Blind and Disabled Find Safety at St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal

Posted on June 30, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

 “Why Them & Not Me?”

That homelessness surged by 42-percent in New York comes as no surprise to St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal, an affiliate of Catholic Charities.

"Every day people call us or come in person looking for a peaceful place away from the harshness of life on the street and the chaos in shelter,” they write in their just released Summer Newsletter.

"What does surprise us over and over again, though, are the stories of the men the Lord sends to us; some are heart-wrenching and almost incomprehensible. Many of our guests have serious medical conditions like diabetes, and calling 911 (as we did the other day) is not an unseal experience. 

One man suffers from epilepsy and has seizures almost weekly. When this happens in a vulnerable place like on the subway, he is sometimes robbed of his possessions while unconscious. 

Another – a humble, saintly, cheerful man – has a degenerative eye disease.  He is already legally blind and his vision is getting worse.  He reads a large print Bible with a magnifying glass and enlarged copies of prayers we say at the shelter  he has been trying to get subsidized housing for ten years. "

Founded and run by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Saint Anthony Shelter was established in 1993 to care for the long-term needs of the homeless in New York City. A private shelter for men over 18 years of age, it provides a living environment spiritually rooted in the Catholic tradition while respecting the diversity and conscience of individual guests.

When we hear stories like these and realize how many of these tragedies were completely beyond our guests’ control, our response can only be the same as that of Pope Francis when he visits prisoners:  “Why them and not me: I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine.”

Read more from St. Anthony Shelter’s summer newsletter.

Find out more about St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal


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