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A Detour of Grace

July 26, 2013


This morning, we attended daily Mass at Mary, Queen of the Angels in South Carolina.  Afterwards, father invited us to visit Clean Start, a local ministry for the homeless.  Little did we know just how much of a blessing that this little detour (to our plans) would be.

We all piled into our RV and our support vehicle and caravanned to a brick building, designated by a big cross and a “Clean Start” sign.  As we walked through the doors, we were welcomed by about half a dozen washers, dryers, and side rooms with showers and bathrooms, as well as curious faces, unsure what to make of eleven youth with neon pro-life shirts. 

A very kind lady ushered us to the storage room in the back.  She explained that the ministry was run solely by volunteers and that everything was provided through donations.  She said that she made 60 cups of coffee every day that Clean Start was open and spoke of how they desired to uphold the dignity and sanctity of every man and woman that walked through the doors. 

She shared that Clean Start provides family and community to anyone in the area.  She told us a story about a man who was on his way to prison.  He asked the police if he could stop by Clean Start to let the volunteers know where he would be, because they were the only people who cared about him and that they would be worried about him.  (The police respected his request and they stopped there on the way to prison). 

After our tour, we made our way back into the main room and began introducing ourselves to men and women who were there.  They shared their stories, dreams, and even their artwork.  It was amazing, inspiring, and uplifting to share in their joys and sorrows.  Before we left, we rummaged through our RV and found extra clothes and items that we will not be able to use and shared them with Clean Start. 

Without a doubt, this trip to Clean Start somewhat butchered our plans for this morning.  Breakfast and Morning Prayer were pushed back substantially, and morning shift started hours late.  However, this little detour of grace provided us with a true reminder of the beauty of the body of Christ in action, and we left renewed and inspired.

-Jessie Graehler, Southern Walk 2013

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