The Power of Words

Door opening, welcoming Nervous to take the step into the professional world with an internship required to complete my English degree at Mount Mercy University, I came to the Catherine McAuley Center hoping to be able to use my passion of helping others through writing. Through my internship in the Development and Communications Department at CMC, I have been able to expand my passion for writing in a professional setting. I have also seen firsthand the impact the Center’s programs have on adult learners and women who are overcoming past trauma.

Having a loved one who has participated in other supportive living programs throughout the State of Iowa, the Transitional Housing Program caught my attention right away. The Transitional Housing Program offers a chance of a brighter future for women overcoming trauma, homelessness, and in some cases, substance abuse. The Center provides the women with a safe place to live while they take the necessary steps to overcome their Hand sharing pencils for writingpersonal obstacles, and offers classes for women to take to help build their life skills and to recover from trauma. While meeting with the Housing staff, I learned about a resident writing group that is offered to help the women with their writing skills and aid the recovery process. My own belief in the power of words to transform lives drove me to participate in the group.

In my first visit to the writing group,  I was fortunate enough to witness how the power of words can move women to greatness. To start off the class, we were told to write instructions of how we wake up and get ready for our days. While we began to write our answers, one of the women began talking to me, and in response, another woman whispered with a light in her eyes, “SHH!! This is my favorite time of the week.” The passion in the swift flick of her wrist forming words moved us to silence, and we too began to write.

A few minutes later, the women were asked if they wanted to share what they wrote. After one woman shared, the one who hushed us began to read her passage. Powerfully, she told us how she wakes up every morning, and how she has to overcome her personal obstacles every time her alarm goes off. She told us of her strength and power as a woman with the eloquence of Maya Angelou.Maya Angelou's picture and quote from her poem "And Still I Rise" Through the power of her words, she shared that despite her struggle of waking up with the knowledge of her past overwhelming her—she still thanks God for giving her another day to live, and she counts each day as a blessing. She gave me the strength to wake up every morning believing that life is worth living. Not only did writing help her in her daily struggle, it gave her the time and the tools to inspire others in the room to do the same.

Words are powerful. The writing group is giving these women the stepping stone to strengthen themselves through the empowerment of writing. Just like Maya Angelou wrote, “Up from the past that’s rooted in pain / I rise.”  In just one hour per week, these women are rising up and defeating their limitations through the power of writing.

By Abby Herb, Development and Communications Intern

International Women’s Day

Today, people across the globe will observe International Women’s Day to recognize the achievements of women everywhere. At CMC, we are celebrating International Women’s Day by having conversations with women in our CMC community about what it means to be a woman. This week, and every week, we are so proud of everything these women have accomplished!

What does it mean to be a woman?

 

Yamile (Colombia):  That’s a good question because women have a lot of, you know, meanings. We are just, a human being, but we are so complex… I think we represent a feminism, I don’t know how do you say. Femininidad? Femininity. And that’s a big difference that separate us from men. And to talk in some lovely words, we are full of love to give to other people… I think we are so, in a balance? Mhm, we are just not like, brain. We just do things with your heart and you think at the same time with your mind and your heart at the same time, you know?

Ying Ying (China):  [It’s] God’s gift!

Sahrakef (Somalia):  Without women there was nothing possible, even the God choosed women. Man… he say the man cannot live alone by himself without women. So he choosed it, to bring women there… We are just two parts, so the one powerful part it comes from women. It’s very important. Women they are very important, I’m so glad to be a woman.

Grace (China):  It’s so hard. A lot of burden, and some people, you know, your husband, whenever your husband doesn’t understand you it’s so hard to explain… [you have to] find a balance, you have to devote your time and energy to your family and at the same time to your job.

 

Why are you proud to be a woman?

 

Bahareh (Iran):  You know, I like [that] I’m woman, but, that’s just for me, you know? I like always do all the man do. You know, for example, I learned the business. I like that, you know, I like the hard business. Before I had my business when I was in my country. I always have hard job like all the man do. But, you know, I think so when you woman you can feel everything more, you know? You can love everything. I think so like that. You can love everything more, your kids, you can talk more, more easily.

