Dear Friends of Philomena House

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Levi
Levi
Chantelle
Chantelle

Two more newborns are living in our home with their mothers. Both children are thriving and developing well, much to our delight. Levi is a strong, handsome boy, highly alert for his age. He’s able to look around and though he doesn’t yet hold up his head, he’s trying. Chantelle, a Valentine to her mother on February 14, is a healthy, good-natured baby. The first baby girl in our family, this cute newborn attracts a lot of attention from everyone in the house.

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Last year’s moms and babies have moved on into the community
Babies Nabeel and Kingston, born last summer, graduated Philomena House with their
moms at holiday time. You saw these two little boys’ photos in our December 2014
letter. Nabeel and his mom come back for visits.

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Needed: a late-model 8-seat Honda Odyssey Van
We are still shopping for a used Honda Odyssey, eight-seat utility van with the safety features that make it suitable for transporting moms and babies. Please look around. If you find one, we may want to see it. Call Joyce Nevins.

Encouraging words from the Carmelite nuns

We join you in giving thanks and praise to Our Lady and St. Philomena for the four babies and their mothers who have been blessed to find a warm and safe shelter in Philomena House. With so many negative things happening in our world, it is refreshing to know of the goodness of God manifested in the charity of others as they keep Philomena House open and prospering…”

The Carmelite Nuns, Lake Elmo

Come to our 2nd Annual One-Day Yard Sale on May 15
Find treasures on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Philomena House Yard Sale 386 Mississippi River Boulevard South in Saint Paul 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting Rain date: Saturday, May 16. We are looking for volunteers to assist with the set up and packing, and to help during the sale. We also need donations such as clothing, household goods, toys, etc. Last on our list are gifts of baked goods, water and soda for the bake sale. Contact Mary Henseler, 651-278-5251.

It’s tax-return time
Philomena House is a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization, so your contributions are taxdeductible.Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope for your donation, which continues your work and ours, making a first home for newborn babies and their mothers.

Joyce Nevins, Director

A Joyful Thanksgiving And Christmas From All Of Us At Philomena House.

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For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9: 5

Dear Friend of Philomena House:

We thank you at the start of this giving season for your generosity to Philomena House. Our first guest came to us in May 2014, followed soon after by three more moms—and two babies. Now our house is a home! You helped make it possible.

Gifts of every kind poured in, cash, handsome furniture, kitchen ware, hand appliances, linens, maternity clothes. Anything we mentioned, fell into our hands. And when you prayed, God answered. Now we have a corps of capable, problem-solving volunteers on the board and on committees. Some recruit and direct volunteers, some do training and ongoing mentoring of our moms and some stand in to give our housemother time off (especially needed on all Sundays). Both adults and teens come to expedite our outgoing mail and to help with housecleaning and gardening. We always need drivers during the week to take our guests to doctor/dentist appointments and other destinations in town. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact our chairman of volunteers, Katie Sampair (katiesampair@yahoo.com)

Our first guest said this about her life at Philomena House:

“This is a home where you can be comfortable. It feels like it’s home…
It is relaxing with some structure and an encouraging environment. People are here for you – you are not alone.”

Our guest moms are learning and growing toward self-reliance, so they can thrive in society when they leave us. Most of all, they are learning to be loving and peaceful persons.

  • Each guest mom has a personal mentor who walks with her through her stay, helping her set and reach her goals and following her progress toward self-reliance.
  • One guest is completing her high school diploma and attending classes. Another guest has lovely front teeth, thanks to the care of our volunteer dentist. And three received fresh haircuts from our volunteer stylist.
  • Every two weeks a coach comes to the Philomena House kitchen to teach cooking, a key skill in homemaking. This summer, our housemother and guests cooked a stir-fry chicken dinner with vegetables from our backyard garden.
  • Life coach, Kay, has tutored moms in managing the areas of life they face in single or family life. She has discussed with them the transition from homelessness to home with the support of others.
  • Financial planners, Sharon and Carol, introduce and teach money and asset management, a skill most young people do not possess and very much need.

