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A Minute With Sister Mary: Summer Fun and Special Moments at St. Ann's Center

August 3, 2022
Photo of a sunflower, backlit by a summer sunset

August 2022: Summer Fun and
Special Moments at St. Ann's Center

This blog is part of a monthly reflection series from St. Ann's Center CEO,
Sister Mary Bader. Find more of these reflections by visiting the archive: 
A Minute With Sister Mary.

Photo of Sister Mary Bader, CEO.Greetings from St. Ann’s Center! You may know that we celebrated 
St. Ann’s Day on July 26 – our annual summer celebration with resident families, children in our Child Care Center, and St. Ann’s staff. This event – hosted here at St. Ann’s – includes fun activities and games, food and drink, and of course, ice cream.

The day also offered two particularly special moments which have stayed with me over the last week.

The first came during the day’s Pony Ride, which we were able to host again after a three year break. Skilled trainers from Piscataway Riding Stables accompanied ponies Bishop and Peanut to provide rides for all attendees – including moms and children living in St. Ann’s supportive housing programs, as well as children from the community enrolled in our Child Care Center.

It was great fun to watch each child bravely approach their chosen steed, hop into the saddle, and set off on their miniature riding adventure (accompanied by a trainer, of course). It was even more special to witness the young mothers in our Grace House and Hope House programs who accompanied their little ones for rides on Bishop – who was much taller than Peanut! What a privilege to see mom and child try something new and extraordinary, together – and to see the resulting smiles on their faces. 

The second moment that has stayed with me came during the day’s Staff Luncheon, when one of the young mothers in our Hope House program shared with staff that she had interviewed for and landed a new job after successfully completing a local tech-focused career training program. 

This mom, who had previously secured employment in our Child Care Center, is now on to bigger and better things – and we couldn’t be happier for her. Additionally, she emphasized that she will advocate for and share this same training program with other women at St. Ann’s. As so often happens, we are reminded that peer relationships and supports are so critical to moms’ successes during their time at St. Ann’s and beyond.

We loved celebrating St. Ann’s Day with our families! And although we must wait until 2023 to see Bishop and Peanut again, the truth is that our amazing resident families, our compassionate staff, and our generous supporters make every day worth celebrating at St. Ann’s Center. 

Please accept my sincere thanks for your part in making our work and these stories possible.


Sister Mary Bader, CEO

Illustration of mother and child walking in sunlightBring Some Summer Sunshine to
St. Ann's Newest Families!

Thank you for considering a gift to support the several families who have arrived at St. Ann's Center in recent weeks. Your gift will help provide for these families' immediate needs and help them grow comfortable as they begin our trauma-informed, strengths-based, and supportive transitional housing programs.

Donate here

About St. Ann's Center

Photo of St. Ann's Center's logo, blue on white background.Mission Statement: St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth and Families strengthens and supports families on their journey toward stability. Inspired by Catholic social teaching and Gospel values, St. Ann's Center provides a nurturing community where families heal from the past, overcome barriers, and take hold of their future.

St. Ann's Center is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to lifting vulnerable children, mothers and families out of poverty and homelessness. Our innovative housing and support programs build upon a family's inherent strengths by providing the tools for life-long independence and self-sufficiency.
St. Ann's serves families of all backgrounds and faith identities.