Tuesday morning’s weather made me want to stay in bed and pull over the covers—it was raining and cold—a typical November morning. Nonetheless, my day needed to start, and so I made my way to St. Al’s. As I walked to our office, we had a guest who left her bed in front of our doorway—looked like she left in a hurry. She left her blankets and a bag of belongings. I say “she” because there were thin women’s stockings and paperclips on the bed that may have been used to hold back her hair. The word on the street, too, was that it was a woman who slept here, but no one knew her. She didn’t come back the rest of the day. Ron (name changed), who worships at St. Al’s, neatly folded up her belongings and put them aside behind one of the pillars.
The following morning when I arrived at St. Al’s, the bed was spread out and left just as it had been on Tuesday, only several feet away from St. Al’s front door. Our guest had left in the same manner and nowhere to be seen. Today her belongings would not be spared. The maintenance man from the former chancery building bundled the blankets together and put them out by the trash can.
We may never meet our guest—I wonder what her story is. Is she a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother? Is she struggling to pay bills on minimum wage earnings? Is she showing signs of health problems in mind, body, and spirit? Will we ever meet, and will Neighborhood Services have the opportunity to provide her with help to address the issues of homelessness?
Downtown and Midtown Detroit’s landscape is changing with all the renovations of buildings and razing of old houses and office buildings. But let there be no mistake, our homeless brothers and sisters are not gone. They may be pushed here and there, have no place not even a blanket to call their own, but they do have St. Aloysius Neighborhood Services to reach out to through our street ministries, whole health ministry, and a place to worship. Our brothers and sisters will always be with us.
Mother Theresa gives us a beautiful thought of action; she says, “Together let us do something beautiful for God.” It is our hope that we can continue together with you to serve our brothers and sisters in need in Detroit.