More education and support…

  • This spring, Mary Bochek of the Minnesota Department of Health addressed the volunteers of Philomena House on their obligations and our expectations as related to our state grant. (We acquired this generous grant through the state’s Positive Alternatives Act Program (http://www.health.state.mn.us). Mary follows our progress closely and is always ready to advise, based on her long experience in social services to women and children.
  • Moms have the ongoing support of pre-and post-partum doulas. Our doulas, mostly nurses, instruct moms on physiological and psychological changes in the mother, on infant care and feeding as well as when to see or call a doctor. One of our doulas helped with the delivery and birth of Baby Boy Nabeel in June.
  • This summer, Becky, a young single mom at the time of her delivery, helped us paint a room. She also addressed our guests on the experience of pregnancy in high school. Becky proved that this act of love, bringing a baby into the world and living the life of a single mom, takes the support of others and emotional strength on the mom’s part. The attending volunteers had many questions.
  • Mary Ball, attorney and executive director of the Catholic Adoption Agency, spoke to our volunteers and guests on adoption options in the Saint Paul area. We want our moms to understand their options and the legal implications of each as they plan for the futures of their babies.
  • Margaret Ganjes, experienced director of “To Bear Witness,” and longtime mentor and friend to Philomena House founders, spoke to a large group of interested volunteers on mentoring. In asking Margaret to describe the job, we hoped to recruit women from the group. And we did!

Remember, our guests come to us with nothing!

One guest came with only the clothes she was wearing, not even respectable shoes. With your help, we gave her the clothing and shoes she needed. Some expenses are not covered through our grants. So we use the money you’ve donated to buy necessities such as eyeglasses, which as you know, are costly. Two of our guests now wear much needed glasses, which we purchased for her. With your money, we bought beds to ensure that our guests sleep comfortably through pregnancy and after.
We bought a computer-friendly desk for one of our guests who attends school to use in her room. That way she can work and study while watching her baby. She was thrilled.

Anyone with a family can imagine the abundance of baby articles we need that require constant replenishing and that cannot be pre-used. To name a few, diapers, diaper ointments, baby bottles and nipples. Thanks to you, we’re able to finance all this, and feel grateful for your providence and generosity. We still need a van for everyday transportation. Let us know if you have an idea about how we can acquire one.

A brief report on our two baby boys, Nabeel and Kingston
Nabeel, born in late June, is ready for solid food as of this writing. He’s a most engaging fellow. When his mother comes home from school, he lights up, waving arms and legs and bestowing hugs on her. When Sharon our housemother sings to him at bedtime, he hums along. He laughs, plays, coos and reaches for things. Those who care for him say he’s strong and good at sleeping.

Kingston, a month younger than Nabeel, is a robust baby with well-developed muscles and lungs. His mother is proud of him and his baby accomplishments. Like Nabeel, he laughs, plays and reaches. Both boys sit in their swing chairs, transfixed as they watch the educational video Baby Einstein, on the computer screen in the dining room.

 A word of gratitude at Christmastime
All of us who serve Philomena House thank you for everything you’ve given us from the day before we even had a place for our guests to live. The Christ Child lives! We pray that He blesses you for helping us bring Nabeel and Kingston into the safety of Philomena House. Please remember us in this season of giving with your end-of-year contributions and your anticipated tax refunds. And please pray for us as we continue to pray for you.

You are invited to Holy Mass on Saturday January 3

Come be with us on Saturday evening, January 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm for Holy Mass, which is being celebrated for your intentions and those of all the benefactors of Philomena House. A reception afterwards will follow in the church hall. Parking available in the church lot.

Church of the Holy Childhood
1435 Midway Parkway
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108

Geralyn Clasemann (651-646-0626) if you have questions.
We await the birth of two more cute babies in February!
Joyce Nevins (651) 488-9652
Co-director of Philomena House

P.S. Remember that Philomena House is a 501 (c) (3) corporation, making your contributions deductible and tax-free. Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope.

Wonderful News!

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Two newborn baby boys have come to Philomena House, much to the delight of their mothers and all our board and staff members. Our work has now begun.

Baby Kingston!
Baby Kingston!
Baby Nabeel!
Baby Nabeel!

