Extract from Thérèse M. Craine Bertsch, “Crossing Borderlines: Parish Friendships with Homeless Single Mothers and Their Children” in Visions and Vocations:
Hearing the call, “Rebuild my church,” Pope Francis challenged us to address the political reality of structural sin. He did so while having showers installed in the Vatican for homeless people to use. Francis knew we encounter God in the sharing of friendships and resources. What does this mean for parishes? Homeless single mothers cannot form ties to a church they cannot get to. Where are their parish friends who share the daily lives of poor and homeless single mothers? My research into American homeless mothers reveals that despite trauma, hurt, and intimidation, they are deeply spiritual and refuse to be victims. Their understanding of family emerges from their life’s circumstances, despite societal structures that fail to support impoverished families. These mothers have much to contribute to parish life.