A Compassionate Witness
“It is a privilege to witness and share someone's deepest challenges and desires and to help them touch into their inner knowing, source of strength, life force - the holy, by whatever name they give it. I am immensely grateful to City House for the chance to bring ease, peace and even joy in the moment in the midst of hardship and uncertainty, to plant seeds, and to help lift up lives.” –Carol Marsyla
A Peaceful Presence
“Nancy” had been a resident at a homeless shelter in downtown St. Paul for two months. She explained the only reason she came to meet was that she did not want to be alone that morning. She described the tremendous anxiety that she felt since waking up that day—with a “pit “in her stomach and a sense of unease and shakiness. She went on to share some of the challenges she faced as a single mother of a young son who is having trouble in school.
As I listened, Nancy shared some of her fears and disappointments, as well as her belief in God—a God that often felt “far” from her. As our time together came to a close, Nancy expressed heartfelt thanks and reached over to take my hand. She expressed her appreciation for the brief sense of peace she encountered in the time we shared. I, too, was grateful for the time I had spent with her in the quiet presence of the Spirit.
–as told to a City House volunteer
A Wellness Partner
“Recovery and healing are very individualized and fluid concepts. We want to offer many opportunities and supports that support the whole person… we love that it is up to them to choose the elements that appeal to them! City House has been a wonderful partner and helps us serve the needs of the “whole person”. City House offers our members opportunities to talk about spiritual needs, questions and connections in a safe and non-judgmental space.”
–Sally Sales, Program Director of Mental Health services at Resource Inc., a partner Agency with City House.
Stories of Hope
The women I sit with at Tubman vary in age, ethnicity and background. Some are journeying alone and others have young children with them. Every story is unique, but each woman is homeless, has left an abusive situation and is working toward building a better life. The trauma they’ve endured and the enormity of the challenges they face cause me to me to marvel that they continue to put one foot in front of another, day after day after day. And despite the difficult circumstance they are in, I never see any blaming, complaining, hopelessness, or sense of victimhood. What I do see in these women I’ve had the honor and privilege to sit across a table from, is strength, hope, courage, resilience, determination, and often, a very strong faith. As our time together ends, some may offer a hug, or a “thank you” or an “I feel so much better,” as they leave. They have no idea of the gifts they’ve given me. I am left feeling profoundly humbled and grateful, with my own faith buoyed, and an imprint on my heart.
Engage your "spirituality" to be a part of the story!
What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is whatever gives your life meaning. It is the wisdom within you. It is not a religion or church or belief system. Some may find it through music, others in the joy they feel from art and poetry, others from yoga or meditation, being in nature, or connecting with a Higher Power/God. Spirituality has different forms, varieties, and flavors, individual to each person.
What is Spiritual Listening?
Spiritual listening is an opportunity to nurture your own spirituality. Volunteers listen in a compassionate, non-judgmental way with a focus on presence. It is not counseling or ‘fixing’. Spiritual listeners strive to help you see how you are connecting with your inner spiritual strength, wisdom and peace – however you may name that.
What issues are brought up during a listening session?
Everything from relationships to emotional and physical challenges you are struggling with – joys, frustrations…questions about the purpose and meaning of life…prayer, your faith journey, whatever is on your heart – things that open your heart up or things that close it down.