Article from The Spirit – Delaware County’s Award Winning Community Newspaper

Author: LorettaRodgers ,

Read the Article Here

Sr. Maggie Gannon, OSF and Sr. Cathy McGowan, SSJ love the City of Chester and its residents, and their work at Anna’s Place has allowed them the opportunity to serve and minister to the people they so cherish.

For 12 years, the sisters served as president and principal, respectively, of Drexel Neumann Academy (DNA) and it was there they established long-lasting friendships with parents, students, extended family and a host of benefactors.

The sisters decided that the 2018-2019 school year would their last at DNA and accepted positions at Anna’s Place, a  hospitality center sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia located on the west end of Chester,

Anna’s Place, named after Maria Anna Bachmann, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, provides food and a host of activities for residents in that community.

“The sister who was the director of Anna’s Place was retiring and she invited us to think about coming to the west end of Chester,” said McGowan. “As educators you cannot stay at a place too long. You have to hand it over to new people. We felt Drexel Neumann was in great shape and it was time for us to hand it over. So, we decided that Chester’s west end is where the need is and we found out that is really the truth.”

Anna’s Place provides classes in art, crocheting, flower design and computers. Bingo is played one day a week and a full lunch is served on Thursdays for those in need. There is also a community garden and classes are taught in English as a second language.

Gannon said she feels that God was calling her and McGowan to do something different; to serve in a place where the need is great.

“We did everything we were called to do at Drexel Neumann Academy,” Gannon said. The building was in fabulous shape and the school was financially sound. Coming to Anna’s Place was like starting over again and we both felt that we had one good mission left in us to do something that would require lots of energy. God invited us to do his work here. You know, homelessness, poverty and mental illness was not our experience at Drexel Neumann Academy, but we are experiencing that here in the west end.”

Gannon said everything was going along well, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Anna’s Place became even more of a refuge for people in need.

“Normally we are not a food cupboard, but there are people who are hungry, and that call needs to be answered” said Gannon. “We have seen such goodness and through the help and contributions of so many wonderful people, some of whom are complete strangers, thankfully the needs of our guests are being met.”

The sisters humbly request gifts of non-perishable food items so they can make bags for their guests, and gift cards in increments of $25 to grocery stores and fast food restaurants.

Gannon and McGowan are at Anna’s Place, 226 Norris St., from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Monday through Thursday and can be reached by calling 484-361-5900.

“We are grateful for anything,” Gannon said. “We are not asking for money. We just want to be able to feed our brothers and sisters.”


Anna’s Place: A tiny miracle in times of pandemic

To the Times:

Anna's Place food Distribution during CoronavirusAs we journey through these difficult days as our world suffers with the Coronavirus, we don’t want to lost sight of the miracles … yes, miracles … that we see every day since this all began.

When Anna’s Place closed to normal operations and shifted to providing bags of food to those in need, we worried, but soon found our worry to be unnecessary. Although this might not seem like a miracle to most, it was nothing short of a miracle to us. We are blessed to receive lunch meat and some canned goods from Nutritional Development Services, for which we are very grateful, but the majority of food comes from the donations of countless people who keep coming day after day with much-needed donations and words of encouragement.

The bags of food are received by people who are so grateful for the blessing being bestowed on them … by strangers. We hear countless stories of people who had been employed for years and just lost their job or the families who do not have enough food for the kids who are at home all day. As long as a person arrives looking for help, we provide them with whatever is available. That is where we see the miracles – every day! Whenever we run out of food (which happens quite frequently), someone shows up with a donation or sends us a gift card for the grocery store. There has never been a time when our shelves remained empty and to us, that is a miracle.

The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded Anna’s Place 10 years ago. Over these 10 years, the staff and volunteers have sought to meet the needs of our community in Chester and to provide opportunities to bring joy to our guests. Since the coronavirus changed life as we all knew it, we have seen miracles every day in the generous goodness of others … who learned of the need and responded … no hesitation, just a loving reaction.

Pope Francis recently said, “It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”

We have been blessed by companions on the journey who have chosen what matters … caring for our sisters and brothers in need. As we celebrate the Feast of Easter, we take great consolation and hope for the future based on the goodness we have seen in the generosity of those who have supported our guests at Anna’s Place. We do not worry as much when the shelves are empty, because we have no doubt God will provide for us in the kindness of others, just as He has since life changed March 16.

There is no doubt these days have been filled with worry and anxiety, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge the joy and comfort that has been our daily blessing at Anna’s Place. In these days of uncertainty and fear, we hope our experience of the goodness of others and God’s Divine Providence delights you as it has us!

Sister Cathy McGowan, SSJ, Sister Maggie Gannon, OSF

Featured in the Delaware County Daily Times:

Norine Bastian Fine Arts Room

Anna's Place is pleased to honor Norine Bastian, a dear friend to so many who continues to touch lives from her Heavenly Home.  
Norine's family and friends have generously donated funds to help
provide our guests with meals, bingo prizes, art/crochet/flower 
arranging supplies.  As we walk pass the plaque outside the 
classroom, we prayerfully remember one of Heaven's newest saints
who we know intercedes for all she loves...including our guests 
at Anna's Place.IMG_1190

Gift Cards for Anna’s Place

Gift Card Promo

Looking for something special to do this Christmas season?

Anna’s Place is collecting gift cards for the community we serve. It’s a great way to help those less fortunate have a blessed and happy holiday season!

Gift cards in any amount are welcome from Amazon, Walmart, Giant and ShopRite

Simply purchase your card(s) and send to:

Anna’s Place
226 Norris Street
Chester, PA 19013

CLICK HERE to visit our wish list on to purchase Amazon and Giant cards

Please purchase and send to Anna’s Place by December 13 so that our community members have time to purchase before Christmas!