Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Day Under the Mantle

September is the Mary's Mantle $30,000 in 30 Days Fundraising Campaign. Our goal is to find 1000 people to donate $30. In a previous post I shared a little background and overview about this ministry to homeless, pregnant women. Today, I've tried to capture a snapshot of life under the Mantle.

Welcome to a day in the life at Mary's Mantle. While no two days look the same, here is what a typical weekday might look like for the women who are here with us.

8 o'clock in the morning: Rise and shine, it is time to get the day started! With a rhythm of life set to mimic a "standard" family schedule, the residents are up and getting ready for the day, fixing breakfast, getting dressed and preparing for whatever appointments they may have. In our modest four bedroom colonial home, things get a little tight when we are at full capacity with four women and babies! 

The ladies sit down to breakfast. While they are on their own in preparing morning meals, we notice that after women have been here a while, many of them begin to make breakfast together and for one another, not unlike our own families. Depending on their agenda for the morning, they may sit together and eat or may be out the door to appointments after finishing their assigned chores. 

10 o'clock in the morning: Business hours begin. From this time forward the television is off and personal calls are on hold until free time later in the day. Daily programs begin if any are scheduled. Every Monday (with a few exceptions), we begin with morning prayer reflection. Drawing on the readings from Sunday, or themes that are plaguing them in their day to day lives, we rest with the Lord and reflect on His word. We get ready to face the week ahead and reflect on the week behind us. Other days, the house is busy with visiting nurses, job searches, apartment hunting, monthly Mass, preparing for births, planning for the future and breaking old habits. Mostly we spend this time working together to help the women see with new eyes, set new goals and begin to build a new life with their child. 

We talk about sexual integrity. 
We talk about the dignity of life.
We talk about self worth.
We talk about making better choices.
We talk about needs versus wants.
We talk about families.
We talk about broken hearts.
We talk about sinful pasts.
We talk about hopeful futures.
We talk about authentic love.
We talk about men.
We talk about women.
We talk about Jesus.
We talk to Jesus.
We pray.
We laugh.
We love.
We cry.
We get angry.
We get frustrated.
We get nervous.
We get scared.
We rejoice in small victories.
We show grace.
We give hugs.
We share smiles.
We speak Truth.
We pray some more.
We hold each other accountable.
We set the bar high for our expectations.
We see beauty.
We see talent.
We see the vulnerability that lies hidden beneath a sometimes rough exterior.
We grow trust.
We stand firm in the call that God has given us to plant the Spirit in their hearts and we hold on to hope that He will transform their lives as He has transformed ours. 

5 o'clock in the evening: Family dinner! Unless one of the women is at work, the women, children and evening staff and guests gather for dinner through the week. One of the women is responsible for making the meal each weeknight, and it becomes a time to gather together in prayer and conversation. 

6 o'clock in the evening: If there are no workshops scheduled, the ladies enjoy a couple of free hours after dinner. Often, we have speakers or volunteers in the evening to help the ladies prepare for childbirth, enhance their parenting skills, learn a new craft or skill they requested, lead Bible study, lead workshops on sexual integrity and budgeting, and other topics that the women have expressed an interest in. Sometimes, we kick back with a movie or go out to community events (especially in the summer). The women here may say many things, but they cannot say we do not provide them with enough to do!

10 o'clock at night: Prayer time. Every night before bedtime, the women all gather with our housemother for nightly prayer. Each woman gets an opportunity to place their cares before the Lord, pray over our community prayer intentions, and begin the night intentionally in the presence of Jesus under the mantle of the Blessed Mother. They learn to pray together and pray with and for their children. In my opinion, there is no greater gift we give them.

Please take a moment to consider supporting the work of Mary's Mantle. If you feel so moved, you can donate online or mail a check made payable to Mary's Mantle to 

Mary's Mantle
PO Box 115
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

Most importantly, we ask your prayers for the ministry, the women and children entrusted to us, and the countless other pregnant women and mothers who have nowhere to turn. 

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