Written on: October 31, 2019
Sisters Julia Lanigan, Dawn Gear and I were privileged to represent the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart at Marguerite’s Place 25th Anniversary Gala in Nashua, New Hampshire on October 19, 2019. Marguerite’s Place honored their founders, our Sisters Mary Sharon Walsh and Elaine Fahey, at the Gala, and it was very moving to hear trustees, administrators, staff, former residents, and many other friends speak of Srs. Sharon and Elaine with such praise and so much affection.
At the Gala, Sisters Julia, Dawn and I, along with Montreal Grey Nuns, Srs. Jeanne Poor and Marcia Wiley, and friend Paula Anton (pictured at right) were inspired once again by the dedication and compassion of Srs. Sharon and Elaine. We laughed and cried on hearing the stories of their adventures and descriptions of their antics.
Photos from the 1994 to the present flashed across the screens recalling the hundreds of women and children who left homelessness behind and started new lives because of the support and love they encountered at Marguerite’s Place, and later at Marguerites Place Housing, (transitional housing and after-care services available to graduates of Marguerite’s Place.)
The Gala was awesome in so many ways. They raised lots of money for the non-profit, and had lots of fun doing so!
It was apparent that Marguerite’s Place has grown more and more effective over these twenty-five years.
When I received the plaque honoring Srs. Sharon and Elaine, I mentioned what Sister Mary Sharon had said when she and Sr. Elaine were leaving Nashua in 2007. She said she was, “confident that the work would continue far into the future because the right trustees, administrators and staff were well prepared to take over.” She was so right!
Srs. Sharon and Elaine – how we miss you, and how proud we are of all that you achieved on behalf of the very women and children to whom Marguerite would have reached out her hands.
Pray that we Grey Nuns will continue to listen to God’s call and reach out our hands in whatever ways we can to those who need us.
The Founding of Marguerite’s Place: a brief history
It was twenty-five years ago that the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart joined with Grey Nun congregations from Canada (Ottawa, Quebec, Montreal, and St. Hyacinth) to establish Marguerite’s Place, and cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony. From 1992-94 Srs. Mary Sharon Walsh and Elaine Fahey moved to Nashua and began the work necessary to make this ministry as successful as it became.
They worked at forming friendships and partnerships with politicians, business people, neighbors, social service agencies, educators, and dozens of people who eventually became staff and volunteers at this wonderful site, named and patterned after the spirituality of St. Marguerite.
Srs. Sharon and Elaine had previously worked at Project Rainbow/Drueding Center with the Sisters of the Redeemer, where they learned about the importance of holistic programs, and careful preparation of policies, guidelines, and structures to support women and children who had been homeless. This experience was fundamental to the current success of Marguerite’s Place.