“LEFSA got me reconnected with the Bible, God, and also with my family.”
I became affiliated with LEFSA in 2011 when I was living in Lenox Hill Women’s Shelter on Park Avenue.
I always believed in God and that all people are children of God. Every week I looked forward to LEFSA coming to the shelter. It was my dose of reality, realization that my stay at the shelter had a reason, that I was in a valley only for a short time, and that this too shall pass.
I felt a lot of love, forgiveness and compassion coming from Sr. Dorothy and James, it was a wonderful thing for them to do. Snacks they brought were also a wonderful treat. I assisted in any way I could when they came to the shelter, it made me feel like I was a part of that energy and vibe they carried with them.
Experiencing LEFSA’s gatherings made me look back into how blessed I’ve been in the course of my life. I realized I could have been in more trouble that I was in and that I’ve always had God’s favor in all the blessings and talents he had given me, and people he put in my life. I didn’t understand at the time why I was back in New York, I couldn’t stand it, but through LEFSA I was able to look at what lessons are in my experiences and how they have affected me. I looked at my journey through life; going to California, meeting my husband there, working, getting married. I realized one of my purposes in life was to marry him and take care of him when he got sick. Made me realize how strong I am. Made me realize how much I loved him, how much of a blessing he was. It was a healing experience in a way, because I never addressed some of those things, and through LEFSA I got to mourn for my husband passing, and my mother passing. I realized when looking at my life, that it’s a blessing, whether good or bad, and I knew that God was watching my life, making a final decision.
I didn’t know I was going to stay in contact with LEFSA, but in a shelter I met Diane and we gravitate towards each other. We went to LSTEP Program (Life Skills Program) together and it only made sense I stayed connected with LEFSA since she did as well. I drifted away from religion before LEFSA, but realized later that God was always there, orchestrating my life. When I met my husband, I thought my husband was the one providing everything, it wasn’t until the night he had his stroke that I realized that I had to take care of things, and I heard the voice saying: “you have half an hour to be irresponsible and then you’re on”. When taking care of my husband I realized how it is to be a single mom, I had to do everything with no day off. I stayed in great health the whole time until he passed away, and then I got ill.
I would have to say LEFSA got me reconnected with the Bible, God, and also with my family. I realized that everything comes from God. I had quite an epiphany about things that happen in my life and that bad things that are happening are signs that I shouldn’t be in a certain situation.
Over the years I shut myself off from people and through LEFSA I was able to reconnected with like minded people. All my memories of LEFSA are good, all the retreats that I’ve been able to go on, all the print outs we received, and learning how to address things in our lives. The women’s group has been really inspirational to me, what we do there is really wonderful, because we focus on questions that we all need to ask ourselves; how are we growing, processing, stagnating? Are we getting better and more Christ like or not? We all need to go in that direction. Attending Leadership Study Day has been equally inspirational to me. One of my favorite memories is when I saw the large shrimps at one of the events, it blew my mind, it felt like Christmas!
I think LEFSA is very special because it brings inspiration from someone who has been homeless, in a shelter, addicted, depressed, who suffered any kind of loss in their life. It has been a great place for shelter, compassion, understanding; it just feels like an all encompassing place that you want to come to and stay connected with. There are people here who you feel connected with, and it feels like a family that continues to grow.
– Althea Craig-Morelli