Born on June 29, 2014, little dark-haired Nabeel came to us at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. He made his home here with his mother. Nabeel fixes his eyes on her face whenever she holds him, which is all the time. Our first baby!

Then on July 29, our second baby boy came, little Kingston, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces. He’s now here at Philomena House with his mother. Everyone wants to hold both guys.

We thank you for the support you gave that helped bring these little boys safely into our arms. Please continue.

Four Young Mothers Call Philomena House “Home”

Right now, we house four guest residents, our optimal capacity, and have begun our educational program, intended to get them ready for independent living. A host of volunteers have come to training sessions over the last two months to acquaint themselves with the operations of our home and our program, so they can help. We are amazed at the talent and the unselfishness of these wonderful people.

With a full house, we can always use more volunteer help. Katie Sampair, our volunteer coordinator (651-726-4134), says we need help cleaning, gardening, a little painting and donating meals for our residents. If you’d like to bring a meal, go to the Meal Train website link: https://www.mealtrain.com/?id=m21qlp7y74xt

Open House, May 25, 2014 – the Franciscans come “Home”

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More than one hundred people attended our afternoon Open House on Sunday, May 25, a feast of Saint Philomena. The lively crowd included local police and several clergy who came “to see,” and to enjoy cake and punch.

Fourteen Sisters of Saint Francis of Little Falls, Minnesota arrived. Their group had lived in the large Victorian home, until recently their convent. Then our benefactor bought it from them and renovated it for us. They were astonished at the renovation, especially the kitchen, and the beautiful donated furnishings. Geralyn, our founder and board chairman, gave them each a rose. Their photos appear in this letter.

Volunteers have also fully furnished Philomena House with donated, nearly new, clean and attractive upholstery, lamps, tables, chairs and pictures for the walls. All of it matches! Housemother Sharon King pulled it together, making the home look professionally done. She has also planted a garden now full of fresh vegetables and varieties of lettuce.

• Yard Sale in Saint Paul. Board member, Mary Henseler, held a “first class” yard sale in July. The sale netted $2,200.

• “All That Jazz” Dance Party was staged by St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, Hopkins, Minnesota. Friday, August 15, 2014. All proceeds went to Philomena House.

We want to buy or rent a van to serve all the local travel needs of Philomena House residents. To start funding that project, we have sent a proposal to “Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless” foundation.

If you would like to hold a fundraising event for us, let us know.

Three new Philomena House board members
We’ve elected three board members. All are already highly active in these very busy, early stages of Philomena House development.

Mary Hensel: Mary and her husband moved to Minnesota from Wisconsin in 2003. They have four children. Mary runs her own business making and selling religious jewelry. It was Mary who happened upon the St. Philomena relic and gave it to Bernie at a Deanery meeting. Mary has her degree in fine arts and possesses great organizational skills. She believes Philomena House gives women a real choice.

Karen McCann: “I am the mother of two wonderful girls, ages 10 and 13. My husband and I just celebrated 22 years of marriage. I speak Spanish, love babies and interacting with youth. I desire to encourage these young women of Philomena House to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful gift of life that God has given them. I wish to help in whatever way I can to assist these women in gaining the confidence and skills they need to make happy lives for themselves and their babies.”

Katie Sampair: “I am a mother of five children, ages 6, 5, 3 and 11-month old twin boys. I have been married eight years. I am a registered nurse, employed on a casual basis with HealthEast Home Care. When I heard about Philomena House, I knew I had to become involved. I am amazed each day by God’s love for me and by the grace he pours down on me! When I was contemplating taking on the “volunteer coordinator” role, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to! I love to bake, run, read and hold babies!”

Father Wolnik came with a special blessing and dedication
On Friday, June 27, 2014, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Father James Wolnik, Philomena House board member, came to dedicate our house to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Several board members were present. We await more blessings from God and thank Father for his devotion to our efforts.

