Madonna Renewal Center- Freeport, Il – 9-14-2014 – by Annarae
Freeport, Il has been blessed to have several Nigerian nuns from the order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ. Their presence has been noted not only by their tireless work in the community, but also by their bright blue habits; many of us refer to them as our Blue nuns. They are now working on a very special project that will help not only women, but the entire community as well. They have already been teaching at the local Catholic schools, providing care at a local nursing center and many other spiritual and social services for our area. They were given, for a meager sum, the old St. Francis Hospital building.
St. Francis Hospital closed its doors in the 1960’s, then the building was used for a home for exceptional children. That operation closed several years ago and the five story building has stood vacant and had been slowly deteriorating.
Having this building and grounds, the Sisters pondered what they should do with it. After much prayer they discerned it should be renovated and used as a center to help pregnant women in need of shelter and aid. The goal is to restore the dignity of women by showing them parenting skills, assisting in education for them, mentoring them spiritually and providing them with a sense of self-worth and confidence to face the future. The facility will provide shelter for a woman before and after the birth of her baby for up to two years. It is the goal of Sisters to help restore the dignity women deserve, one woman at a time, until once more women are recognized as nurturing loving people, not objects.
At this point in time, women are regarded as mere objects to be used and discarded, thanks in part to the abortion mentality. If a woman becomes pregnant, she is told or believes she needs an abortion, not realizing the pain she will suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually down the road. Her dignity is destroyed and her life can become one of all types of abuse; self-inflicted by drug or alcohol use or by allowing herself to be used and abused by many men.
Restoration of the former St. Francis Hospital to become the Madonna Renewal Center (MRC) will take time, money, and the help of many people. The work has already begun. The leaking roof has been replaced and has a 20 year guarantee. The next step will be to rid the building of mold and asbestos.
A fundraising project will take place on September 20 at the MRC campus located at 1209 S. Walnut Ave. in Freeport, Il. It’s being called the “Come and See” event and will feature food for purchase, door prizes, music by the Sisters, and a story board of the history of the building. This will introduce the MRC project to the community at large as well as other areas who want to contribute to a fund that will improve conditions for women and their babies.
A home similar to the MRC is already being used in the Chicago area and the Sisters have spoken and visited with them to learn what has succeeded in their work and what problems might have occurred. Many of the Blue Nuns are furthering their already extensive educational backgrounds by attending various classes and seminars that will aid them in their goals.
To donate to this worthy cause, please contact:
Sister Mary Theonilla Chukwu