At the beginning of this month, Sister Regina and Melanie spent a wonderful day in our center upstate with three of the friends we visit at the Tillary Shelter in Brooklyn.
Every Thursday afternoon some of us go and visit a group of women living in a shelter on Tillary street. Once in a while we organize some special events, like inviting them to the park for a barbecue or to our house for a movie…On the feast of Ascension we invited three of them to go and spend a day at the ICCC in upstate NY. 10:00am was our departure time and all three women rang the bell at 9:55am! This already says a lot of how much they desired this day because all of them are struggling with depression and getting up in the morning is always a challenge! Berlina, who had been invited, could not make it and so Pat, one of the other women, decided to invite another friend of hers who was sad after just having received news of her sister’s death and being unable to attend the burial. It is moving to see how Pat, despite all her difficulties, remains open to the needs of others.
After a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the ICCC, we got out of the car and the first thing that strikes us is the silence! The city can be so noisy! The second thing is the beauty of the place, the peace it brings with it and the smiles of the two sisters who are welcoming us with a coffee!
The program of the day is very simple: sharing a meal together, going for a walk and praying the rosary at the Shrine of our Lady of Compassion. Throughout the day we can see how the faces of these women are changing. They arrived still stressed by the life in a shelter, filled with worries and fears. At the end, what one could see in their faces was peace and joy. None of them wanted to go back to Brooklyn! “Let us stay here for a couple of days,” Pat told us, “I am so well here that I don’t even need to have a cigarette to get off the stress!!”
All three women are already getting ready for our pilgrimage on September 17.