[Sr. Grace Miriam Pleiman, SFP,  is the Director of  Tamar’s Place in Cincinnati, Ohio and the former Director of Inniss Franciscan House in Brooklyn, New York.]

I included a copy of the recent Catholic Telegraph newspaper article about Tamar’s Place Christmas correspondence, and was particularly touched by several donations I received in return. Tamar’s Place brings comfort, services and help to some of Cincinnati's most marginalized women. This haven offers coffee, snacks, a safe place to rest, and referrals to other agencies -- if the woman wants it.
Perhaps the largest donation was from a previous Board Member of Inniss Franciscan House. [IFH was a transitional residence for homeless men that were recovering from addictions.  This residence helped many men get off the streets, become free of substance abuse and return to society.]     

However, the most touching donation was sent by a past resident whose name is Conrad. While at Inniss House, Conrad went to school in Greenwich Village to obtain a music recording certificate. However, Conrad relapsed twice and so he was referred to the Veterans drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Brooklyn. There, taking his disease seriously and with the prescribed medication for his depression, he got his life back on track. Then Conrad met his future wife, Olio, while working in a telemarketing company.

Olio, a Romanian woman, was living in a large home that she inherited from her parents. She was tired of renting out rooms to people, so Conrad helped her transition her tenants, and clean and sell the house in Manhattan. Then he moved with her to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I stopped to visit them several times over the years. In Pennsylvania, he worked at Goodwill, in the donation section, until his knees gave out due to old war injuries. Eventually he was granted full disability and so he was able to find the time to build a music studio in their garage. He is happy in pursuit of his media work, his recovery and his marriage…but there is more! 

In addition to his $50 donation, Conrad’s Christmas letter this year included photos of their son, now 5 years old -- and his grown daughter who lives in Germany where he served in the military. He had been out of contact with her for all these years, yet he, miraculously, was able to find her through the internet! Then she surprised him with a Christmas visit!  Sister Grace Miriam Pleiman, SFP