Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A new beginning...

So as my first entry, I figured I should probably tell you what I'm doing and where I'm living... I'll do my best to paint the best picture possible for those of you who don't know what I see, hear, smell and deal with every day, but I don't even know where to begin...
As you all probably know, I was on retreat for 4 days in central NY on Canandaigua Lake... it was a beautiful, picturesque retreat house overlooking the lake. Both the Philadelphia FVM house and the Camden FVM house spent time praying, laughing and generally spending time with one another. It was a really special way to kick off the craziness that has since ensued in my time in Philly.
We arrived back in Philly Thursday night and were scheduled to work the meal Friday morning... talk about diving in head first!!! I couldn't possibly chronicle each day since then, but I will definitely highlight a few stories to give you an idea...
Friday morning I stepped out of the house on my way to work (which is just about 50 steps down the road) and saw two men yelling in the street. A man, standing in the middle of the street, was yelling at another man in a suitcoat carrying a suitcase walking away from my house saying, "Dude, you just don't shit in the street!" Welcome to Philadelphia! Nope, definitely NOT in Goffstown anymore!
I've been proposed to by a man who couldn't remember how old he was, was hit on blatantly by a man who has no concept of boundaries, pushed aside a razor and hypodermic needle from in front of our house the other day, and have been asked on numerous occasions by a man who chooses to be called "Rambo" if I'd dress him up like a girl... how do you even begin to answer that question? We just start talking about Transformers and walk away, usually...
So I'm not sure how many of you know what poverty smells like, but when you step out my front door and serve a meal at the Inn, you can't really escape it. It is a mix of urine (people, for some reason, really enjoy peeing on our front porch), body odor, and dirt... it still catches me off guard and isn't really a smell I'd like to get used to.
I will try to post some pictures once we actually get internet at our house (which is actually September 13th!), but until then, you'll just have to rely on my shoddy attempt to describe my experience.
Needless to say, I've fallen in love with Philadelphia. The people I work with (the friars, lay volunteers and my fellow FVMs) are constantly challenging and inspiring me to try harder, live love and, most importantly, see God in the work I am doing. I can't really say quite yet what God has in mind for me here, but I am excited and eager to find out!
Hopefully in future posts I'll be able to give more details, tell more stories and share with you all the love and grace that I experience here. Please keep me, my housemates and the guests at Saint Francis Inn in your prayers!!!


Thomas A. said...


Great to hear that you are doing well and settled in -- though it's hard to believe that you would paint a room! Glad to know that you can!

Your blog is both worrisome and comforting. I worry for you and I envy you. Keep safe!

Love and prayers from New Boston,
Colleen and the Boys

cherylb said...

I can't write to you without getting all teary-eyed!

I love you and am so proud of you.


Kathy said...

Hi Kate,
Ive been thinking and wondering about the last few days! Glad to know you are in a good place?! Take care of yourself and I look forward to following along on your journey.
Love, Auntie Kathy

Uncle Scott & Auntie DoDo said...

Hi Sweetie, Just wanted to say Hello and we are so proud of you, keep up the great work you are doing and we love you very much.