Althea Craig-Morelli

Reconnected Through LEFSA

“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

Related Stories

Read what LEFSA participants, team members, and volunteers have to say.

Joan - Testimony to Ministry
I arrived at Lenox Hill Shelter for Women in the month of July 2008, feeling sickly and weak. Sorrow had taken the place of joy, because of my dire circumstances. At least one year and a half earlier I underwent a yearlong treatment for chemotherapy, then came the death of my beloved mother, followed by homelessness. Homeless was a word I’d never experienced ...
Read more

Joan B.

Lisa - Bringing out the love
I first starting coming to LEFSA’s women’s group in 2002 when a community member recommended me to the ministry. There I was introduced to Sr. Dorothy, who instantly made me feel really loved.

During the group everybody was talking about God, so I asked who God was and whether He was a person. Sr. Dorothy told me that God is love...

Read more


Jorjina - LEFSA as a Family
When I was at a very low point in my life, someone invited me to the LEFSA Women’s Group. Fortunately, I was not working that day, so I went.

Knowing that there were people that had very similar experiences to my own and actually talking about them in a safe environment changed how I felt about myself, my faith, my situation, and my goals. I thank God for LEFSA every day! ...

Read more


John Wesley - Little Miracles
When asked to write about Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates (LEFSA) I came up with a title for the essay. I call it “Little Miracles.” Read on, hopefully you’ll agree.

A couple of weeks after I moved out of the shelter and into my apartment, I was confined to a wheelchair. One night while coming home, a lady smiled at me and said: “you need LEFSA.” Somehow she knew ...
Read more

John Wesley Mitchell

Brittany - Inspirational and life changing
Thank you to all of the members of LEFSA for welcoming us into your phenomenal community. Each and every one of you are inspiring, and what you do is extraordinary. In the short time we were there, we were able to learn so much, and it truly opened my eyes that I need to spend more time involved in the community.

LEFSA is a place everyone should experience ...
Read more

Brittany Robert

Lucy - Food for the soul
In the beginning, being homeless was depressing. I was angry, ashamed, and upset for being in that predicament. I had no relationship with God. One day, I came in early from work and went to the Rec Room and walked in on a Life Sharing Community Gathering.

The gathering was on love, and it got me thinking about God’s love for me. I decided I would let these gatherings be my connection back to God ...
Read more

Lucy, LEFSA Housing Advocate

Iris - Living is giving
If you can envision two white nuns, neatly dressed with religious pins on the fronts of their blouses, wearing sneakers, and pulling shopping carts through the streets of Harlem, those were Sr. Dorothy Gallant and Sr. Teresa Skehan. They began to give of their time, and were devoted for over fifty years in doing the Lord’s work. It was at “Harlem Two” ...
Read more

Iris Sankey-Lewis

Mario - Finding Faith Again
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Mario and I’m a 54 year old Dominican raised in West Harlem. I met LEFSA while living in the Boulevard Men’s Shelter on Lexington Avenue. Let me say it’s a very dark place, where you’re living in constant fear that you might be the next victim. As for myself, I thought I was caught up in a nightmare ...
Read more

Mario Pimentel

Janet - Support, encouragement and care
Several years ago, I arrived at Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates, homeless and pregnant. Sr. Dorothy befriended me during that time when my life seemed to be falling apart. She encouraged me to get medical care and pregnancy counseling.

I began participating in the Life and Faith Sharing Community gatherings in the shelter and met other women who were struggling...
Read more


Amoy Chung - Encouraging and uplifting each other
I honestly feel selfish for enjoying LEFSA the way I have. It was a very humbling experience that I will definitely cherish. At LEFSA, I feel at home. I always feel a sense of calm and serenity once the meetings start. I absolutely love how every attendee and visitor becomes a member of the ever loving and growing family known as LEFSA.

As a nursing student, especially in the accelerated program ...
Read more

Amoy Chung

Donna - Drawn to the positivity
I’d been at Franklin Women’s Shelter and was feeling depressed and down. I was sitting in the corner and didn’t have a sense of direction or know which way to go. I had been working in home care, and my last client was a live-in situation, but after that client passed I couldn’t stay there and had to stay in a shelter. I didn’t know what to expect. All that I knew was...
Read more


James B - It's a blessing
It’s been our blessing to provide this service. So many people have said to us, ‘we thought you were not coming out today, but it’s a blessing you are here for us.’ And we are there, every Monday, whether it’s cold or warm outside"...
Read more

James Butler