Since August I have been living in St. Louis, Missouri in Vincentian Mission Corps. VMC is a year long volunteer program focused on serving the poor in the St. Louis area. I am currently working in a shelter for pregnant women and their children called Our Lady’s Inn.
We not only provide food and shelter for our clients (which we refer to as our lady’s) but we have in-house nutrition and parenting classes, mindfulness teaching for birth. We also have agencies that come such as a doula agency and Nurses for Newborns.
Every lady comes to us with different needs we work with them to establish goals such as getting a GED, getting a job or drug treatment programs. We get them access to the resources they need in all areas healthcare, education, food ect.
I have many responsibilities my main responsibility is childcare. When we have our in-house classes or the moms have appointments with our on staff nurses, family specialists (social workers), or our counselor they can leave their children with me in our playroom. I also do the grocery shopping which includes picking up the WIC groceries for the ladies. I sometimes work in the office with the phones and answering the door. However most of my time is spent in our storage rooms inventorying donations and organizing them in our limited space. We have clothing for the ladies and their children, a small food pantry and a room for baby items such as clothes, diapers, pacifiers, bottles, all the baby essentials! I make layettes for the ladies which is a clothing hamper filled with all the baby items arranged ‘with care’.I never can tell what the next day will look like. Originally my type A personality HATED this. I wanted my lists, I wanted to know what was expected of me. I have learned many valuable things at Our Lady’s Inn such as flexibility, listening, patience, building meaningful relationships and navigating workplace stressors. When you give your life to the Lord He rewards you above and beyond your wildest imaginings. The work has been hard and I have had many moments of questionable sanity and I have thought about giving up more than once. The pros have always outweighed the cons.
I have the support of four amazing women who also have placements around the city. We live in community together in an old convent. We share meals, prayers, fun, and battle stories. We have a fantastic director who went through our same program years ago and the whole Vincentian family!
I love how Catholic this area is. My Faith has kept me going on my worst days and having the support of the daily Mass crowd has been priceless. I am so extraordinarily happy, I have grown so much. I have developed new life habits, I am healthier and I am blessed!
I could write a book about my experiences but this is not the place. Any questions are welcome as I’m sure you will have some!