Charleston bishop blesses new crisis maternity home

Charleston bishop blesses new crisis maternity home

St. Clare’s Home in Greenville County, South Carolina / Susan B. Anthony List

Washington D.C., Aug 12, 2021 / 10:01 am (CNA).

The bishop of Charleston on Wednesday blessed a new home for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy in South Carolina.

St. Clare’s Home, located in Greenville County, South Carolina, opened on Aug. 11, the feast of St. Clare, with a blessing from Bishop Robert Guglielmone and remarks from pro-life leaders.

The home will have the capacity to house up to eight women and their young children under the age of five. The house is run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, and women will be permitted to stay for up to two years after they give birth to their child.

“This has been a work in progress for many, many years, and I just thank God that we’re able to see this day,” said Bishop Guglielmone on Wednesday. “So, it is indeed a pleasure for me to be here.” 

St. Clare, Guglielmone said, was someone who “refused to give up,” making her an appropriate patroness of a home that many feared would never become reality. 

“Of course, St. Clare is also known as a woman of strong faith, who never gave up, and who put all her trust in the Lord that, somehow or another, in the most difficult of circumstances, the Lord will provide,” he said. “The Lord has done that.” 

While in the home, women will be able to pursue their GED diploma or certificate, or take college courses, and will live in community with the other women. They will receive counseling, be given training on parenting and other life skills, have visits with the doctor, and will “receive lots and lots of love.” 

“At the conclusion of your stay at St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope, you will be equipped with the skills needed to care for yourself and for your children,” the home’s website states. “The home will help you bond with your baby while also offering an educational program and support system that will empower you in the journey to independent living.”

The house is staffed by two religious from the Sisters of St. Michael the Archangel. While Mass will be offered at the home, women of any or no faith background will be welcome at St. Clare’s Home, and residents of the home will not be expected to become Catholic during the course of their stay at St. Clare’s. 

“The love that is at the heart of what you do is a beacon to the rest of the world,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, at Wednesday’s dedication.

She said the home’s mission is part of “[s]howing what we can do, and what will be done, when those precious unborn children are protected by the law and allowed to live out the lives that God sent them to live, when their mothers are loved in the way that they deserve.”

The bishop joked that he was glad to be present at the dedication before “the Holy Father kicked me out,” as he had filed his resignation with the pope last December as required on his 75th birthday.

The process of building the home took more than a decade, said Fr. Jay Scott Newman, dean of the Greenville Deanery. After experiencing “failure after failure after failure after failure after failure” during the planning process, he said that he was “convinced this day would never come.” 

When approached most recently about the potential construction of the home, Newman said he spent nearly an hour trying to convince the diocese that it simply would not work. 

“And I was wrong. God be praised, I was wrong,” said Newman. 

“Thus we see confirmed today the way God’s grace brings life from death, and victory from defeat,” he said. “And so with great joy, we’re here to see this day at last.” 

At the dedication, Bishop Guglielmone prayed, “Gracious and loving God, be close to your servants who will be in this home, this dwelling place, of your presence O Lord, under the intercession, protection, and guidance of St. Clare.”

“We ask for your blessing. Be the shelter of those who will be at home here, be their companion when they’re away. Be their welcome guest every time they return. And at last, receive them at the dwelling place you have prepared for them, in your Father’s house, where you live forever and ever.”