In the late 1990s, a group of Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine identified an unmet need in the community: a caring environment for men in transition with acute medical needs.
The sisters, who at that time operated St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland, realized that some men being discharged from the hospital may not have a safe place to go while they healed. After a great deal of discussion and planning, Joseph’s Home opened in June 2000. The hospital has since transitioned to a community health center model.
In 2022, the ministry realized its dream to also serve women and opened Mary’s Home in a building adjacent to Joseph’s Home. Soon after, it was rebranded as Joseph & Mary’s Home.
(See photo gallery from the anniversary celebration above.)
The unique ministry celebrated its first two decades of service with a Mass and reception on March 20 at Regina Health Center, another ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.
Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA congregational leader, and Anthony Searcy, chair of the Joseph & Mary’s Home board of directors, welcomed guests to the Mass, which was celebrated by Father Paul Bernier, SSS. Deacon Mark Yantek, CEO of Regina Health, assisted. The celebration took place on the feast of St. Joseph, which was transferred to March 20 since his feast day fell on a Sunday this year.
Father Bernier said God, through the Holy Spirit, was responsible for the messages received by St. Joseph. “God had a special mission for him,” he explained.
He recalled how Jesus was “lost” in the temple at age 12. “But he wasn’t really lost. He was questioning people in his father’s house,” Father Bernier said. He also pointed out the example St. Joseph set for Jesus and his family.
“The ability St. Joseph had to hear and keep the word of God – even in a dream – was special. In their home, he taught Jesus to have the sanctification of a holy life and to integrate things so that God remains uppermost in our minds. And how do we imitate that? Joseph & Mary’s Home is one way,” he said.
Father Bernier also encouraged the congregation to deepen their familiarity with sacred Scripture, to go deeper than just the readings from Mass. He suggested studying the Scriptures to gain a deeper understanding.
In addition, he said being willing to give up our desires and to do what God is asking of us is important “so that God’s word becomes uppermost in our minds as we live his will each day in our lives.”
After Mass, Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph & Mary’s Home, spoke briefly thanking the sisters and all who had a role in the 20-year celebration and the establishing of the ministry.
“Our mission is to aid the medically fragile men and women experiencing homelessness,” she said.
Joseph & Mary’s Home has 11 beds for men and 10 beds for women. Each resident has a private room, medical supervision, medication management, nutritious meals and coordination with local health care providers. In addition, residents get case management that includes developing a permanent housing plan, benefits reviews, transportation to and from medical or housing appointments and supportive programming
Alumni stay connected through follow-up in-home visits, phone calls and alumni events. They also can return to the home for staff support, meals and laundry facilities, if needed.
Attendees at the anniversary celebration received a holy card with a St. Joseph medal attached.
For more information on Joseph & Mary’s Home, click here.