A Mission to Heal the Missionaries

”Our lives at St. Anthony Shelter can be a juggling act. Between the active apostolate of serving the homeless men and managing social and prayer times, our days as missionaries are busy. It is very easy to get bogged down with work or get stressed with all of the emotional and physical heaviness of the work. By the time Jackie came into our lives, we had spent part of the year surviving on later nights, early prayer mornings and the occasional pot of coffee. Of course, the grace one receives from the Lord is the ultimate remedy for any problem and Jackie’s own faith and vocation shined through as she taught us and discussed all the knowledge she has about health and wellness.

Through her own example, she helped us realize that for our current and future vocations one must take care of our bodies, minds and souls. You cannot separate these three areas because in unison they help the person become the man God has destined him to be. Where for most of us we might have been living (and eating) thinking only of what we needed or wanted presently, Jackie was able to show us that our bodies need fuel in order to thrive. Whether it was balancing stress and anxiety, or showing us that food should fuel us throughout the day, the knowledge that we received allows us to live a sustained healthy and balanced lifestyle even in the midst of a busy and stressful environment. Ultimately the greatest “work out” or “happy hour” is our time spent in prayer before the Lord and Jackie’s emphasis on this is the greatest tool or piece of advice she could give us.”

- Christian Kleb,

Missionary of the Renewal, St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal, Bronx, NY

As Franciscan Missionaries of the Renewal, we commit a year of our lives to serve completely at St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal in the Bronx, NY. We move into the shelter to live with the poor accompanied by a life of prayer and corporal works of mercy.

After completing my year of service at St. Anthony Shelter, I was invited for another year to serve as assistant director of the missionaries. My role was to be accountable to the rest of the missionaries living with us. Living at a homeless shelter sometimes can become a bit hectic, so it was very important for me to be available to provide a sense of brotherhood and stability to the missionaries.

When Jackie came to visit us, we learned a lot about her method on self-care that combines many aspects of our lives including physical, emotional and spiritual. Jackie helped us to understand how all of these aspects have an effect on each other and gave us concrete ways in which to take care of each of them.

Jackie understands that each person is unique and that there is not one method that will work for everyone. She took the time to meet with each one of us individually and identify were we needed to concentrate the most in order to improve our well-being. With her extensive knowledge and experience helping others she was able to tell each of us exactly what we needed to do in order to overcome whatever sort of difficulties we were dealing with. This included so much more than just nutrition. Her well-rounded approach was so different from anything I had experienced before.

She was also very encouraging and helpful as we began to implement the changes. She was very involved in making sure we had the support we needed to keep up with the changes and continue to grow towards a better lifestyle.

The most amazing thing was to see that as we started taking better care of ourselves, we were in a better state to be able to fulfill our mission of serving the men at the shelter. We were able to be more attentive to them and help them with their various needs. Not only did Jackie help each of us missionaries to live better, but through the changes she helped us to make, she had a positive effect on the quality of service we were providing, and indirectly helped all the men we serve as well.

- Davis Heidrich

Missionary of the Renewal, St. Anthony Shelter for Renewal, Bronx, NY