Get credit from the IRS for your contributions to us
Many of our friends who came on Open House Sunday on May 25, and some later, left us donations of cash and furnishings. We thank you. And we apologize that in all of the activity, we may have forgotten to give you a tax receipt, which entitles you to a tax deduction from the IRS.
If we have left you out, we didn’t intend to, so if you want a receipt, please call and ask us for one and we’ll send it to you. Call Joyce at 651-488-9652. For more information, see www.irs.org.

Please continue to remember us in your charity!
Your generosity has helped make a home for two newborn baby boys, who otherwise might not have made it into this world. We could not have anticipated the joy they have brought us. Nor the sight of the love of their brave mothers. After five years of hard work, we have seen God’s overflowing providence in so many unexpected ways.
We ask for your continued support. Remember, Philomena House is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, so your contributions are tax-free. Please use the enclosed, self-addressed envelope.

Bernie Scroggins, Co-director (651) 633-4391
Joyce Nevins, Co-director (651) 488-9652

P.S. We keep you in our prayers. And we ask you to pray for us as well.

Two Newborn Baby Boys Have Come To Philomena House!

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Dear Friend of Philomena House,
Born on June 29, 2014, little Nabeel came to us at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. He made his home here with his mother. Nabeel fixes his eyes on her face whenever she holds him, which is all the time. Our first baby!

IMG_3419IMG_3709

Then on July 29, our second baby boy came, little Kingston, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces. He’s now here at Philomena House with his mother. Everyone wants to hold both guys. We thank you for the support you gave that helped bring these little boys safely into our arms. Please continue.

Right now, we house four guest residents, our optimal capacity, and have begun our educational program intended get them ready for independent living. A host of volunteers have come to training sessions over the last two months to acquaint themselves with the operations of our home and our program so they can help. We are amazed at the talent and the unselfishness of these wonderful people.

With a full house, we can use more volunteer help. Especially a mentor for each resident! Katie Sampair, our volunteer coordinator (651-726-4134), says we need help cleaning, gardening, a little painting and donating to our “Meal Train for Philomena House” you’ll find on Facebook.

Open House, May 25, 2014 – the Franciscans come

More than one hundred people attended our afternoon Open House on Sunday, May 25, a feast of Saint Philomena. The lively crowd included local police and several clergy who came “to see,” and to enjoy cake and punch.

Fourteen Sisters of Saint Francis of Little Falls, Minnesota arrived. Their group had lived in the large Victorian home, until recently their convent, when our benefactor bought it from them and renovated it for us. They were astonished at the renovation, especially the kitchen, and the beautiful donated furnishings. Geralyn, our founder and board chairman, gave them each a rose. Their photos appear in this letter.

Thank you for your generosity

Volunteers have also fully furnished Philomena House with donated, nearly new, clean and attractive upholstery, lamps, tables, chairs and pictures for the walls. All of it matches! Housemother Sharon King pulled it together, making the home look professionally done. She has also planted a garden full of fresh vegetables and varieties of lettuce.

Our current fund raising efforts, including a van

Yard Sale in Saint Paul. Mary Henseler, the woman who donated to us our relic of Saint Philomena, held a “first class” yard sale July11 and July 12, 2014 at her Mississippi River Boulevard home. The sale netted $1,500.
“All That Jazz” Dance Party is being staged by St. Gabriel, the Archangel, Catholic Church, Hopkins, Minnesota. Friday, August 15, 2014. All proceeds go exclusively to Philomena House.
We want to buy or rent a van to serve all the local travel needs of Philomena House residents. To start funding that project, we have sent a proposal to the State of Minnesota Open Your Heart Fund.
If you would like to hold a fundraising event for us, let us know.

Three new Philomena House board members

We’ve elected three board members. All are already highly active in these very busy, early stages of Philomena House development.
Mary Henseler– Mary and her husband moved to Minnesota from Wisconsin in 2003. They have four children. Mary runs her own business making and selling religious jewelry. It was Mary who happened upon the St. Philomena relic and gave it to Bernie at a Deanery meeting. Mary has her degree in fine arts and possesses great organizational skills. She believes Philomena House gives women a real choice.

