Restoring Dignity through Beauty

Restoring Dignity through Beauty

  Sheila McCarthy
  Our Lady of the Road Laundromat-Cafe
  South Bend, IN

What was the purpose of your project?

The purpose of this project was to meet the need for human dignity through cultivating the practices of hospitality and honoring the body at Our Lady of the Road Laundromat- Caf?, while facilitating greater interaction and cooperation between those with and without stable housing in South Bend.
What did you do?

There were six spokes of this project, equally on honoring the body and hospitality. We created beauty through interior renovation, peace through landscaping, restoration of dignity in expanding our recycling business, exercise in a basketball court, spiritual nourishment in monthly worship services, and rest through creating an emergency shelter.
What difference did your project make for participants?

This project allowed us to move our Roadhouse Caf? out of its initial stages of setting up, and into a stage of transformation and letting ourselves dream of what this place may become. Further interior renovation has been suggested by some of our guests, often by ones with skills in those areas that we look forward to working with in the future.
What did you discover or learn that most surprised you?

It has been surprising to see younger and younger people come into our Laundromat-caf? to do their laundry and get something to eat over the course of this project. South Bend schools have nearly 400 students drop out every year. In our town of 100,000 residents, this is alarmingly high. Only 60% of students will graduate high school.
What did you learn that you would like to share with others?

Something that we try to impart on all who come to Our Lady of the Road is that God has created us for himself, but we are unable to go to God without one another. We find our destiny in friendship with God and with one another as members of his body.

© 2006-2011 The Valparaiso Project on the Education and Formation of People in Faith