For children who enter its walls, St. Charles Children’s Home works a special kind of miracle.
Founded as an orphanage nearly 100 years ago, it is now a home for children who have been scarred physically and mentally by abuse of all kinds. Today, St. Charles Children’s Home is staffed by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love. The Sisters teach these children to value themselves and to work to become whole people.
Over the last year, Direct Capital has made it a priority to support St. Charles by donating a portion of each finance transaction to St. Charles or other charities. Direct Capital customers simply choose which charity they want us to donate to when they receive their finance documents. Since forging a partnership with St. Charles, we’ve raised over $10,000 for the children’s home.
“The Sisters and staff of the St. Charles Home perform a remarkable level of charity to these forgotten and abused children,” said James Broom, CEO of Direct Capital. “What the Sisters accomplish in caring for these kids is extraordinary. It is an honor to provide them with some financial support.”
So who are the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love? After hearing from them recently, I’m able to tell you. They are seven dedicated nuns in their trademark light blue and white habits, currently serving 11 children at the St. Charles home. They are affectionately known as the “Running Nuns” because they help their children manage their anger through the discipline of running – four miles a day.
Their approach is one that requires nearly limitless patience and a firm yet gentle hand. Mother Marie Paul, who has been at St. Charles since 1973, gave us three examples when she spoke, each more compelling than the last.
There was the four-year-old boy who would undress himself and smear his “mess” everywhere. The sisters helped him pick up his clothes, and when he began to act out by making even more of a mess, they helped him to do his laundry.
Then there was the nearly 300-pound, 11-year-old girl caked with filth when she arrived at the home, who took baths three times a day for a week until she was clean again. That girl went from refusing to walk a short distance to being one of the most cooperative girls at the home, Mother Marie Paul said.
A reward, according to Mother Marie Paul, is the visits from those former children who come back to the home with families of their own to speak about their experiences and share their love for the Sisters who helped them through their rocky childhoods. In the latter example above, the girl the Sisters helped, lost 98 pounds during her two years at St. Charles, is now attending college and recently ran in the annual 5k St Charles Home Road Race the home sponsors each year.
“It’s great being there to see those kids coming back and wanting to help out,” she said.
The Sisters also have a service where they work with children that have severe behavior issues while at school. They work with these kids during the school day to help them cope and behave in an acceptable way. The school is very pleased with this help as teachers find it difficult to teach with these kids acting up in the classroom. In addition, they bring in foster families and families alike to teach responsible parenting.
Their work is around the clock, all year, every year.
To learn more about St. Charles Children’s Home, visit their website.
Photo credit to iStock