To the Times:
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: https://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-anna-s-place-a-tiny-miracle-in-times-of-pandemic/article_45065882-7cb2-11ea-a577-abf2b5463afd.html