Karen McCann – “I am the mother of two wonderful girls, ages 10 and 13. My husband and I just celebrated 22 years of marriage. I speak Spanish, love babies and interacting with youth. I desire to encourage these young women of Philomena House to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful gift of life that God has given them. I wish to help in whatever way I can to assist these women in gaining the confidence and skills they need to make happy lives for themselves and their babies.”

Katie Sampair– “I am a mother of five children, ages 6, 5, 3 and 11-month old twin boys. I have been married eight years. And I am a registered nurse, employed on a casual basis with HealthEast Home Care. When I heard about Philomena House, I knew I had to become involved. I am amazed each day by God’s love for me and by the grace he pours down on me! When I was contemplating taking on the “volunteer coordinator” role, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to! I love to bake, run, read and hold babies!”
Father Wolnik came with a special blessing and dedication

Father Wolnik came with a special blessing and dedication

On Sunday morning, June 30, 2014, Father James Wolnik, Philomena House board member, came to dedicate our house to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Several board members were present. We await more blessings from God and thank Father for his devotion to our efforts.

Get credit from the IRS for your contributions to us

Many of our friends who came on Open House Sunday on May 25, and some later, left us donations of cash and furnishings. We thank you. And we apologize that in all of the activity, we may have forgotten to give you a Form 1040, which entitles you to a tax deduction from the IRS.
If we have left you out, we didn’t intend to, so if you want a 1040, please call and ask us for one and we’ll send it to you. Call Joyce at 651-488-9652. For more information, see www.irs.org.

Please continue to remember us in your charity

Your generosity has helped make a home for two newborn baby boys, who otherwise might not have made it into this world. We could not have anticipated the joy they have brought us. Nor the sight of the love of their brave mothers. After five years of hard work, we have seen God’s overflowing providence in so many unexpected ways.

We ask for your continued support. Remember, Philomena House is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, so your contributions are tax-free.

Joyce Nevins, Co-director (651) 488-9652

Yes, your prayers and ours have been answered!

Posted Posted in Updates

We’ve just been given a beautiful house in Saint Paul for homeless, expectant women!

These amazing events began in November 2013, all of which we attribute to Divine Providence, your ongoing support and the wonderful benefactor who bought us a house. Here’s what happened. We were ready to interview prospective guests, homeless, pregnant women. We had even chosen an ideal house, a former Franciscan convent, perfectly maintained, with six bedrooms. But we had no way to make it ours! Our board and friends made a holy hour at church. The next     day, we heard from a private benefactor who said, “I am  buying that property you found for Philomena House.” A few days later, we accepted our benefactor’s purchase offer. What’s more, our contact at Positive Alternatives, Minnesota Department of Health, called to say, ”We found some money for Philomena, provided that you have a house.” We had the house. We’ve also been given monetary gifts from the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Community Foundation. These gifts, along with your sustaining cash donations, gave us the impetus to move in.

Immediately after Christmas, our benefactor installed a new kitchen, renovated the downstairs bath and polished the oak floors. All his ideas to give us contentment and delight. A battalion of volunteers is cleaning four floors, and people are donating furniture and utensils. We’ve set our Open House for Sunday, May 25, 2014, feast of the finding of St. Philomena’s bones in Rome’s St. Priscilla Catacombs.

Moving day was March 22. People gave us beautiful furnishings, barely used, matching upholstery pieces for our first floor rooms. Our board member, Duane Sanocki donated a refinished cherry wood desk for our first floor office. Sharon King, our housemother, is thrilled with all donated kitchen utensils. And more to come from kitchen and outdoor tools showers. Rene Miller and her quilting group from Holy Spirit Church in St. Paul gave us eight baby quilts. Students from St. Thomas Academy and friends did the heavy lifting. Then they sat down to a chili lunch at our newly refinished, cherry dining table (the chairs don’t match!). The movers were Sue and Jim Evanoff’s three sons, Dan, Michael and Joe, along with their four friends, Dan Gehrz, Tony Nebe, Adam Farrell and Sam Hummel.

Thanks and God bless you all!

Surprise! Saint Philomena has come to our house!

Posted Posted in Updates

We’re writing you to report a real and remarkable event in the making of Philomena House.  Recently a woman gifted us with an actual relic of our little martyred saint.