Maria (Mexico): I’m proud to be a woman because you can give birth to a child, you can take care of your kids, and you can um… I don’t know. Do many things like do your hair, do your nails… I’m proud to be a woman.

Ying-Ying (China):  Yeah, the mom is the first example. A good example for the child… the woman, the mom, is important. Because the dad, always no time to spend with education for the child. So if we are just like, a house woman, it is a big job.

Yamile (Colombia):  Oh, just the fact that you are a woman that should make you proud because, you know, we are, how do you say? Like, how do you say ‘guerrera’ in English? Warrior. Yeah! That’s us! Like going for something and there are women that maybe get frustrated with some things in their lives, but we just have to invite them to be warriors too. To overcome the things. I don’t know, I think it’s just special being a woman you know. Like starting from the body because we are designed to have babies, and that’s so important.

 

Do you have any advice for young girls about being a woman?

 

Maria (Mexico):  Yes. I want to teach her to be proud of herself, to have a career, to study, and be, to be prepared for the future.

Grace (China):  For themselves they should have a moral standard higher than expectation. Because I think that the whole country is going to be decided by the feminine because our job is to bring up the next generation, which is the most important thing. If we don’t do a good job, how can our country grow up? So I think we do the main characteristic in our society, so the girls, the feminine, in general is more important.

Bahareh (Iran):  If somebody has a wish, they just have to go and go for it. You know what’s that mean? They have to just try and do everything they can to reach their wish, you know? They have to. If I was maybe 20 years again, maybe I would, I would do more, you know, for my life. But I did too much, you know? I always work, and I did too much. But, if again, I was younger I would do everything for my… what’s the name? For my target, yeah. Never stop.

 

Do you have anything else you want to say about International Women’s Day?

 

Sahrakef (Somalia): I am just sending a message for the other women who have been suffering about this world… But my message is that this is a part of the life. I’m sending my other women, all my sisters in this world, whoever suffering, I’m just telling them: be strong! Everybody, they gonna have their own day. They will have a better life, and they will have the things is gonna get good and change whatever issue they have. Be strong. We are under God, we are in one world. We will get better life. And God gonna remove all, whatever issue. So I pray for them, and I’m sorry for them. That’s my message. That’s what I’m saying.

 

Happy International Women’s Day from the Catherine McAuley Center!

 

Protecting and Building Communities in Cedar Rapids

Last week at the Cedar Rapids Public Library the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission hosted the event, “Forum on Protecting Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Communities.” This educational program focused on the definition of “hate crimes,” and included presentations and panels discussing the legislative processes, local resources, and opportunities to assist affected communities.

The Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) consistently works with diverse, and oftentimes marginalized, groups. In 2016 the Adult Basic Education Program alone had 404 students representing 49 countries from around the world. Taking opportunities like this forum to learn how to advocate and protect members of our CMC community aligns with our values– supporting inclusive communities that welcome, respect, and support a diversity of individuals and ideas. Communication and Administrative Intern, Madison Clark, attended the event due to her belief in this tenet, and to share this valuable information with a wider audience!

What is a hate crime?

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Iowa Department of Human Rights, and the Anti-Defamation League of the Plains States Region explained that hate crimes are difficult to prosecute due to their nature. Unlike most other crimes, the prosecutor is expected to prove the motive of the defendants instead of simply proving the crime happened. 

A hate crime can include, but is not limited to:

  • Violent acts enacted on a person, their property, or a place of worship,
  • Threats of violence,
  • Attempts to intimidate or interfere with living
  • Obstruction of free exercise
  • Conspiracy against rights
  • Trespassing

Hate crimes are not common in Iowa, and are especially uncommon within the Cedar Rapids community. Knowing the scope of potential issues will simply help community members continue to protect the individual rights of everyone who call Cedar Rapids their home.

When and to whom should concerns be reported?

