From Sister Mary
Sister Mary

Dear Friends,

A prayer to Mary that I learned as a child had this line: “…to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” I suppose, after 40 years at Emmaus, I could see life as a “valley of tears” with its relentless suffering, endless poverty, and daily heartbreak.

It’s true that the tears are always near at hand. For a few nights this fall, a 60-year-old woman slept on the back porch of the soup kitchen. “I’m recovering,” she said, “and have to be careful where I sleep.” When a volunteer was leaving the kitchen, she saw the women spreading out bedding and hanging wet clothes on the railing to dry. “I cried all the way home,” the volunteer told me. “No one should have to live that way. What can I do?” We paid for the woman to stay in a motel until she moved into an apartment but…“no one should have to live like that.” These are the tears we shed over and over.

But if it were all bleakness, no one could manage without becoming bitter of heart. That’s why it’s important to share stories of hope that we experience over and over. How’s this for a random act of kindness? Two of our regular volunteers bought a two-story house, refurbished it, completely furnished it, and gave the keys to a soup kitchen couple they had befriended. They are charging a very minimal rent and working as friends with the couple on budget, cleaning, and employment.

Though buying a house for a soup kitchen guest is most unusual, acts of hope and largesse are common at Emmaus. And you are the reason I can say this with such certainty. I am constantly awed by the generosity of all of you who are such faithful friends of Emmaus. You are living stories of goodness and grace.

Once a year I write to you asking for help and you never fail to respond. If it’s possible for you, please remember Emmaus in your holiday giving. Let’s do our best to change this valley of tears into a “land flowing with milk and honey.”

My prayers for you and your loved ones this holiday season.

In peace,
Sister Mary