Benedicta grew up an orphan in Nigeria and came to the United States in search of a better life only to find herself on someone else’s floor month after month. Soon after, Benedicta became pregnant. Still unable to support herself she became depressed at the prospect of raising a child without a stable home. “When I came to this country I thought I messed up. But sometimes disappointments are blessings in disguise,” she said as looked lovingly at her three-month-old daughter, Lakisha.
Benedicta’s healthcare provider referred her to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, which directed her to Providence House. Benedicta grew close with Natasha, our Housing Specialist, as well as core community members Sister Mary Walsh, Sister Theresa Scanlon, and Sister Joan Gallagher. She quickly formed an especially close bond with Debbie Farrell, the Residence Manager. “Miss Debbie has been so wonderful because she is like a mother to me,” she said. “She is calming and she advises me to carry on no matter what.”
Debbie helped Benedicta through a very painful pregnancy due to a health complication. “She was in a lot of pain and you could see that but she was always pleasant, always a pleasure to be with,” Debbie said. “She mentors the other young women here and she is also working with our volunteer GED tutor, Melissa, so she can get her high school diploma.”
Despite difficulties in Benedicta’s past, she had only relentless enthusiasm and gratitude about her stay at Providence House and hope for the future. “Providence House is a wonderful place. It is a place of hope and I can never believe that I live in a shelter because I always have it in my heart that I live with my family,” she said. “The sisters and everyone else – they are pushing you to be someone in life and I am so thankful to them for standing by me,” she added tearfully.