According to the law enforcement panel, hate crimes go tremendously under-reported. This means that the current data being worked from is not covering the full scope of issues being faced by marginalized communities. With this in mind, the representatives made it overwhelmingly clear that individuals should report any concerns to their local law enforcement, even if it’s only a suspicion, and that they should be reported right away.

The panel explained that the possibility of something being a hate crime, regardless of whether or not it’s prosecuted that way, is always noted. This is so future incidents might have better evidence behind them that could enable victims receive justice. Basically, if it looks and feels like a hate crime, law enforcement will respond to it as such.

If there’s been an incident that could potentially be a hate crime, call the non-emergency number, or 911, depending on the urgency of the situation.

How can we address the growing tensions?

The community panel, including representatives from the Eastern Iowa Islam, Sikh, and Hindu communities, followed the law enforcement panel. This group spent time discussing how recent political tensions have increased the threat of hate crimes towards their communities, as well as what others might be able to do to help.

Overwhelmingly, the community members agreed that what would have the greatest effect would be getting the Cedar Rapids community involved in education sessions about each group. They felt that educating and increasing community awareness would lead to a more enriched community through diversity and new perspectives. Each group’s community center offers trainings, tours, and will welcome anyone interested in learning more. They also expressed a willingness to collaborate with other community groups, businesses, or schools on events ranging from volunteering to positive media campaigns supporting diversity.

When a crime motivated by bias occurs, it reverberates throughout all communities. This forum aimed to say, “You are not alone,” to the people of many diverse perspectives and practices who call Cedar Rapids their home. Many groups have started to see a rise in threats and tensions over the last few years, and it’s the responsibility of Cedar Rapids residents to create a safe and inviting community for everyone. CMC aims to supports this effort, and believes everyone has, and should continue to have, the potential to create and live a purposeful and fulfilling life.

New Refugee Resettlement Program

Dear Friends,

We have big news!

PaulaFor more than 27 years, the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) has used our expertise in the education and human services fields to support our students’ and residents’ connectedness with the wider community, helping them build communication and life skills that enable them to achieve their goals. Starting in 2017, we’ll expand our expertise and mission to offer hope and opportunity to some of Cedar Rapids’ newest residents—refugees.

brighter-futures-towerWe live in an age of humanitarian crisis in which more than 65 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to devastating conflicts. Of these millions, the U.S. is anticipated to welcome 110,000 refugees in the coming year. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), one of the nation’s leading refugee resettlement agencies, found Cedar Rapids to be an ideal site for expanded resettlement because of our community’s low cost of living, stable job market, and strong healthcare, educational and social services networks.

To expand on local resettlement efforts conducted for the last decade by Catholic Charities, USCRI identified CMC as an agency with strong capacity to undertake such an initiative. Beyond our supportive team of 600+ volunteers and 800+ donors are two new RefugeeRISE AmeriCorps members to help us launch this exciting new program. CMC has a history of adapting to meet real human needs through our Adult Basic Education and Transitional Housing programs. Refugee Resettlement is another opportunity to help meet an urgent need in today’s world.

Refugee resettlement is not just an opportunity to meet a need—it’s an opportunity to enrich the Cedar Rapids community through diversity and new perspectives. Building upon our rich immigrant heritage, our newest residents will also help our community to grow and thrive. With these new efforts, we anticipate greater collaboration among community agencies which will not only benefit refugees, but other community members as well.

The support of the CMC community has been a constant source of encouragement. As we turn the page and enter a new chapter of CMC history, we wanted you to be among the first to know and invite you to get involved and help create a safe and inviting community for our new neighbors!

Thank you for your continued thoughtfulness and generosity. The CMC staff, board of directors, and I are excited to share this new chapter with you as we pave the way for safety, freedom, new beginnings, and opportunity.

With hope,
Paula copy
Paula Land
Executive Director

12 Days of Giving

On the first day of giving, I gave to CMC…

Has the holiday season inspired you to give back? Find out-of-the-box ways to offer hope and opportunity during the 12 Days of Giving (and all year long) below! The 2016 Holiday Food & Supply Drive is sponsored by Amerigroup.

 

1st-day-of-givingDay 1– Proceeds from my purchases at Amazon Smile!

