After a few years of planning and one year of construction, the Mother Teresa Home has officially opened on Buffalo's East Side. Hundreds gathered on Thursday afternoon for a dedication Mass at St. Adalbert's Basilica and then watched on a live video stream as Bishop Richard J. Malone blessed the tiny chapel in the Mother Teresa Home next door.
"We're trying to serve," said Bishop Richard J. Malone. "This is the Year of Mercy when Pope Francis has asked all of us to be much more alert to the call to be compassionate and to share God's own concern with people, and so this place is part of our pro-life commitment. If we encourage respect for human life for the unborn and all human life, we need to be able to put into place a ministry that will support women who are in stressful circumstances in that regard. It's a work of accompaniment and mercy and compassion."
The home, at 208 Stanislaus Street on Buffalo's East Side, is the former rectory of St. Adalbert's Church. Director of Pro-Life activities for the Diocese of Buffalo, Cheryl Calire and her husband, David, have spent the past year living there and transforming it into a place where young mothers and pregnant, homeless women will be able to stay for between six and 18 months. Each resident will have a private bedroom and can share a bathroom, kitchen, community living room and computer lab.
"September 15th we'll have our first houseguest," said Calire who, along with her husband, have committed to being the executive directors for the next five years. The funding will come through private donations including support from the Upon This Rock campaign.
It is the first maternity home in the United States that is under the umbrella of a diocese, according to Calire. "We're trying to do this without any state or federal funding because we're a Catholic agency and we're passionately Catholic and we're proud of it. We serve ecumenically to people of all faiths and people of no faith. In doing so we need funding from outside sources to keep this house up and running so that these women will have the opportunity to be able to bring life into the world, and at the same time get themselves on their feet."
The mission of the Mother Teresa Home is to give protection and assistance to young women who might not have any other support network to get them through the pregnancy and those challenging first months of raising a child. Each resident will be enrolled in a vocational school, GED program or college, or work during the day. Right next door to the Mother Teresa Home is the existing Response to Love Center, which can also help the young mothers obtain food, clothing, and career counseling.
Robert White, president of the board of directors for the Society of St. Gianna, led the congregation in the veneration of St. Gianna's relics. St. Gianna Molla is the patron of pro-life activities, and there are three pregnancy outreach centers bearing her name in the Diocese of Buffalo. One is located on Church Street, adjacent to St. Joseph Cathedral . The others operate in Niagara Falls and Dunkirk, providing clothing and resources to women in need.
More information about the Mother Teresa Home here: www.buffalodiocese.org/mother-teresa-home