August 11, 2023 | By Marlene A. Zloza, Northwest Indiana Catholic
Sojourner Truth House gives hope to the less fortunate
Grace Opinker | The Times of Northwest Indiana
Last November, a young man wearing a sweatshirt and sandals walked up to the clothing bins outside the Sojourner Truth House in Gary.
The man grabbed a coat that came halfway up his arms. Although he was very grateful to have the ill-fitting coat, volunteer Dennis Kenning knew they could find him something better in the pile of donated winter jackets.
Dennis and his wife, Sharon Kenning, asked what else they could help with. The man, who wore a size 13, needed an appropriate pair of shoes for the freezing temperatures. By coincidence, Dennis looked down and noticed a gently used pair of Nikes in a size 13, something STH rarely receives.
“It gave us chills,” Sharon said. “It got down to 19 degrees that night. If this young man was sleeping on the streets that winter coat and those shoes could have made a huge difference for him.”
STH, a nonprofit organization, primarily serves as a food pantry to Gary residents. It also provides women and children living in local shelters with a day center program to attend throughout the week.
STH opened its doors in 1997 at 410 W. 13th Ave., after Sister Joan Fisher saw a need for an organization like this in Gary.
At the food pantry, clients are eligible to receive a food basket containing grains, protein, dairy, and fruits or vegetables once every 30 days. Food baskets are designed to last clients for a few days. They are also eligible to receive personal hygiene items once every 90 days.
The food pantry is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9-11 a.m. and 1-2 p.m. STH receives food from the government, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and donations.
“We recognize the strong need for help here in Gary. We see the disparity,” said Sharon, a Valparaiso resident. “We’ve had people turn down milk because they don’t have a refrigerator to put it in.”
STH’s food pantry can serve 270 clients per week, though nutritious foods aren’t always available. Recently, STH started the “Five loaves and two fish initiative,” which asks for churches, organizations or businesses to commit to participate in one food drive a year to help support the food pantry.
STH is also looking for volunteers to assist with its garden, the food pantry, and clothing closest that’s available to women and children.
“As the need in the community grows, we need more assistance to make it easier,” Volunteer Coordinator Airiel Crenshaw said. “The more the merrier.”
Women who attend the day center program have the opportunity to attend classes designed to identify the root causes of financial and emotional instability, and how to overcome those barriers. On-site case management services assist women with finding employment and housing, Executive Director Angela Paul said.
The center serves nearly 20 women and their children each day. Women who’ve walked through STH’s doors have lived in hotels, on the streets and inside rented storage units, said Pam Key, director of client services.
“We’re desperately in need of affordable housing in Gary,” she said. “Some of the reasons women are becoming homeless is because they can’t afford the housing. There’s a need for awareness to our problem of homelessness in Lake County and the state.”
The day center is available to residents across Northwest Indiana and beyond. Women who attend the program receive breakfast and lunch, and have the option to pick out gently used or new clothes from the clothing closet if necessary.
STH accepts donations of gently used clothing items, accessories and small appliances. Crenshaw said STH also tries to provide women with a variety of home furnishings and cleaning supplies once they move out on their own.
“It’s a very worthwhile mission to help these women get back their independence, and back on their feet,” Sharon said. “We have a passion for it because we see the need.”
Organ Recital Featuring Nicole Keller
A Harmonious Evening at Ancilla Domini Chapel
Experience the Magic of Organ Music with Renowned Artist Nicole Keller
Date: September 10, 2023
Time: 4:00 pm (EDT)
Location: Ancilla Domini Chapel
Admission: Absolutely FREE! Just come early to grab a good seat.
About the Recital:
Dive into an unforgettable evening of music. This isn’t just any organ recital; it’s a chance to hear world-renowned artist Nicole Keller, known for her unique blend of traditional and contemporary pieces, play in the stunning setting of Ancilla Domini Chapel.
Why You Should Attend:
- Unique Experience: This event won’t be streamed online, making it a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Meet the Artist: After the show, enjoy some snacks and a chance to chat with Nicole.
- For Everyone: Whether you’re a long-time music lover or new to organ recitals, this evening promises to be enjoyable for all.
Join Us for Taizé Prayer Service in Plymouth, IN :: A Moment of Peace and Contemplation
Welcome to the spiritual oasis provided by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. Experience a calming and transformative Taizé prayer service, open to the public and available online through live streaming.
What Is Taizé Prayer?
Taizé prayer service is a meditative form of worship that transcends traditional boundaries. Focusing on repetitive singing, praying of psalms, and scripture reading, it’s a way to reconnect with your spiritual self. Join us for this peaceful time of contemplation and reflection, regardless of your faith background.
When and Where?
Location: Ancilla Chapel, 9601 Union Road, Plymouth, IN 46563
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
When: 1st & 3rd Wednesday of every month
Online Access to Taizé Prayer Service
Can’t make it in person? You can still be a part of our contemplative worship through our live stream, accessible wherever you are. Our virtual Taizé prayer services are designed to bring the serenity of Ancilla Chapel straight to your home.
Why Attend a Taizé Prayer Service?
- Embrace Unity: Taizé prayer is a universal form of prayer that fosters unity and reconciliation.
- Experience Peace: Find tranquility in our chaotic world through the calming melodies and reflective readings.
- Nourish the Soul: Connect with your spiritual core in a community that welcomes all.
Join the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ for an enriching Taizé prayer service experience in Plymouth, IN. All are welcome, and we look forward to praying with you.
