So she contacted Room at the Inn about working with the children at the shelter. Actually, Clare spends more time playing than working. For the past two years, she has come to Room at the Inn every Friday morning to play and read with the youngest shelter residents.
“I see the need for mothers to have a break,” Clare said. “They need to go to meetings or attend a class. Or sometimes they just need a few minutes to themselves. I can give that to them.”
Clare understands what it means to be homeless. When she was six years old, her house burned down on Christmas Eve. Clare’s family – her widowed mother and four siblings – stayed for a few months at one grandparents’ house, then moved to another grandparents’ house, where they stayed for a year. So, while Clare always had a place to stay, she understands the anxiety children feel when they don’t have a permanent home. Looking back, she says, she now understands how difficult the situation must have been for the adults. That’s why she feels called to help both the adults and children who come to Room at the Inn.
“I just can’t imagine not having the consistency of home,” she said.
Clare’s involvement in the social justice ministry in her parish prompted her to find a way to do something about poverty and homelessness. In addition to volunteering at Room at the Inn, she is now the co-site coordinator at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Maryland Heights, one of Room at the Inn’s newest night site partners.
Clare offers a quiet, loving presence to the children at Room at the Inn. Whether her charge for the day is a fussy infant or a rowdy eight-year-old – or a roomful of children – Clare displays patience and real joy in being with the children. Clare’s quiet ways speak boldly of the bible verse from Micah (6:8) that says “ … do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” We are blessed to have Clare and witness firsthand that she does justice, loves kindness and walks humbly with her God.