A Yellow Hallway becomes a preaching moment for the San Rafael community
Sharing Home in our Yellow Hallway
It all started in the Year of Mercy. As Sister Maureen visited with the sisters at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent in the spring last year, she invited them to reflect with her on the word “mercy,” pondering what it meant to them as individuals as well as to the congregation. “What is our capacity for love, acceptance, forgiveness?” she asked. “Can we extend mercy to ourselves as well as to others?”
That moved Sister Patricia Simpson, moderator of Lourdes Convent, to imagining. What she came up with was a vision for sharing a portion of the convent with people in dire need. She gathered a few others to imagine with her and they started to research. It turned out that it might be years before a Syrian refugee family could be allowed to come to San Rafael, and in any case, there is not an existing group of Syrian people to support the newcomers. But we do have an ongoing collaborative relationship with Homeward Bound of Marin, a nationally recognized non-profit organization with a mission to open doors to safety, dignity, hope and independence for people who need housing and support. What if we provided shelter for two single mothers, clients of Homeward Bound, and their young children, for two years as they transitioned to independence? So was born the Yellow Hallway Project.
With just a minor bit of remodeling, we will soon be able to welcome the two families. The San Rafael City Planning Commission has approved the plan, and we now enjoy a green light from the City Council. As Pope Francis said on Easter Sunday, “…the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast… ‘Come and see!’: Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.”