Life Lessons at the Center for Respite Care from Sister Thérèse DelGenio, SNDdeN

Sister Thérèse DelGenio, SNDdeN

For almost two years, I have had the privilege and joy to minister at the Center for Respite Care. This remarkable place accepts homeless people being discharged from the hospital but with no place to recuperate. Here is how a few of them came to our facility.

D., with a degree in horticulture, lost his business during Covid. He then worked as a tree trimmer. When he went to cash his first paycheck at a neighborhood grocery store, unbeknownst to him, thugs were carefully watching people entering and leaving. If people left carrying grocery bags, they were left alone. People like D, who left having nothing, were clear targets for being robbed after cashing paychecks. To prevent D. from chasing the culprits, they jumped on his ankle repeatedly, smashing it into smithereens. Because of a lengthy hospitalization after a complicated surgery, D. lost his apartment since the robbers had his rent payment. Luckily, he came and remained at the Center for many months until he could walk normally. With the help of a great social worker, D. moved into a new, affordable apartment and had a new job.

S. was the victim of a brutal gang attack on the streets of Cincinnati. At the hospital, his bloody clothes were removed and thrown away. After a lengthy hospitalization following surgery, he arrived at the Center wearing only a hospital gown and slipper socks from the hospital. The Uber driver dropped him off at the door, leaving him to make an entrance feeling mortally embarrassed. Understandably, he was ashamed and angry with life in general. Fortunately, within three days, the kindness and welcome from the staff and residents turned S. around and gave him hope.

C. was hospitalized with out-of-control diabetes. Eventually, she had four toes on her left foot amputated despite doctors’ heroic efforts to save them. C. looked forward to returning to her apartment which she shared with her best friend and her daughter. As a single mom, the overwhelmed best friend assumed she would also have to care for C and panicked. She told C. that she was not welcome to return. Fortunately, the Center was a great choice where C. eventually learned how to walk normally again and move into a handicapped apartment.