When you shop at smile.amazon.com and designate CMC as your chosen charity, Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to the Center.

 

 

 

 

 

2nd-day-of-givingDay 2– Items from our Amazon.com wishlist

Help fulfill our greatest material needs while skipping the drop-off. Have your donation shipped straight to the Center!

 

 

 

 

 

3rd-day-of-givingDay 3– A visit to the Alternative Gift Market (Cedar Rapids) on Saturday, December 3 at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center! 

Get a head start on holiday shopping with MEANINGFUL gifts! Support local and global organizations with honorary donations that have tangible results– $42 buys a workbook and teacher’s guide for a student-tutor pair!

 

 

 

 

4th-day-of-giving-1Day 4- An hour a week to tutor an adult learner.

On any given day up to 90 students are waiting for someone like you to help them learn English, improve basic academic skills, or study for the U.S. citizenship exam. No teaching experience required! Sign up for a tutor orientation at https://cmc-cr.org/volunteer/new-tutor-orientation/

 

 

 

 

5th-day-of-giving-1Day 5- An hour to tour the Center!

Come tour our facilities and see the impact up close. Even if you’ve been familiar with us a while, you’ll still learn something new! Double your  impact by bringing a friend. Sign up for a tour at https://cmc-cr.org/tours/

 

 

 

 

6th-day-of-givingDay 6- Dollars to spare to pay it forward.

Skipping the peppermint mocha just once a week in December could cover a resident’s first week of rent! Every dollar makes a difference! Online giving available here.

 

 

 

 

 

7th-day-of-givingDay 7- The gift of leaving a legacy!

Planned gifts like stock, real estate, life insurance, bequests, and more can support the Center years into the future. You’ll be among the many other members of our Mission Society who understand their plans today will help CMC offer hope and opportunity for years to come.

 

 

 

 

8th-day-of-givingDay 8- Hosting a food & supply drive to fill the pantry shelves!

We have the promotional materials, signs, and collection bins to make it easy! Partner with your church, club, or workplace (like Rockwell Collins employees above) to collect CMC’s most needed items like dried rice & beans, cleaning supplies, and new twin sheets, pillows, & towel sets!

 

 

 

 

9th-day-of-givingDay 9- Likes and shares, and stories to spread the word!

YOU are our greatest advocate! Students and residents– what have you learned in your time at CMC? Tutors– what is your favorite moment from tutoring? What impact have you seen in our community?

Tell your friends these meaningful stories on your social media accounts, and don’t forget to tag CMC! We’re on Facebook, Twitter (@cmccr), LinkedIn, and Youtube!

 

 

 

10th-day-of-giving Day 10- Time spent welcoming and supporting refugees.

In the coming year we plan to expand the ways we support refugees, many of whom are already students at the Center! Sign up to volunteer to cook a warm meal, provide transportation, help with grocery shopping, teach computer and job skills and more!

 

 

 

 

11th-day-of-givingDay 11- Hosting a fundraiser for the Center!

Pick something fun that you and your club, church, or other group enjoy– from a pancake breakfast to a charity car show like the Cedar Rapids Corvette Club hosts each year!

 

 

 

 

 

12th-day-of-givingDay 12- Stuff for Stuff Etc Quality Consignment!

Use your holiday break to clear out a closet, then bring your gently used clothing, housewares, and other items to Stuff Etc. in Cedar Rapids (Blairs Ferry Rd.) or Coralville in the Catherine McAuley Center’s name.

Call ahead, drop off, request a donation receipt, and CMC will receive the proceeds, which can add up to hundreds of dollars each year!

 

 

This post and coordination of 2016 food and supply drive efforts is sponsored by

Amerigroup

Questions? Call Kelsey at 319.731.0448

20 Instances of Community: A Reflection

The Catherine McAuley Center celebrated communi-TEA at the 20th Annual Catherine’s Tea on Sunday, October 2, 2016. In honor of this 20th anniversary, Laurie, a resident peer leader at CMC, shared 20 ways that she and other residents see their community actively working in their lives. Find the full transcript below!