The relic itself is a tiny dark speck on a piece of white cloth inside a round silver case that we placed in a gold metal reliquary about four inches high.  Inside the silver case is a paper tag bearing these words: Philomenae V. M. (Philomena Virgin Martyr). The case is sealed with wax embedded with the Vatican seal. Although we have no papers, the packaging seems to indicate that it is a first-class relic.

Our benefactor is Mary Henseler, a local artist who creates religious jewelry from antique finds. Mary tells us that she rarely sees relics, so she wanted to own this one. After she had held the relic for several months, she learned about Philomena House at a deanery meeting where Bernie spoke. She thought immediately that the Philomena relic should belong to us.  So she publicly presented it to Bernie in May at the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women.  That event is how we came to be owners of this precious gift, which we truly believe to be the working of Saint Philomena.  We think she has carried us to a turning point in our search for a residence we can call home. (We hope we can tell you more in our next newsletter.)

Thank you all for your generous gifts!  Remember, Philomena House is a federal tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization.  With your tax-free contributions, you save babies’ lives from the horror of abortion. You also ensure the well being of their desperate mothers.

P.S.    Find (and “Like”) Mary Henseler on Facebook, at “She Sells Sanctuary.”
P.P.S. We are available to speak to your group about our work.

Getting Closer!

Posted Posted in Updates

Your prayers for us are being answered and your donations demonstrating your support as we approach local foundations. (If our constituency contributes generously, foundations are that much more willing to give.) Our board of directors’ efforts are being rewarded as well––at astonishing speed. Now, several foundations and individuals have brought us closer to the opening day of a residence for homeless, pregnant women. Very much closer. (Please watch for specifics in our next newsletter.) We also thank you as we anticipate the first babies to be born to the first group of young mothers to live in Philomena House.

Dear Friend of Philomena House:

Posted Posted in Updates

Someone will soon donate the house we’ll name “Philomena House”, our proposed shelter for homeless, pregnant young women to be located in the Saint Paul, Roseville area.

You may personally know that person, or you know someone who does. If so, please let us know. The four (or-more) bedroom place we need should be ready to open soon.

A daring, but attainable goal

(more…)

In our April 2012 newsletter

Posted Posted in Updates

We told you that we were beginning to seek grants from among Minnesota foundations. We’ve done that and made friends with several that support efforts such as Philomena House but our grant proposal have not been accepted so far.

 

We continue to submit proposals…and hope. (Keep in mind that there are 9,000 nonprofit organizations in the state, so competition for monies is daunting.)

 

What have we learned so far? Foundations prefer their existing recipients for ongoing support. Philomena House is perceived as a start-up, therefore as having an uncertain future. And, we need a house with client-residents in place to prove our feasibility.

 

So far, we have found several candidates for housemother, trained volunteers ready to begin mentoring, a stalwart board of directors, and paperwork such as intake forms ready to go. God knows we are ready to start. We await his all-knowing providence and the amazing succor of St. Philomena.

 

Imagine a four or five-bedroom house in the Roseville or Como Park area to

shelter, for as long as a year, girls and women, homeless and pregnant, without supporting friends or family. A kitchen where they cook and set the table every day…a warm furnace in winter…baby cribs and highchairs…and the ever-ready guidance of experienced mentors to help these mothers toward self-sufficiency.
Our earnest prayer is a donated house. Many similar women’s shelters across the country have started because someone gave them a house…gratis. With a donated house, we can make ourselves more attractive to foundations and set ourselves up for continuing support as others have done. If you know of any situation that may serve us well, please call Bernie or Joyce at either number below.

 

We thank you for your support, interest in our cause and your contributions in the past.

Remember, Philomena House is a federal tax-exempt, 501 © (3) organization. With your contributions, you save the lives of babies from abortion and help ensure the lifelong well being of their desperate mothers. Please send your gift in the enclosed, self-addressed envelope.

 

 

 

Joyce Nevins, Co-director (651) 488-0652

 

 

P.S. Your prayers have brought us many favors. Please continue to pray for us.