On December 6 at Queen of Angels Monastery in Mt. Angel, the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel and Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette Valley and Central Coast (CCS) celebrated their partnership in sustaining St. Joseph Shelter, Mission Benedict and Casa Adele. The celebration included a tour of the Shelter, a transfer ceremony held during afternoon Vespers in the Monastery Chapel, and a reception and dinner in the Sisters’ dining hall.
Previously administered under a management agreement between the two organizations, these ministries now operate as programs of CCS sustained in partnership with the Sisters.
In the presence of community partners and long-time supporters, the Benedictine Sisters shared the mission of St. Joseph Shelter. Then, Pastoral Administrator Sr. Jane Hibbard, SNJM, St. Mary Parish Pastor Fr. Philip Waibel, OSB, and Mt. Angel Abbey Prior Vincent Trujillo, OSB, passed a mission candle to CCS and CCS Foundation Board Members Scott Wiegal, Maria Palacio and Lynda Harrington.
“We consider it a solemn responsibility, an honor and a joy to serve this community with you, with your blessing, guidance and prayers that have sustained these ministries for nearly 30 years,” said Lynda Harrington, president of the CCS Foundation Board.
The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel established St. Joseph Shelter in 1988. The Shelter is a ministry of hospitality in response to the Gospel message of caring for those in need and honoring St. Benedict’s instruction to welcome all as Christ. The Shelter and its companion programs, Mission Benedict and Casa Adele witness to the dignity of each person by providing meals, housing, clothing, advocacy, referrals, emergency assistance and a supportive community.
Following 30 years of loving care and service to homeless families and individuals in the Mt. Angel community, the Benedictine Sisters realized they could no longer sustain this vital ministry on their own. After exhaustive financial exploration, community research, and a year of management partnership, the Sisters asked Catholic Community Services to assume responsibility for the Shelter beginning in July 2017.
“Our deepest desire is for the ministry to continue,” said Sr. Jane Hibbard, pastoral administrator of Queen of Angels Monastery. “There is no better partner than CCS. Their mission flows out of our Benedictine ideals…..to welcome all! We will continue to be present with our founding commitment.”
St. Joseph Shelter is the only shelter serving homeless families in the Mid-Willamette Valley outside of Salem. The demand for housing at the Shelter continues to increase due to insufficient inventory of affordable housing, the escalating home rental market, barriers to employment for families in crisis, and the increasing cost of living in the Pacific Northwest.
“CCS operates with fidelity to the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching, which call us to serve our neighbors who are the poorest and most vulnerable,” said Executive Director Jim Seymour.
“We are honored to sustain this ministry in partnership with the Benedictine Sisters,” he said. “With their continued stewardship, and with the help of community members who share their compassion for families facing adversity, we can walk alongside these families on a path toward hope and ultimately, self-sufficiency.”
Pictured left, Pastoral Administrator Sr. Jane Hibbard passes a mission candle to CCS and CCSF board leaders Lynda Harrington, Scott Wiegal and Maria Palacio.