Laurie shared 20 ways that the residents in the Transitional Housing Program see their CMC community at work in their lives.

Laurie shared 20 ways that the residents in the Transitional Housing Program see their CMC community at work in their lives.

Good afternoon, my name is Laurie Cramberg and I am the senior peer in the Catherine McAuley Transitional Housing Program.

I’ve been at CMC since February 2015. I came to CMC after substance abuse treatment. I was homeless afterwards and needed guidance on how to live my life as a productive, healthy, responsible adult. My needs were not only housing, but also a safe place to live and grow in my sobriety and mental well-being.

I am now sober over 2 years with the help and grace of God, lots of prayers, and of course the community and help of the Transitional Housing Program.

About 6 months ago the housing program manager Jennifer came to me with the proposition of becoming the senior peer at CMC. I accepted and now I help the other women in the program build a strong community.

As a senior peer I’ve been given the opportunity and challenge to lead a group in our program. This is a group we have named “Community.” In our group we plan times to spend together as a community as well as time to give back to CMC and Cedar Rapids.

In honor of this being the 20th anniversary of the Catherine’s Tea, the ladies in the housing program, staff, and I would like to share with you 20 ways we see our CMC community in action in our lives:

As you all know, last week Cedar Rapids prepared for the flood. In this sad and frightening time, we saw how our CMC community comes together.

  1. Last weekend, one woman at CMC organized a group of women to help at the sandbagging stations.
  2. We welcomed five women who needed to be evacuated into the program. One of the current residents has been a gracious host for the evacuated women—sharing her living space and has helped show them where things are at in the house and helped them get settled in.
  3. One the first night of evacuation, one CMC resident prepared quite the feast for the evacuees with us. She made homemade spaghetti, garlic bread, and a salad with items from the garden. We had great conversation and full bellies that night!
  4. One resident led a group meditation on Saturday night. The response from the women was so appreciative, and it really seemed to help make everyone feel more safe and calm.
  5. And on Sunday, the women who moved into CMC after evacuating made dinner for all of us. It was so awesome seeing everyone work together and being so giving.
  6. Many of us have worked hard in our community garden all summer. We have had an abundance of produce to share. During the flood, we used some of the produce from our garden to make meals together with those who were evacuated from their homes.

The flood is a strong example of our CMC community, but I’d like to share with you some other ways we can see our CMC community in action in our lives throughout the year

7. This past spring we invited our neighbors, students, tutors, and family to a Garden Party in our community garden to celebrate our pollinator garden where we share not only in the beauty of the flowers we’ve planted but the hope for an increase in the population of the Monarch butterfly.

8. Which reminds me of the CMC picnic where we share in fellowship with the students, teachers, staff and family members.

9. During cooking groups at the Center, we share recipes, mistakes, and successes that’s the food, of course—and laughter and fun.

10. We share in fellowship cooking out in our back yard. It’s not always just a cook out. On National Night Out in August, we stayed out to play games as part of a national protest against violence in our community and to encourage our neighbors to help us create a safe neighborhood.

11. On Women’s Equality Day, we take time to remember the women who won our right to vote and honor three women in our community who we feel are an example of courage, commitment, and service.

12. Being engaged in activism and social issues is an important part of our community. We invited a representative from both the Democratic and Republican party to teach us how to caucus and other ways to use our voices to make a difference.

13. We like to find ways to build community in greater Cedar Rapids too, like taking opportunities to volunteer at our local food banks.

14. During our weekly Community Groups where we not only share a reading to help us reflect on our lives. We share our successes and challenges with each other. And we brainstorm for upcoming events.

15. In the future we plan to have a baby shower for one of our alumnae, and who doesn’t love babies or a reason for cake?

16. This upcoming Tuesday night we are planning a board game night with a dose of homemade nachos on the side.

17. We each have an opportunity to share and maintain our communal living areas. Different residents add decorations or do projects to improve the spaces and help create a comfortable home.

