James, LEFSA Team Member

Feeling alive again

It was 2011 when I first entered LEFSA’s Men’s Spiritual Development Group. I happened to hear some men talking about it at St. Bart’s Soup Kitchen and decided to join them the following day. I did not know what to expect, but they told me that I could get a good meal and a metro card to travel around the city. I was living on the streets of midtown Manhattan and was mentally and spiritually wounded.

The next day, I went to the Leadership Study Day meeting and was not sure what to make of this group of people. After a few more meetings and as the months moved by, I discovered a very unique group of individuals who opened their arms to everyone who were willing to just stay around and be nourished with unconditional love.

LEFSA helped me to feel alive again and gave me hope.

I used this opportunity to let the team as well as the LEFSA community help me to achieve goals in life, set up a positive support system such as the team enrichment group, Men’s retreat, Leadership Study Day, Catholic Charities EOP (Educational Outreach Program), spiritual insight and all the unconditional love that I could handle in a group setting.

Today as team members, I am finally doing something that makes sense in my life for the community. It is a feeling that I cannot describe or explain. This is the good stuff that I always needed in my life and you can have the same opportunity to experience it also. See you soon!!!!

Related Stories

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

James, LEFSA Team Member

It was 2011 when I first entered LEFSA’s Men’s Spiritual Development Group. I happened to hear some men talking about it at St. Bart’s Soup Kitchen and decided to join them the following day. I did not know what to expect, but they told me that I could get a good meal and a metro card to travel around the city. I was living on the streets ...

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James, LEFSA Team Member

Johnnie - A beautiful and warm feeling
I was in a shelter at Ward Island and one week I was told about a gathering, where they give us food and talk to us. At the time, my mom had cervical cancer. She was my partner and confidant. When I met James, he touched me, because before saying hi to him I said, “my mom is dying.” The way he grabbed me, it was a beautiful and warm feeling. I started coming to groups ...
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Johnnie

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! ...

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Jorjina

James A - Getting life back
LEFSA gave me my life back. It didn’t just give me my life back, it gave me my family’s life back too. Because when I got better, my family got better also. And not only did my family get better, but my community got a little better.

I dedicate my life to helping others who are caught up in this vicious cycle of poverty and of drug addiction and abuse ...
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James, LEFSA Operations Manager

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 ...
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Brittany Robert

Debbie - We are always here
I met LEFSA in 2004. I’d been staying at New Providence Women’s Shelter and was on my way to sign out, and I heard gospel songs, like my mom used to sing. Sr. Dorothy walked up to me and invited me in. The gathering gave me peace. I was hooked after that—she would invite me to the Women’s Group and Leadership Study Day. I completed EOP in 2005 ...
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Debbie Canty

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 ...
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Lucy, LEFSA Housing Advocate

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...
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Janet

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...

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Lisa

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 ...
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Mario Pimentel

Grace - God had something for me
The retreat was beautiful and overwhelming. The people that I met, the staff, the team, the ladies and the men and Martindale—everyone touched my heart deeply. I was invited by Georgia and Pamela, and Sr. Mary. You know you’re not going to come back the same, and I feel spiritually changed. I went up there because I knew God had something for me. When I reflected, I saw myself in everyone. God placed in my heart ...
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Grace

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...
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Donna