From Sister Mary
Sister Mary

Dear Friends of Emmaus,
After spending forty years in the soup kitchen, I’m beginning to understand the Leonard Cohen quote that appears on the cover of the newsletter:

Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in.

Everywhere I look I see a fissure. In the system that keeps people in poverty and homelessness, in our efforts to help that often result in widening divisions, in lives broken by addictions, and certainly in all the “cracks” that I find in myself.

Some may look at Emmaus as a house of broken dreams, but everywhere I look I also see light breaking through. All you need to do is read the comments from staff, volunteers and guests that appear in this issue and you will see what I mean.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Cohen quote and the fire that devastated our soup kitchen two years ago. At first glance it seemed like a huge crack in the Emmaus story. How could we continue to serve our guests? Would we have to close for months to repair the kitchen or build a new one? Should we move the kitchen? Where would we get the money to do what needed to be done?

After much prayer and deliberation, we decided to stay put and reimagine the two buildings that stood next to each other and serving as our soup kitchen and pantry. Your generosity enabled us to repair and update the damaged kitchen and connect it to the pantry. This substantially expanded our serving space and enabled us to open a much needed family room.

Now, when I mingle with the children and their parents or guardians in the new family area, I think to myself: Out of the ashes of the fire, out of the “crack” in the Emmaus story, came this lovely room. Here families can eat together, children are better protected, and family dignity is preserved.

Indeed, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.