18. We listen to each other and help each other whenever we can. We help carry groceries in for each other and help people move in and out of the houses. I am grateful for one woman in particular for helping me when I am in need—cat sitting.

19. Our support for each other is especially important around the holidays. We have dinners together on Thanksgiving and Christmas and celebrate together.

20. Our fall retreat—where we are offered the opportunity to explore who we are, our needs, or just plain regroup—is one of my favorite times we have been blessed to share.

So what is community? The dictionary says that community is “bonds of harmony and brotherly love.” And that’s the kind of community we strive to be at CMC.

Thank you.

Community: José’s Story

In celebration of communi-TEA, José shared stories of how he first relied on others when he came to the United States and how he now helps his friends and community thanks to skills he learned at the Center.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is José Hermosillo, I’m originally from a small town in Jalisco, near of Guadalajara, Mexico. In Mexico, I studied animal science, and my family and I ran a farm there. Many of my ancestors were farmers.

I would like to introduce my family: my wife, Margarita, my daughter, Fernanda, and my son, Christopher. Right now, Fernanda is a sophomore at Xavier High School, and Christopher is attending 5th grade at St. Joe’s in Marion.

I first came to the US because I needed to work back in 2003. When I first came everything was difficult. For example, at that time I had a car. I knew how to do maintenance and some repairs, but I don’t have the knowledge to order brake pads. To get the pads I need to have a friend to go with me to the auto parts store. He ordered the parts for me. I was always asking for his help when I needed something.

Later another friend of mine recommended to come to the CMC to enroll in the English classes. I decided to come to CMC because I needed to learn English and be more independent and self-sufficient.

When you first start learning a different language you are afraid to do some things. People might start laughing on you, and you are afraid to ask some things. The community at CMC is very helpful and friendly. My teacher Linda back in 2003 invited me to dinner at her house. She is from Wisconsin and her husband is from Brazil. We had a good dinner. We started a friendship. CMC also helps me with other issues like immigration, health insurance questions, and other concerns.

José reflected on how learning English at CMC has empowered him to live more self-sufficiently and help his friends do the same.

José reflected on how learning English at CMC has empowered him to live more self-sufficiently and help his friends do the same.

I started work at a dairy farm in Marion in 2003. When you work on a farm you don’t need high level English. But back then if I don’t know some word, I asked my boss with a translator or a white board to write the word and tell me how it sounds. That way I learned a lot too.

Now things are more easy than back in the past.

I have met different people from other countries at the CMC, and now they are my friends. They are from Brazil, Congo, Vietnam, Syria, and my actual tutor is from the UK. Over the years, I’ve also worked with different tutors and several staff members. I have nearly completed 4 books. Learning English at CMC has given me much more confidence in my daily living in this country.

Now I’m helping other immigrants to find a job, taking them to apply or to interviews, look for a car or apartment. I help them with the same problems I had in the beginning. And all these things thanks to the English I learned here at CMC.

I want to say thank you to all the community at the CMC for the great job they’re doing transforming lives one at a time.

100+ Corridor Women Who Care- about CMC!

DSC_2400

We are very excited to announce that the Catherine McAuley Center has received a generous donation from the 100+ Corridor Women Who Care organization. 100+ Corridor Women is an organization of women who support the growth of our local community by pooling resources to make focused, effective contributions to local charities. The mission is to bring together 100 or more women, each willing to contribute $100 four times a year to help the community and local charities.

The generous donation on behalf of 100+ Corridor Women Who Care will go to support the needs of the growing Adult Basic Education program, which proudly serves more than 400 adult learners who are working hard to brighten their outlook for the future by learning English, studying for the U.S. citizenship exam, or improving other basic academic skills. Many thanks to Kim Hillyard, CMC board member and volunteer tutor, for sharing about the CMC mission with the 100 Plus Corridor Women Who Care!

