FROM BONITA CLYDE

I happen to be involved in Catholic Charities. I am in the program Street to Home. Last year at this time I was homeless and didn’t have a place to live. I got involved, and they found me a wonderful one bedroom apartment that’s all mine, and I’m just so grateful and so thankful. I’ve started going back to church.

I try to help other people too and tell them about it. So maybe they can feel like I feel. Catholic Charities has brought me back to myself and made me a whole human being. I now work for them, have been for two years and I just want to say thank you to someone.

I am very proud of my job (working as a caregiver). I wanted to share with you. In Street to Home, we have our Christmas party and everyone gets up and shares their story, and I guess I needed to get that out.

FROM JANICE SCHULD

When I was growing up, I had a child out of wedlock. My parents would not help me. I went to Catholic Charities to have my baby.

FROM SHIRLEY CRALLIE

Catholic Charities helped me with the loss of my brother Nick by helping to take some of his possessions of canned foods, towels, wash clothes and more.

They gave us good words and family strength- Nick loved to have Tuesday lunches with the Catholic Charities in 4040 N Oakley and always gave us a pick of beautiful floral arrangements. Bingo was great. He loved the staff there. What a good place to mingle with friends and meet others.

FROM ELAINE KRAMER

I have been involved with Catholic Charities for a number of years and don’t recall when, how, or why. I have been asked this a number of times by employees as well.

I have been lucky that whenever I had to go to a Public Aid Office, someone from St. Vincent DePaul Center always gave me support when I needed it.

I have been invited to many Christmas parties and programs, and have volunteered to help out. I was so grateful for the help that I received and I felt I could help others in return by volunteering.

Today I have to depend on help and St. Vincent DePaul Center has been helpful for me. Nine years ago I received a pig valve and Catholic Charities got me help for a number of things I couldn’t do.

It’s wonderful that Catholic Charities gave me all the help I received. Today I say prayers and hope that I won’t have to depend on others so much for help, but that I can do things on my own.

So until this miracle happens, thanks so much to Catholic Charities for giving me the help I need when I am limited to what I can do. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

FROM MONICA IGLESIAS

I worked for Catholic Charities at North Park Village, 5801 North Pulaski Road in Chicago, with the “Meals on Wheels” program. We coordinated meals for seniors who needed additional food. This was assessed by the Northwest/Northeast Case Managers and implemented within a days’ notice to the client’s door. God bless those hard working case managers!

My lasting impression of Catholic Charities is the people associated with the organization. I don’t think I have ever met a more knowledgeable, giving, and caring group of people than I did in North Park. I was also extremely impressed with the drivers and delivery of the meals, which I evidenced firsthand on my block a few years later down the road.

My neighbor rang my doorbell to ask if I could help him. He had a sister in the far western suburbs and after his father died, he needed a little assistance. He was not yet a senior but he was disabled (with a mentally challenged affliction) and he wanted to remain in his home. So, in came Meals on Wheels as a starting point. He received Meals on Wheels until he too died last year.

It was with his meal delivery that I personally saw the dynamics of the delivery. They were timely and the driver/delivery people most cheerful and friendly. Through the years the driver and my neighbor formed a little bond of friendship. My neighbor never made a doctor’s appointment or went far from the block on delivery day. He not only looked forward to his food, but the chit-chat with his new friend. It was there I saw the driver ring the bell and personally delivery the meals. He was one of the first people to know if an individual was sick or hospitalized since food is never left on the steps.

That sparks another memory about several people, who could least afford it, would occasionally send in a dollar or two (cash in an envelope no less) to Catholic Charities to show their appreciation for all the food they had to eat. That, my friends, is a class act.

I, myself, developed a lasting friendship with one of the case managers. We often talk about the “Catholic Charities” days.

It was a wonderful experience working at Catholic Charities and does my soul good to know there are so many kind people out there – going way beyond “job descriptions” to help those in need. These are the people, in the background, who make a difference – who put such a “human” touch to their work by caring.

Times today are pretty intense. The whole world is in turmoil. Globally we are all connected. God help the troubled souls.

And

God bless all the marvelous people who diligently try to make things just a little better for someone.

FROM GINI CATES

In 1952 my mother was in the hospital giving birth to her sixth child.  My father's job required him to leave for work at 4 AM.  Our priest from Holy Angels, contacted Catholic Charities.  Every morning for one week a lady from Catholic Charities came to our home.  She prepared our breakfast and got us ready for school.  I don't remember her name but we told our friends that she was our grandmother; in fact, we called her "grandma".

Another time CC came to our family's rescue was when my father was hospitalized and there was no family income. Once a week (until my father was able to return to work) Father Curran (our family priest) would pin a white envelope to my uniform to give to my mother.  I learned that the envelope contained a check to help maintain our household.

I am 78 years old and have not forgotten how Catholic Charities helped our family.

