Tag Archives: St. Mary’s Center

A Reverence for Life in the Midst of Death

Participants at st. Mary’s memorial put candles around a painting entitled “Heart of All” by artist and community member Leon Kennedy. Mina Gaskell Photo

  by Molly Woodward very winter, when freezing temperatures and wet weather make surviving on the streets even harder, communities across the nation take time to remember the people who died homeless over the past year, and to recommit to the fight for one of the most basic of human rights — the right to […]

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St. Mary’s Center Honors the Lives of Those Living in Poverty

No one dreams as a child that they might become homeless, addicted, disabled, or jobless. It is critical that we change the way that we value people who may have less money and physical possessions by looking at the talents, strengths, and gifts that each soul has to bring to our world.

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How We Find Our Silenced Voices and Learn to Sing

This child who had been silenced went on to become a world-famous poet who won three Grammys and spoke six languages. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. She had an abounding love for everyone. She was asked by the United Nations to write a poem for the world.

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St. Mary’s Center — Community in Action

This special section features stories published in Street Spirit that report on the crucial work of St. Mary’s Center in providing shelter and life-supporting social services to low-income and homeless seniors in Oakland. These exciting stories describe St. Mary’s inspiring work in building a vibrant community and involving seniors in creating beautiful art and organizing […]

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The Spirit of St. Mary’s Center

A giant puppet of Gandhi symbolizes the spirit of nonviolence and justice at this Health and Justice Fair 2005 held at St. Mary's Center in Oakland.

by Terry Messman owntown Oakland has the highest percentage of seniors in poverty of any urban area in California. Many of those seniors are homeless. On any given night, elderly citizens make up 17 percent of Oakland’s homeless populace. St. Mary’s Center in downtown Oakland is providing life-saving shelter and life-enriching services, recovery programs and […]

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St. Mary’s Center — On the Move for Justice

Joseph Shaw (at left) talks with Carol Johnson, director of St. Mary's. Lydia Gans photo

by Maureen Hartmann A giant puppet of Martin Luther King is being created today by the senior clients of St. Mary’s Center. The puppet will hold the “UN Declaration of Human Rights” or a quote from King, “It’s time to end poverty.” It is being put together for the End Poverty Procession planned for October […]

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On Our Way Home
Photographers Document Life on the Streets

Homeless photographers create an eye-opening exhibit to document the dire conditions endured by people living on the streets of Oakland.

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Photographers Document Life on the Streets

“On Our Way Home” — Photo Documentary by Homeless Elders

Homeless and formerly homeless elders used disposable cameras to bring to public awareness the conditions facing people on the street. “On Our Way Home” celebrates the wisdom of elders as they offer a personal look at life on the street and show what we can do to help create change.

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The Visionary Folk Art of Leon Kennedy

Leon Kennedy loves to paint the faces of those who matter most to him. “I love to see a picture of the beauty of old faces, young faces, all colors. Everyone has their own beauty, everyone has character.”

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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.