in the Catholic Church.)
These were the ideas and frustrations that motivated me to seek a better way. God willed it, and so, with His help, in August 2013, Julia's opened its first home. We had room for four women at a time. Two years later we moved to larger home -- a beautiful, expansive, residential facility -- and were able to double our number of residents. We currently share this home with Shannon's Hope, a Christian residency for pregnant women. Each of our ministries occupies a wing in this 8,000-square foot residence. We like to say we are "two ministries under one roof." Our goal is to expand further into a home that will allow us to welcome many more of the hundreds of women who lost their homes for whatever of many reasons, and who today are fending for themselves in "temporary shelters." But these offer no inspiration to help them rebuild their lives.
We are not a shelter. We are a family-style home which offers the motivated woman the opportunity -- and the time -- to get the job training, life skills and spiritual support she needs to become a confident and self sufficient woman.
At Julia's, we also impress upon every woman that she possesses innate dignity as an individual made in God’s image. No matter what her religious background — and we welcome women of every background — each woman is treated as an individual whose life has meaning and purpose. This fact is at the heart of our Christian faith, and was expressed by Pope St. John Paul II as “the beauty, not merely physical, but above all spiritual, which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.”
Once a woman realizes her dignity, there is nothing she cannot accomplish! Our Julia Greeley “graduates” have found jobs, apartments, and reconciled with family. One graduate is pursuing her degree as a licensed practical nurse through our scholarship program with the Ward Family Foundation of Alexandria VA. We expect more qualified residents to apply in 2017.
God has blessed our mission and our residents, and we ask for your continued prayers in 2017. Every woman deserves the chance to rebuild her life.
FATHER REGIS SCANLON, O.F.M.CAP
Founder and president, Julia Greeley Home Inc.