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 Pam Wilk

You do amazing work, and God bless you. Happy 100th

FROM SARAH STACKER-JONES

I wish to tell you how St. Vincent’s has impacted my life. When I had my first child, a son, who was born in 1941, I was very young, and I was ill a lot. When he was ready to come home, I was unable to take care of him, and someone at the hospital asked me if I would like to let him be cared for at St. Vincent’s.

I was not Catholic at the time, but I knew he would be care for, so I agreed. While he was there, I was able to visit him and hold him, and bond with him. The nun who cared for him was named Sr. Beata (I’ll never forget her). When I was able to take him home, she told me she would like to see him some times, so I would take him back for some time, while she would keep up with us.

 She asked me if I would like to have him baptized, and I said yes, but when I said I wasn’t Catholic, she said in order to do it, I would have to take instruction about the Catholic faith. She told me the nearest church, for where I lived, was St. Anselm’s on 61st and Michigan. I went there, and met the nuns who instructed and became a regular student. My son and I were both baptized in the Rectory, on December 7, 1941. Later that evening, I learned about Pearl Harbor.

I have been a parishioner of Holy Family Church for over 50 years now, and still am thankful to St. Vincent’s.

FROM MARGARET ALVAREZ

Catholic Charities has given me Hope. Unfortunately, I lost my oldest son through “gun violence,” “attempted robbery” stick-up twenty years ago. It’s been a cold case. He was a grade school student at the old Holy Name Cathedral School. We had his mass at the Holy Name Cathedral Church, Queen of Heavens Cemetery.

The Lord has blessed me with two sons. My youngest son is a successful limousine chauffer. He also attended the Holy Name Cathedral Grade School. I’m a disabled Tex-Mex American single parent. I was married by the Catholic Religion – church wedding in 1969, legally divorced Catholic of about 40 years. I’ve held several jobs to support my two sons. We all have formal education.

I receive my food and clothing at Catholic Charities – along with Legal Aid counseling when needed. The Catholic Charities Organization has helped my family tremendously. I have a lot of respect for Monsignor Michael Boland. He’s doing a great job in helping families like mine through his “After Supper Visions” photography program. This program for the last 16 years has helped me pay some of my small bills to maintain my apartment.

FROM RITA SISKO

My husband and I had been married for 12 years and after consulting with many doctors, we were still hoping for a family. We were blessed with an answer to our prayers through Catholic Charities. 

The Daughters of Charity at St. Vincent's Orphanage welcomed my husband (deceased 6-16-1988) and I on two memorable, life changing, joyous occasions. First in 1963, with an infant baby girl born January 18, and again in 1964 with twin daughters born February 20.

After each visit, a Sister of the Daughters of Charity took us to Catholic Charities Chapel to pray in thanksgiving for our beautiful gift from a birth mother who choose life for her baby.  These fond memories and prayers of thanksgiving will forever be held dear in my heart as we celebrate life. 

Thank you Sisters of Charity and Catholic Charities. Congratulations on your 100th Anniversary!  

FROM SHELLY EVANS

Back around 2003, I was going through a difficult time in my life. I was involved in a domestic violence relationship that I was trying to get me and my boys away from. I lost my job. I had no money and felt helpless. My abuser used that situation to further abuse me and my boys.

Somebody told me to contact Catholic Charities for assistance on money to move with. During my interview process with Catholic charities I got a job as a homemaker. Catholic Charities paid my rent at my apartment which allowed me to save a month’s pay and move me and my boys away.

It’s now 14 years later and I'm still very grateful and will never forget the help I received.

FROM MARTHA SCHAFFRATH

I am a firm believer that God always provides help when needed.

In 2003, I needed to call Catholic Charities to find a caretaker to take care of my mom. She fell and broke her hip and needed two surgeries to repair her hip (she was 88 at the times). It was a miracle that our caretaker came from Catholic Charities, and when she was asked, “What address would you like to select out of this list?” she selected my mom’s address. She said she had a feeling this would be her new client, and sure enough she was with us until 2009 when mom passed away in her arms from natural causes.

If it wasn’t for our ANGEL caretaker, mom would not have lived that long. She did a lot for her: made her breakfast and lunch, washed her clothes, took care of all her needs. I worked part time at the time and needed someone there.

Thank you so much Catholic Charities for this gift we received from you. Mom was 94 when she passed. I will never forget you and our caretaker.

from Florence zielinski

I sent a poem to the Keenager News.

Having my poem accepted for the Readers’ Corner in the Keenager News opened up the door to a hobby that grew more important for me to this day. I learned that “SHARING” what I wrote helped locate friends and tell them where I had moved. Some are gone, but there are some reading the Keenager and working the crossword puzzles. Now they also have new addresses.

One day a woman walked over to me and said: “Peace be with you.” (I wondered… who is she? Why is she greeting me this way?)

Naturally, I answered, “And with you.” And we parted.

