Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to talk about some of the extraordinary women that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with over the last half century. Although there have been hundreds, I want to especially stress a few who have almost singlehandedly developed extraordinary ministries in order to lighten the burdens of the poor, the ill and the vulnerable. I have already made reference to Jennifer Long and Patti McCabe. Today, I want to talk about Sister Mary Rose McGeady.
Sister Mary Rose is simply extraordinary. A Daughter of Charity who successfully led Catholic Charities in the Brooklyn Diocese from 1973 to 1990, she was called/challenged to come in and attempt to save Covenant House, an excellent national program with facilities in 21 cities aimed at providing food, shelter, counseling and new beginnings to teenagers who had taken to the street. Covenant House had been a great success but its founder, Father Bruce Ritter, was accused of impropriety in some of his actions and chose to resign. Covenant House income dropped dramatically and Sister Mary Rose stepped in faced with a $38 million debt.
This remarkable woman didn’t know how to use the word impossible.
Today, Covenant House is financially sound and even more prosperous than before. When Sister Mary Rose arrived, the agency was in 12 cities. Today, that number has increased to 21 with 15 facilities in the United States, two in Canada and one each in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Thank you and may God bless you, Sister Mary Rose. You are a wonderful example that the great work of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise continue to be made real and concrete in this battered world.
May God bless the Daughters of Charity.