May 01, 2014 - 5:49 PM EDT
Last Updated: May 01, 2014 - 7:54 PM EDT
Pregnant and in crisis?
Call Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers at 519-962-4861 or visit ologhome.com.
Thanks to prayers, they say — and a particularly generous donation of a new home — a group of Catholic volunteers have created Windsor’s first residential program for pregnant women and new mothers in crisis.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers, so new that its dirt lawns have yet to be landscaped, will welcome as many as seven women and their babies for up to a year at a time.
The spacious seven-bed, four-bath home characterized by a modern feel and dark hardwood floors, was built courtesy of an anonymous donor. It will offer counselling and help on everything from life skills to breast feeding.
Ironically, it partly started with a challenge from those opposed to pro-life initiatives.
“In prayer, the Lord asked me to do something for the right-to-life movement,” Sister Linda Dube, who started spearheading the maternal home project four years ago, said Thursday. “But I didn’t know what ‘something’ was. So I went on the streets and participated in many prayer vigils. This is all about pro-life.
“We try to raise awareness. But some people don’t like what we’re doing. The second call came through these people who posed the question, ‘What are you doing to help women who are pregnant and in crisis?’”
The answer: the non-profit Our Lady of Guadalupe Home, on Alexandrine Street in the Remington Park area. Though it’s Catholic-based, the home welcomes all religious affiliations.
“Every woman I have ever spoken to who has ever had an abortion — forgive me for using the A-word — has said, ‘I felt I had no choice,’” said the Ursuline sister. “For women who have no place to go, we thought: Alright, we’ll provide a place to go.”
At the opening ceremony Thursday, Fr. Nichola Mauro Iko from St. Alphonsus Church blessed the home with prayer and sprinkles of holy water. A collection of supporters sang church hymns to organ music before enjoying an impressive array of pot-luck baked goods laid out on a kitchen table.
The home, which will open within weeks once city licencing is complete, is already nicely appointed with single beds and a number of cribs.
“It’s an important place for the community because we’re meeting a need,” said Elaine Paul, a social worker in Windsor the last 21 years who will serve as the live-in program director. “I’ve worked a lot with families and children and one of the main things I’ve seen with wounded, vulnerable children is poor attachment in that first year of life.
“It’s very important for me that we help women have that nurturing time.”