Concert at the Center: A Free Family-Friendly Event in Plymouth, IN
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2023
Time: 6:00 pm (EDT)
Location: 9601 Union Rd. Plymouth, IN 46563
Make the most of the final summer days with a joyous evening at The Center at Donaldson! On Saturday, September 30th, at 6 pm EDT, we’re hosting a FREE concert perfect for the entire family. The Acousticats will be gracing the stage, serenading us with beloved tunes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Hosted on our beautiful front lawn, this event promises to be a spectacular end to summer. Bring a blanket or chair, get comfortable, and let the music carry you away! To keep your stomachs as satisfied as your ears, we’ve invited a local food truck to serve up some delicious bites.
Whether you’re a music enthusiast, food lover, or simply enjoy a relaxing evening outdoors, this concert is for you. Mark your calendar, bring your loved ones, and join us for a night of community, music, and starlit skies.
Live Music by The Acousticats: Travel back in time and groove to the hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Food Truck: Satisfy your taste buds with delicious offerings from our featured local food truck.
Family Fun: A perfect outing for families, with activities and entertainment for all age groups.
Free Entry: No tickets, no fees! Just come along with your family and friends and have a great time.
Gallery from Previous Events:
Q: Is there parking available at the venue?
A: Yes, ample parking is available for attendees near the event location.
Q: Are there any transportation options available at the venue for attendees?
A: Yes, a golf cart ride will be available upon request, exclusively for those with handicaps.
Q: Are there any COVID-19 precautions in place?
A: We prioritize the safety of our attendees. All necessary precautions as per local health guidelines will be in place.
Q: Can we bring our own food?
A: While you’re free to bring your own snacks, we encourage you to try the delicious offerings from our local food trucks.
Share the Event:
Help us spread the word! Share this event with your friends, family, and community.
Providing Gift of Music and Serenity to Community
By Autumn Meyers | NWI.LIfe
The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ recently added a stunning new organ to its Ancilla Domini Chapel. On Sunday, April 30, the Poor Handmaids held its very first organ recital to celebrate this wonderful addition. People from all over the community gathered for a one-of-a-kind organ concert and were left absolutely speechless.
The new organ was handcrafted by Taylor and Boody Organ builders in Virginia and completed on March 3. A blessing service for the new instrument was held on March 25, but a recital was the perfect choice to showcase the organ to the public.
The recital featured none other than Balint Karosi, a concert organist who specializes in playing these types of organs and has performed throughout the United States and Europe. Karosi is well-known for his ability to interpret music and bring it to life in the most unique, touching way. The Poor Handmaids’ Director of Liturgy and Music, Andrew Jennings, knew he had to get Karosi to play the first recital.
“When playing this type of instrument, making good music is about so much more than just being accurate and hitting the right notes. This organ is unique because, unlike other organs, the wind is unstable and noncontinuous. It pumps and breathes as you play it, so you have to know how to listen to the organ and feel how it’s breathing, and Balint is just incredible at it. The music just pours from him,” said Jennings.
Karosi was honored to play such a breathtaking instrument and demonstrate its beauty to the community for the first time.
“It’s craftsmanship respects centuries of traditions for organ building. This organ is going to last hundreds of years because it’s made with traditional materials. It’s a high-quality, handcrafted organ, which cannot be said about a lot of organs in the United States. This is an instrument that Johann Sebastian Bach himself could have sat down at and would have felt immediately at home,” said Karosi.
Karosi played mostly classical German music in honor of the Poor Handmaids and their German origins, but he played a few modern pieces as well. Everyone loved it. As people swayed and bowed their heads, soaking in the music, it became clear that the new organ is more than just an instrument. It’s a powerful, spiritual tool.
“Spiritual well-being is a big part of the Poor Handmaids’ mission, and regardless of a person’s faith or background, there’s sort of a transcendental moment that a person can have in a space like this. As you listen to the music it turns into a very sensory experience and allows you to feel outside of yourself and feel that bigger thing, whatever that may be. We always want to make this space free to the public so they can experience it,” said Jennings.
What also makes this organ so special is that it is literally a part of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ campus. All of the carvings on the organ were made from the wood of a Linden tree that stood in the heart of the campus. The tree had to be cut down for safety issues, and the Sisters thought it would be a wonderful way to keep its memory alive.
“That tree was planted here and grew here, and it’s going to remain here forever. From a spiritual perspective, it gives you that sense that all creation says glory to God,” said Jennings.
It’s ultimately incredible that such a breathtaking instrument resides right here in Northwest Indiana. Most organs this beautiful are commonly found in Europe and have been there for hundreds of years. The fact that the Poor Handmaids now have one should not be overlooked.
“If you want to spare yourself a trip to Europe to hear a European organ, all you have to do is come here. You will hear the same sounds that you would hear on an organ in Europe that is hundreds of years old. It’s wonderful to bring those sounds right here to the middle of Indiana,” said Karosi.
The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ are proud of their new instrument and can’t wait for the community to experience if for themselves.
“This is a gift to the community. Our campus is a place of spiritual nourishment, and we want people to come out and experience this new instrument, even if it’s not for recitals. I’m hoping to encourage more people to come to play the instrument just for their own gratification. If students in the area want to come and practice or get lessons, I want to encourage them to do so,” said Jennings.
Spring 2023 Word Gathering Now Online!
Welcome to Word Gathering Online! You’ll find additional content not found anywhere else and an inside look into Poor Handmaid ministries. You can also find the digital version of the Spring 2023 Word Gathering.