from tony

I was diagnosed with HIV 12 years ago. Last year, I met a Case Management Liaison in Lake County who encouraged me to engage in Catholic Charities services. I was surprised and very interested when I heard about the services. At the time, I was having a difficult time coping with my situation and was most interested in the possibility of receiving assistance with transportation to and from medical appointments and attending group and individual counseling.

I have been with Catholic Charities for about a year.  During this time, I have utilized Catholic Charities transportation services to attend medical appointments and utilized the counseling services to make progress towards my educational goals. I have even worked on developing coping skills and asking for support when needed. Despite my losses in the past, now that I have a support system, I cannot imagine my life without the people from Catholic Charities.  


The LOSS Program (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide) helped me tremendously! After losing my brother, Patrick, to suicide back in September of 2003, I went to the LOSS meetings every Sunday (for two years) at Queen of Martyers Parish in Evergreen Park, IL. I can’t put into words how much those meetings helped me. They saved me. Truly. I was newly married and had a one year old son at the time. I was so grief stricken and didn’t know where to turn. Being raised Catholic, the Church was an obvious place to start. It helped being with others who had gone through the same shocking and devastating loss. It helped to know that I wasn’t alone. I believe it was Father Charles Rubey who wrote each and every monthly newsletter. His words meant so much and I’ve always wanted to thank him. I hope he knows just how much he’s helped people! He signed every newsletter: Keep on Keepin’ on. Well, I am. I’ve had two more sons since then. I’ve gone on to live a very happy and fulfilling life in hopes that my brother Pat is looking down on me, and his three nephews, with pride. I miss him terribly, but I know that he’s in Heaven and is no longer in pain. Thanks again. 

From Evelyn Tolliver

Catholic Charities helped me with a deposit for my first apartment in 1972. I'm eternally grateful. 

From Bridget Woods

I'm forever grateful to Catholic Charities for giving me a new chance at life. I was homeless and on drugs and I was accepted into a rehabilitation center. Now I have my own apartment and they are helping pay my rent every month. In May, I will be clean for one year. I'm doing great and I owe it all to God, and my programs. Thanks a million for your service. 

From Sonya Moore

I became homeless in October 2016 because I had fallen on hard times and one of my children had a medical issue which required me to leave my job. Catholic Charities helped me get an apartment and is helping me become more self-sufficient. If it weren’t for Catholic Charities, I honestly think I would still be living in a shelter. Thank you for the help and compassion you’ve shown me and my family! God bless you!

From Karen Ertl

Catholic Charities is helping me take care of my brother who has autism. He's in an adult day-care center so I can work. I never thought Catholic Charities would be the place that would help me take care of Rich. We always thought of Catholic Charities as the place that "feeds the hungry" and "clothes the naked". Remember Cardinal Cody's Thanksgiving clothing drives? We also contribute when we can. Our parish, St. Irenaeus in Park Forest, has a food pantry that we contribute to. I'm planning on retiring soon. Catholic Charities will have 2 pairs of hands that can help. It'll be pay-back time.. 

From Newman Bradley

Hello, my name is Newman Bradley I'm a driver for the Meals on Wheels program out of Calumet City, Illinois. I have been working for the program the past 13 years. I have seen the good it does for the seniors when we bring them a hot lunch and talk to them. I had a similar experience with my mother before she passed and it helped me a lot while working with this program.

From Brian ONeill

I was born in 1958. My birth mother left me on the steps of a Catholic church (so the story goes). As such, I was cared for by the nuns at St. Vincent’s for almost a year (I was sickly) until I was adopted at age one. My sister was also adopted, by my mom and dad, from St. Vincent's a few years later. I remember going back to St. Vincent’s as a small child, with my family, for the annual Christmas parties. At one of those parties, I figured out Santa wasn’t “real” — but that’s another story for another time. Thank you St. Vincent's! 

From Peggy Calendine

I was adopted from Catholic Charities at the age of 9 months old. Having said that, I obviously am going on what I was told happened. My parents were older parents and had many priests and nuns as friends. One of their very good friends then, was Msgr. Brogan, who ran Catholic Charities. He was instrumental in my adoption. I thank God every day that he was because I had the most loving parents any girl could have in life. 

From Annette Cirillo

I was fortunate to to be part of Catholic Charities 8 week LOSS program in 2017. After the devastating loss of my younger sister Teresa, who took her life, I was able to connect with my grief while being surrounded by a caring and supportive staff as well as fellow grievers. I credit the LOSS program for helping me to move beyond my suffering and despair. I am truly grateful. I am also grateful for the counseling you have provided for my family members, especially my 5 year old niece.

From Michele Svestka

I was adopted from St. Vincent's Orphanage on April 5, 1950, at one month old. I could not have asked for two better parents. I was one of the lucky ones.


