Thursday, September 5, 2013

Under the Mantle of the Blessed Mother

Picture it (no, I'm not going to go all Golden Girls on you, so it's safe, just picture it): you're 19, unmarried, living at home with your parents, have gotten pregnant, and now your family is kicking you out. You may or may not know the father, but either way, he has no interest in helping you. You can't impose on your friends for nine months and you are, in general, feeling very alone and lost. Love apparently comes with strings attached, and this baby doesn't fit the bill. Where do you go? Shelters won't take you once you get too pregnant or have the baby, and who knows whether the hospital will call Child Protective Services to take your baby away if you are homeless anyway. Planned Parenthood tells you it is your body and your choice. Women's health clinics will make it easy for you to have an abortion and then you can resume life as you knew it. What do you do?

Sadly, the answer for one young woman was abortion. From her story, Mary's Mantle was born. Founded in 2009 and opening its doors in 2010, this Catholic residence for homeless expectant women has housed and ministered to over 30 women and their babies (and indirectly their families and friends) in those short years. Blowing out of the water the often heard argument that "pro-lifers" are all about the babies but not the women involved, Mary's Mantle is a safe haven for these moms to immerse themselves in the love of God, for whom there are no strings attached. A full time on-site house mother and eight part time staff take care of these women spiritually, help them prepare for birth and motherhood, help them to discover their inherent worth and dignity as daughters of God, as well as help them build a better life for themselves by finding more stable housing, work and connecting them with community resources.

The women who God sends us are in need of great healing. Most of their stories involve abuse, be it sexual, physical or emotional. Most of their stories involve neglect. Many of them either do not know God or have a limited knowledge of Christ. While often by the standards of the world we are asked our success rate, waiting for an answer of how many of these women are now employed and successfully staying chaste and supporting their families, we see things a little differently. We know that while most of our women go on to find jobs and housing, it isn't always permanent and troubled times may come again. We know that any seed planted that helps them to more quickly recognize the dignity of their life and their childrens' lives when faced with difficult situations is a success. We know that these seeds take root in healthier patterns of behaviors, in godly relationships that are made while they are in the program, in more active faith as they pray with and for their children. We know what Blessed Teresa of Calcutta always reminded us - God calls us not to be successful, but to be faithful. The fruit belongs to him, we just faithfully plant the seeds and water as called. 

Mary's Mantle is the only Catholic apostolate of its kind in the metro Detroit area. Housing only four women and their babies at a time for up to one year, we are able to focus on the needs of the women who God entrusts to our care. To keep Christ in the center of all we do and to remain true to the teachings of the Church, we accept no public funding and receive only a couple of small grants. What is beautiful about this ministry is its grassroots nature. Our yearly budget, which runs around $150,000 and includes the operation of the home as well as staff coverage 24/7/365, is in large part funded by individual and organizational donations. From $5 to $5000, the community has built and continues to support this ministry to a vulnerable population. 

Every September, Mary's Mantle holds its $30,000 in 30 days fundraising campaign. It is an opportunity for the community to come out and support the ministry however they are able, whether it is the $5 or the $5000. Every drop helps us to cover our operating expenses, which includes the cost of the residence, assistance with transportation and around the clock coverage for the residence. If you feel moved to help support this ministry, please consider making a donation. You may send in a check made payable to Mary's Mantle to our post office box (PO Box 115; Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303) or donate through PayPal online at our website, http://www.marysmantle.net

Thank you for indulging this public service announcement! Now back  to regularly scheduled programming...

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful apostolate! I hope that there are apostolates (or will be) like this in other parts of the country. I clicked on the link to donate and got to a page that said that there was no such link. Could you email me the link so I can donate? Thanks.

    BTW, I LOVE your blog's new look!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Anna! I just fixed the link - thanks for letting me know!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Rest assured I do read each and every word, but please forgive me if I don't get back to you right away. The toddler tugging on my leg and the one year old pulling my hair may have seized control of my typing abilities. Blessings on your day!