Monday, January 24, 2011

Mary's Joy Ministry, a Catholic helping hands link...

Mary's Joy, love in action:

Thanks to the generosity of our parish, the Mary's Joy shoebox collections and canvass bags continue to be "adopted," filled and returned overflowing! Like threads in a lovely tapestry, the little baskets and gift bags which our members create are delivered to shut ins, to people who are ill, just home from the hospital, alone, or just needing cheering up. Little things add up, are worked together, and make something beautiful in honor of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Joy, Her Son, Jesus Christ. What a miraculous year it has been! And in the years before that, we have learned how to share, and that is our motto "Linking those in need with those who can help."

Food donations flow in to the Mary's Joy kitchen "bread basket" and are taken to the local Catholic Worker House or local food pantry. There are quiet times, when only a few loaves of bread come in, and then there are times when the basket is overflowing with freshly baked fruit breads, cookies and cakes or canned goods. Still, people remember others and something is always there. People on the streets are fed in the morning breakfast lines sponsored by the local Catholic Worker House. Wish lists are matched, so that the coffee is there, the creamer, the makings of what they need for the bagged lunches. Wish lists quickly become perpetual prayers: We need more of this or that, because it is needed on the streets, and the need is urgent and perpetual. We learn to feel the need as if it is our own, because we should feel this way, as Christ does.

For our Mothers- in- need, someone crochets a baby hat and matching booties, a lovely blanket or jacket and these find their way a few weeks later to a shelter for mothers in crisis. Someone else fills a shoebox with "Most wanted items" on our wish list, and it is added to the other donations which make their way to homes for battered women or families in crisis.

Like our Lord's loaves and fishes, every contribution counts, no matter how small, so that together, baskets and gift bags flow out to those in need.

Thank you, all who share with such love! We will meet again this Wednesday at the Church, to wrap more gifts, to sort donations and make up the baskets. Anyone wishing to learn more about Mary's Joy, please contact me by email at, and I will be happy to share with you what we've learned and how we've been blessed!

Blessings in Christ,
Kathryn Forrester Thro

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Foundress of Mary's Joy, a Catholic helping hands link. Poet Laureate Emeritus of Virginia and Poet Laureate of Clan Forrester Society.