We bring you now to the final room in our virtual tour. As we open the door to the dining room, we ask you to recall that we started in the kitchen, which we called the most important room of the house; this is true because food is the most basic human need. Simply put, we die without sustenance. It is such a basic need that we started our ministry to a few women on the streets last fall by taking them food. Every Thursday evening, we now serve an evening meal and snacks-for-later to about 25 women in a parking lot.
So if we’re already feeding the women weekly, what difference will a dining room make? The surface answer is that even if food were the only focus of our work, we would greatly prefer to see our women eating their meals seated comfortably around a table indoors instead of huddled around a van in the heat, cold, and rain. Would you enjoy having to brave the elements just to have your hunger satisfied?
Although that would be enough of a reason to have a dining room, there is much more to it than that. In our very souls, we understand that a meal taken in community is not just about the food. From ancient times until now, breaking bread together has been a symbol unity, of conflict ended, of paradise restored. Sharing a meal with friends around a bountiful table is a way of feeding both the body and the spirit. Meals served at the Lisieux drop-in center will be eaten around a table blessed by love for each and all, where the benefit of the feast is not determined by the richness of the food but by the sweetness of the fellowship in which it is enjoyed.
Fostering community by building trust has been a major theme throughout our description of the drop-in center. Indeed, the concept of community has been an integral part of our organization since the beginning—so much so that we made it part of our name. We started this new ministry knowing that building trust with the women was the key to seeing them persist in the long difficult process of recovery. Therefore, we can find no better way to complete our description of the center than to quote the saint for whom our community is named. In one of her letters, St Therese of Lisieux said, “Trust and trust alone should lead us to love.”
Please pray with us that the God who is Love itself will provide us a facility where the women who are now on the streets can learn to live in ways that promote individual and corporate health in a community of real love.
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