Catholic Charities entered my life thirty years ago – all for the good!

On May 8, 1987, my beloved mother, Rose, was taken to heaven by Jesus. Finding myself in our empty home, alone, I couldn’t function. I couldn’t shut off the lights; eating even a small meal made me feel guilty. I sat up in bed all night and couldn’t shut my eyes. My good brother, Anthony, would stop by every morning on his way to work to check on me, and find my sitting in the parlor, wide awake. Our doctor had him take me in for a check-up, fearful that I would also pass away. He called a hospital for services and they arranged for Catholic Charities to bring in their counselor.

Doreen, the first of three, came to my home for about 3 years, to help me – and she did. I was finally able to donate my mom’s lovely clothing to those needy.

I should mention that I am a polio survivor from 1950, paralyzed from the waist down. With extensive therapy, through many years, I went from long leg braces and crutches to short leg braces and a walker.

With your counselor’s help, I was able to live alone in my home (with my brother checking on my daily) until September 2012 (with hired help for housework and laundry). On September 25, 2012, I fell and broke my right leg, which resulted in me now using a wheelchair and also having to hire a caregiver. Wednesday of this week, I called Catholic Charities for help once more, helping to find a compatible giver of care.

For the past 30 years, I have never forgotten the kindness and help given to me by your Catholic Charities special angels. Thank you so very much.


I am an 80-year-old clinical social worker, having retired three different times (1999-2009). I moved into St. Ailbe’s Senior Housing on December 9, 2010. Spared the hassles and upkeep of a house, I live in perfect peace in an affordable one-bedroom apartment. It is sunny, comfortable, and homey.

Catholic Charities and Father Lurry Duris, pastor of St. Ailbe’s parish, helped me to apply and move in. My former home and St. Ailbe’s Senior Housing are both in Chicago’s Calumet Heights neighborhood. I had lived in my house since 1967. It was freeing and challenging to let go of so many memories and belongings.

Catholic Charities provides activities for senior citizens. We have programs to benefit our minds, bodies, spirits and souls. Service coordinators are on site to help us in negotiating bureaucratic agencies and managing legal, medical, and family affairs, including Social Security and Medicare. St. Ailbe’s has three buildings – Love, Faith, and Hope. Catholic Charities maintains an adult day care center in a separate area of the Faith building for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Two buses provide pickup and drop off transportation for patients.

We have a strong sense of community here. I see myself as a Christian living out my mandate to serve. We work with service coordinators and management to assist residents who are failing or in need of help to remain in independent living. We have one resident who is 99 years young. We have homemaker services and programs such as exercising, barber and beauty services, commodities, and Pace transportation to improve the quality of life.

As neighbors we support and encourage one another. Catholic Charities is a strong right arm. Many of us view St. Ailbe’s as an exciting and vibrant place to live until we go home to our Lord.

Catholic Charities has been a Godsend and a blessing in my life. Thank you for all that you do and a Happy 100th Birthday.

From Newman Bradley

I'm a driver for Meals on Wheels program out of Calumet City, Illinois. I've been working for the program for 13 years. I have seen what a difference it has made. I have seen what good it does for the seniors to bring them a hot lunch and have a conversation with them for a few minutes. I had that experience with my mother before she passed, and it helped me out a lot working with Catholic Charities Meals on Wheels program.

From Catherine O'Grady

My mother taught baby wellness to pregnant teenagers and adolescent mothers & their babies for many years through Catholic Charities.

From Mari Andresky Loustaunau

Here's to another 100 years.
I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization, Catholic Charities.


When it became apparent that after 76 years of living with family I would now have to find an apartment and live on my own, it was very frightening. I applied for an apartment and was accepted at St. Sabina Elder Village. That was a beginning of a wonderful life.

The office managers were there to help me in any way they could. The coordinator was always there to help me with all the paperwork that now flooded my telephone and my mailbox. If something went wrong in my apartment, management would have it fixed as soon as possible. We had access to a clean exercise room, coffee room, library, and laundry room. The building and its surroundings are kept clean and beautiful at all times. We had security around the clock and they were kind and professional. The maintenance men were always polite and always knew your name.

I am very proud to be a resident in this wonderful place called St. Sabina Elder Village.


Catholic Charities has helped me by allowing me to reach out to help others – making meals for the vets at Cooke’s Manor and now at Bishop Goedert. It is my little contribution to help others through Catholic Charities.


I am a senior living at Lincoln Perry apartments. I have been there about 5 years. I receive commodities and food from Catholic Charities. It is a big help.

From Jan Ahlgrim

I feel so blessed to have spent my entire professional career st such a wonderful organization. Congratulations, Catholic Charities! I will always be part of your family.