(“She is a Catholic,” I thought.)

Next day I found she knew my name, and read my poem, “PEACE BE WITH YOU” in the Keenager News! After several months I was getting calls, “Did you see your poem in the News?”

The existence of the Keenager News has made it possible for me to make new friends, find old friends, and it made my hobby a lifelong source of occupation and enjoyment.

FROM LINDA K. JONES

Well, let me start with this statement: “If it wasn’t for Catholic Charities, I would not be writing this letter because I would be buried 6 feet underground DEAD!” I was married to an abusive drug addict and left him six times just to go back into a dangerous home. I’ve had a gun put up to my head, been choked, and my life threatened numerous times. But thank God for Catholic Charities counseling, my counselor, Sonya, helped me start thinking clearly by teaching me the “cycle of abuse.” Then she helped me get the courage and strength to move forward, get an order of protection and divorce.

My counselor also helped me find housing at a Catholic Charities building “Porta Coeli Senior Building.” Oh Praise the Lord! Catholic Charities Porta Coeli Senior Building subsidizes my rent and that is why I am no longer homeless. Thank you, Catholic Charities, you have helped me enormously. I feel like a new person with a new life and have been on my own since 2015. Catholic Charities increased my self-esteem through counseling and I am now learning how to build good relationships.

At Porta Coeli Senior Building I have had the opportunity to improve my health through the gardening club and get off all of my medications by changing my eating habits. I am now active meeting new friends at Porta Coeli Senior Building through the many activities like fitness class, gardening, and Zumba.

Catholic Charities has helped me stop living in an abusive household, change my victim mindset, obtain an apartment, improve my health, get off all prescription medication and start LIVING AGAIN. Thank you Catholic Charities.

FROM KATHALEEN VALEK

For many years I worked as a caregiver. I met a lot of clients that received services through Catholic Charities.

I picked up monthly food boxes for elders. I contributed medical equipment such as bath chairs, canes, etc. that could be used through your lending closets. I helped several of my clients obtain transportation through CC when they had no one to help them otherwise. CC even stepped in to help when I reported a case of elder abuse. Catholic Charities was always there to assist clients with their needs.

Everyone at CC was always very kind and helpful to everyone.

Little did I know that in 2014, I would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to give up working. I then found myself in need of assistance and services. I spoke to Catholic Charities in Round Lake to see if I would qualify for services.

A very nice caseworker named Anail Hernandez came to my building, took all my information, and helped me qualify for services from CC. I now have a wonderful caregiver that helps me with laundry, shopping, and medical visit. She has prevented me from falling several times. I am also signed up with the senior dining and health programs around my area. It gives me a chance to get out and socialize with other people and enjoy a health meal.

I am so happy and grateful for all the help and love. All interactions with Catholic Charities and other seniors has made quite a big difference in my life.  

It’s hard to have health issues and gets very frustrating at times. With all the help from Catholic Charities, I look forward to every day. It really does make a wonderful difference in my life and outlook. All I can say is “Thank you, thank you.” God bless everyone involved. You make a big difference in so many lives.”

FROM ANNIE SMITH

Catholic Charities has made my life so much more comfortable and safe since I moved into the Bernadin Manor Senior Housing Building in Calumet City, Illinois.

I volunteer for the Congregate Meal Program, and along with the activities and events of the Josephine P. Argento Senior Center (located inside Bernadin Manor) and the many Catholic Charites outings throughout the year (including the Senior Unity Mass and the Christmas Liturgy), I am kept active while living here.

I first learned about Bernadin Manor through an advertisement in the Chicago Sun-Times. The application process was very easy and in June of 2000 I moved into my apartment. It has been a wonderful 17 years in this facility and I am grateful for the staff that truly care about our health and welfare.

Without the care and concern of Catholic Charities I honestly don’t know where my life would have ended up. Thank you so much Catholic Charities and congratulations on celebrating 100 years!!!!!!!

FROM SHIRLEY ST. GERMAINE

I don’t know if I can say Catholic Charities only helped me, they gave my husband and me a daughter through adoption which is far beyond helping. They changed our lives forever.

We were blessed with a son, but were told not to have more children as I had a cesarean with many complications. Wanting more children, we put our application in immediately for another child through Catholic Charities. We had a wonderful Priest as our case worker. We at that time only lived in a small 10x45 ft. mobile home and you had to assume that the baby would have its own room. My husband built an addition to our mobile and made a room. Because we had a son, we knew it would be hard as other couples had no children.

I called every month to our case worker and I think they really gave us a baby to get rid of those calls. 4 years and 8 months later, we got the call for our daughter.

She is a devout Catholic woman now with two children and teaches CCD classes. So, yes, Catholic Charities helped us and we are so blessed. There is no difference in love between these two children. Thank you Catholic Charities for your help. I am now 81, my husband 87, married 64 years, but it seems like yesterday we were blessed.