Because we were selected as the beneficiary of this quarter’s 100+ gifts, CMC will receive 40% of proceeds of the products sold through the 100+ Corridor Women’s One Mission fundraising campaign!  One Mission is a local business based in Mount Vernon devoted to “changing the world, one mission at a time”. Browse their online shop for soaps, candles, graphic prints, apparel, home décor and more—and be sure to click “Support this Cause” on the 100+ Corridor Women Who Care page so that your purchase benefits the students of the Adult Basic Education program!

one mission

Remembering Sister Mary Cephas

Sr. M. Cephas WichmanIt is with sad hearts that we share with the Catherine McAuley Center community that board member Sister Mary Cephas Wichman passed away on May 6.

Sr. Cephas was a long-time supporter of the Catherine McAuley Center. She generously shared her time and talent and served in many roles at CMC. Her extensive service includes serving as Board President and on the Fundraising, Planned Giving, and Catherine’s Tea Event Planning committees. She was instrumental in creating an endowment for CMC and served on the Endowment Committee in addition to the Board of Directors.

Sr. Cephas was an integral part of the Catherine McAuley Center community and knew the names, faces and stories of many CMC donors and volunteers. Beyond lending her direction and guidance to the Center, she generously baked hundreds of the famous scones served at Catherine’s Tea each year.

Sr. Cephas was active throughout the entire Mercy community and served 25 years as the VP of Development and VP of Planned Giving at Mount Mercy University, as well as many hours at the Sacred Heart archives and front desk. She has also served in leadership roles at Mercy Medical Center, Mount Mercy University, Discovery Living, Girl Scouts, and Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center.

Sister Shari Sutherland, CMC board member and former Executive Director shared of Sister Cephas with Mount Mercy University, “Sister Cephas filled many lives with a friendly smile and good things to eat. She always had words of encouragement and was willing to be involved and help others be involved. I am so grateful for her wisdom, knowledge and guidance throughout my years in ministry.”

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Sr. Cephas’ friends, family, and fellow Sisters of Mercy. We are grateful to have known such a strong and giving woman and will miss her tremendously!

Stuff for Stuff, Etc.!

Spring cleaningAhh, springtime!  The trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, the windows are open, and the bunnies are scurrying about…dust bunnies that is! For many of us, as we emerge from hibernation, we find ourselves rubbing our eyes in disbelief at the dust, stacks of papers, and sheer amount of clutter that has somehow accumulated during the long months of winter. Fresh and inspired by the warm spring air and the sound of birds singing outside our windows, we busy ourselves with washing curtains, airing out our bedding, and finally, finally tackling that overflowing closet whose door won’t close.

CMC staff have done some spring cleaning too!Does that dress no longer spark joy? Is that box of dishes in the attic just gathering dust? Secretly want to sneak out that well-intentioned birthday gift from Aunt Mildred? Is it finally time to 86 the orange recliner that’s messing with your feng shui?

As you embark on your tidying marathon, consider making your clutter count by consigning it at Stuff, Etc. under the Catherine McAuley Center’s name. Last year, CMC received nearly $500 in proceeds from Stuff Etc. consigners, funding which helped support CMC’s Adult Basic Education and Transitional Housing Programs.  The life-changing magic of tidying up can contribute to life-changing programming for CMC students and residents too!

To consign at Stuff, Etc.:

  1. Make sure your items will be accepted by Stuff, Etc. Take a look at things they need  and things they don’t accept.
  2. Call 319-373-2380 (Cedar Rapids location) to make a drop-off appointment. Walk-ins are usually accepted but we suggest calling before in case Stuff, Etc. isn’t taking drop-offs that day. You may be restricted to a 1 or 2 tote minimum.
  3. At the drop-off counter at the store, let them know you’re donating your items on behalf of the Catherine McAuley Center. On the form you’ll fill out, please write “Catherine McAuley Center” in the name field and list our account number, #19579.
  4. Your donation is tax-deductible! Ask Stuff, Etc. for a donation receipt to use for tax purposes.

As a friendly reminder, CMC does not accept used clothing, bedding, personal care products, or TVs/appliances directly. Please consider consigning eligible, gently-used items to Stuff, Etc. However, if you have new, unopened items that are on our wish list, give us a call!

Thanks for supporting the Catherine McAuley Center mission. Happy cleaning!