A 2019 Celebration: St. Gianna’s Place

Paid employment and blogging-for-the-love-of-it don’t always mix, as attested by the long stretches between posts this year on Leaven. I’ll start my 2019 review with a resolution for 2020: up my game. I’m as grateful for my readers as I am for clients.

In the last few days of the year, I’ll have an update on some New Hampshire life-issue bills filed for 2020. We’ll take a look at state-level races to be decided in next November’s election. I’ll throw in a few save-the-dates for 40 Days for Life activities and similar events. You’ll see links to some useful websites and apps. All this will be posted by midnight on New Year’s Eve, if all goes well.

For now, let the roundup begin with a cheer for the opening of St. Gianna’s Place.

“A safe harbor for mother and child,” says the organization’s tagline. It’s that, and more: a reminder to me that practical tenacity and seemingly-impractical faith are both essential when human beings are trying to care for each other.

The founders of St. Gianna’s knew they wanted to create a shelter for otherwise-homeless pregnant and parenting women in south-central New Hampshire. They created a board. They raised funds. They had a plan. One thing kept eluding them: an actual facility. The same real estate market that challenges aspiring homeowners in this area challenged the St. Gianna’s team.

2019 saw a breakthrough, with a church in Hudson making an unoccupied building available. To make a long story short – and in the process, to gloss over the efforts of many volunteers – St. Gianna’s Place is now up and running.

I take heart and encouragement from every person who helped make that happen. You can, too.

Read more about St. Gianna’s Place on its website. Maybe you can attend their next banquet; read about the first one here. There will be an ongoing need for donations and volunteers in support of the women and children served at St. Gianna’s Place.

Meeting a human-services need means coming up with more than just good intentions. The team behind St. Gianna’s Place has been up to the challenge.

Big Step Forward for St. Gianna’s Place

After a long search, the board of St. Gianna’s Place has made the announcement I’ve been waiting for. From Facebook:

With great joy and gratitude, we announce that St. Gianna’s Place has found a home! We signed a lease on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. We will soon be opening our doors to welcome pregnant women in crisis and their babies. We are grateful to God for leading and inspiring us on this journey, and we are grateful to our supporters for making this possible.
We humbly ask for your continued prayers and support as we prepare to open our home to some of God’s most vulnerable. We are hosting a Go Fund Me event to raise money to purchase necessary items for our new home. If you would like to help, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/StGiannasPlace.
Again, thank you for your continued prayers and support.
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His Goodness.” St. Gianna pray for us!

How fitting that the lease was signed on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, given the faith and persistence of the volunteers who have brought the project this far. Housing for pregnant and parenting women in crisis is at a premium in southern New Hampshire, and St. Gianna’s Place will be part of a solution. The home will be in Hudson, and the opening date will be announced later. Right now, the task at hand is to prepare the building for occupancy.

Please view and share the Go Fund Me page set up by St. Gianna’s Place volunteers. Their immediate goal is $1000 for basic things like linens and cleaning supplies. A modest donation can go a long way.

I recall listening to a St. Gianna’s board member a couple of years ago, describing the vision driving the project. “Our Calcutta is right here,” she told me, comparing Mother Teresa’s mission field to ours here in New Hampshire, where so many more shelter beds are needed.

The signed lease goes a long way toward bringing the vision to life.

Good Food for a Good Cause

From the St. Gianna’s Place web site, as the agency moves closer to purchasing a building that will become a safe harbor for pregnant women in need of housing: St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Derry, NH is hosting a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser for St. Gianna’s Place on October 28th. Anyone interested in helping with the fundraiser can learn more at a volunteer evening on August 22 at St. Mark’s parish in Londonderry, NH.

Read the full post from St. Gianna’s here. And then, just to brighten your day, read this post as well, reporting on the success of New Hampshire Right to Life’s recent matching-gift challenge to benefit St. Gianna’s. Thumbs up to NHRTL for sparking a generous response from the community.