Sister of Mercy, Eileen Boffa has been a friend of Men’s Ministry for many years. Her ministry serves many men and women in Bridgeport who face severe challenges in their daily life. Sister Eileen invited me to join her at the Mercy by the Sea Spiritual Retreat and Conference Center in Madison CT, as we gathered to offer fifteen unhoused men two days of retreat, prayer, and rest by the ocean. Mercy by the Sea Center kindly donated the retreat space along with room and board through their scholarship program.
The time was a gift for the men and for myself, as I was reminded of the many daily needs we can so easily take for granted. I cannot recall any time in my life where I wondered if I would eat today, delighted in having clean towels, was awe-struck by having a private room, or relieved that I would sleep all night under a roof without fear of being robbed. The stress of street life, homelessness and getting by without stable work produces severe loneliness and prolonged suffering. It was wonderful to see some well-being and dignity restored, along with smiles on faces for basic needs and simple pleasures. There was no entitlement, only gratitude. Many thanks to Sr. Eileen for your heart of mercy and your ministry. – Bob