(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Community members met Friday for the opening of the Sisters of Solace Shelter in St. Joseph.
The mayor along with many other community members gathered at this former nun’s home, located on S. 12th St., to celebrate its new role in the community. The building which used to be a convent in the St. Patrick's Parish will now serve as an emergency shelter for homeless women.
The shelter will house up to eight women at a time, members of the group said they are excited to be able to serve the community in this way.
"We’ve been founded for the sole purpose of providing hope and healing for women in crisis," Tracy Kerns, director of Sisters of Solace said.
Group leaders said the vision of a women's shelter stemmed from a chance encounter with a homeless woman, they said the experience inspired them to start Sisters of Solace and provide a place where those in need can not only receive shelter but also have access to resources to improve their lives.
"We did not want to replicate anything," Jas Nellestein, Board of Directors said. "We have so many wonderful services available for the women."
The group said they have received a lot of community support to get the shelter up and running, upon hearing their story, group leaders said they've been the recipient of many acts of kindness and generosity, they added that they are so grateful for the chance to make such an impact.
"We just feel like this is a God-sized assignment," Kerns said. "We just feel very humbled by the opportunity to do this."
In a proclamation ceremony, Mayor Bill McMurray declared Friday, June 21, 2019 as Sisters of Solace Day in St. Joseph.