“I’m Blessed”

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Today’s post is by Peggy Brown. Peggy serves on the IVC Chicago Regional Advisory Council. She is also Chairman of the Board of Directors for Franciscan Outreach Association, a homeless services organization in Chicago.


Am I the only impatient volunteer in the bunch?  I ask God for patience everyday because I believe that I, and everyone I am working with, could do more to assist those in need. Should do more…

Franciscan Outreach Association, the second largest homeless outreach in Chicago, operates several sites in the city, two of which are overnight shelters where over 320 men and women guests find dinner and a place to sleep each night.

They are cold or they are hot, they are crowded into our emergency shelters, and we try hard to make them feel welcome and safe and appreciated. We offer them community and good food. We offer them assistance to find a better life, and we offer them respite from the dangers and stress of life on the streets…. for 12 hours.

At 6:30am the next morning they must leave the shelter to face another day of homelessness on the streets of ‘judgment.’ They come back at night, sometimes struggling to unfurl a set of frozen fingers to accept the meal we offer. And every night there are some we must turn away because our beds are full and “there is no room in the inn.”

My heart breaks because, as a member of the Franciscan Outreach board of directors, I cannot find enough money to build a bigger shelter, a better place, a haven of hope.  I don’t have the power to organize all of this city’s many service providers into a comprehensive network that could address the many problems that have led these homeless men and women to our door.

But when I serve at the shelter, I always find God is at work there. If I listen, I will hear them respond to my query, “how are you tonight?”  “Blessed, I’m blessed.

God give them more blessings and me more patience.



9 Responses to ““I’m Blessed””

  1. Tom Ulrich

    Thanks so much for your insightful reflection, Peggy! It inspires like a poem, informs like an essay and petitions our loving God like a prayer. In the spirit of solidarity as one whose DNA is part “impatience”, may IVC be a true source of patience in your most wonderful, occasionally trying ministry journey. Blessings of peace! Tom ~

  2. Dick Shea

    Peggy: I am grateful that God has placed you in the midst of our IVC family. You make us proud for we can point to one of our members as doing essential work for God and the human family. I am certain that every IVCer I have met is trying to make a difference in human lives, but some contributions necessarily touch souls more profoundly. Thank you for your contributions, and please count on your IVC brothers and sisters for support and prayer.

  3. Theresa Stanner

    Peggy: If I could write as well as you have, I would have written the same essay. How to keep focused on what we are about rather than what we individually and as a society are not doing is a challenge. Yet, it is always those we serve who bring us back to reality and teach us what it means to be grateful. Thank you.

  4. Joseph Walsh

    Thank you, Peggy, for this most thought and wonderfully-stated critique of what exists. Let us not lose hope for a more united effort directly on these issues. Peace, –Joe

  5. Camille Devaney

    Peggy I hear and feel your pain. In the past month we lost 4 residents at one of my nursing homes, most with only staff and the likes of me as an IVC volunteer who even remember them. One resident had a child die at another hospice home. Another of the residents who died has a 95 year old mom on the second floor no longer aware that her daughter died. Monday we will have a memorial service for the staff to have closure. More reality than I cared to face in a few weeks.. The grace of a dear friend and preparing the memorial service make me aware that Love, loving through IVC brought me where he wants me. You as well are where He wants you because you go back even when it hurts.

  6. Jim Sweany

    Thanks for sharing. When the need is so great and the resources so scarce it is indeed a difficult to be patient. Offering all you have, most of all love and compassion, is in communion with Christ and his mission. God bless,

  7. James Murphy SJ

    This is lived Christian faith. Feeling, acting, and being with the weak and the poor. It speaks.

    • Lynn Sprehe

      I am touched and awed that Our Lord has placed you in the midst of the poorest of the poor. I pray that He will send more workers into the vineyard. . . Thank you for your inspiring words.

  8. Marta Hernandez Sayeed

    Thank for remind me the value of patience. At the end it is in His hands. I give thanks that you are in our midst.


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