Update from Women’s Services and Continued Responses to COVID-19

Our Women’s Services staff have been staying up to date on guidelines, modifying services, providing education and support to the women at CMC, and maintaining a safe and stable living environment while we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation.

The idea of “Stay Safe, Stay Home” has meant something very different at CMC – besides our day to day business functions, the Catherine McAuley Center is also a home for 15 women. Through all of our adaptations and service modifications, it has been important to keep in mind how a person’s home is being impacted with each decision. 

Women’s Services has adapted to be flexible in the delivery of core services for residents. It has been important to acknowledge that while they may share similar goals, each resident’s needs are different. Previously, residents had been accessing case management over the phone and through video conferencing in order to stay mindful of social distancing, as well as participating in small group meetings. There have also been multiple daily group meetings added to the schedule to give residents more chances to check in with one another. Since maintaining connection is so important to the women and Women’s Services staff at CMC, residents are also connecting online in a private Facebook group, and encouraging one another with discussion and encouraging messages throughout the day. 

Even through these strange circumstances, there have been many reminders of the resilience that each woman has developed and the great possibilities that arise when a group of women comes together. Here are a few highlights of residents’ strengths and support of one another:

  • While staying safe inside, some of the women started actively planning for the CMC Garden, including sorting donations and starting seedlings.
  • Right before Mother’s Day, Linn County was ordered to implement more restrictive measures. For women at CMC this meant that they could not go visit their family and could not have their family visit them. The women collectively saw that this was going to be a difficult day for everyone- as a mother, as a daughter- and they rallied together to come up with a plan to honor each other.
  • Some of the women participated in sewing cloth masks that could be used by CMC staff, residents, volunteers and community members. 
  • Most importantly, none of the women at CMC have relapsed in their recovery or experienced any mental health symptoms that would require hospitalization since the start of the pandemic. In these times of stress when our brains go into survival mode, they’ve utilized their coping skills, wrapped each other in support, and stayed engaged in the programming that’s offered 
  • These women have shown an enormous amount of patience and a willingness to try new things, like learning the new world of Zoom and participating in group learning opportunities in this new digital format. 

Self-awareness, self-care, and our residents’ willingness to help each other has kept things going smoothly at CMC. While our approach has shifted over the past few months, our mission at the Catherine McAuley Center has stayed the same: to offer hope and opportunity through educational and supportive services that promote stability, skill-building, and connection. We have seen these things first hand with our residents, we will continue to see our mission through regardless of the circumstances.