Recently, the staff was asked why they work at Guest House. Responses were filled with enthusiasm!
“Working at Guest House means I am a part of making a positive and powerful difference … in the world. It is good and noble work,” shares a long-time staff member who refers to Guest House as a “secure refuge” for all who come to us. The Guest House mission is to provide the information, education, treatment and care needed to assure that Catholic clergy, men and women religious, and seminarians suffering from alcoholism, addictions and other behavioral health conditions have the best opportunity for quality recovery and overall health and wellness. We have been serving the Church since 1956. One of our therapists offers, “The Guest House ministry recognizes that clergy and religious struggle with addiction and mental health issues like the rest of adult communities. We provide a clinical space where it is safe to receive care – a setting that is specialized and designed for them. We provide an opportunity to incorporate spirituality into the treatment and recovery process. This is essential and meaningful.”
At Guest House we save lives and vocations; and in doing this, we strengthen the Catholic Church – the largest Christian church and one of the oldest religious institutions in the world. It is same Catholic Church that has contributed music, writing, art, architecture and other cultural beauty as its testimony. It is a force for good in the world, as the most ardent defender of freedom in history, the founder of the university system and the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world – and where social justice is a way of life. The fact that the work done at Guest House can fortify the Church inspires the staff to give 100 percent each day. Many of them find comfort in being a part of something that provides healing, strength and light in our weary world.
A member of our staff who supports the clinical team reflects, “In many of today’s work environments, spirituality and religious beliefs are taboo. It’s a special feeling to be able to combine my Christian beliefs with my daily activities and know what I do is accepted and encouraged.” Those we serve also feel validated. Guest House warmly welcomes God’s ordained and consecrated when they come to our door. It is a privilege to be able to provide service to men and women who have dedicated their lives to our Church, to its advancement and to God. A member of our nursing staff notes, “My favorite part about working here is the connections that I make with the sisters and priests. I’m so blessed to get to know each one of these individuals.”
“There is the opportunity for staff to attend daily Mass. While staff are encouraged, they are not required to attend Mass. This supports my effort to prioritize and incorporate spirituality as part of my work day,” explains a therapist. Another staff member adds, “Spending time going to Mass to celebrate the joy of recovery with our sisters and men in treatment is one of the most rewarding experiences.” Each client at Guest House has a Departure Mass upon completion of treatment, and it is truly a “family” experience with clients, guests of the departing client and Guest House staff all present in celebration. A member of our administrative team responds, “I find joy in lifting up all of our clients, donors, staff and the entire Guest House community in prayer every day.”
When Guest House graduates return to their ministries, they are renewed. They are better priests, deacons, brothers, sisters and seminarians than they were before they arrived at Guest House. Their relationship with God has greater depth and meaning. Empathy and compassion for others is broadened, and authenticity is magnified. These individuals return to service with gratitude and a desire to impart to others the graces of God they received. Graduates of Guest House not only return to their ministries and the Church; they return to the world. Another administrative staff person adds, “The Guest House ministry, where all who ‘minister’ here are rendering services to the Church, has a ripple effect – one small change or one renewed ministry makes an enormous impact.”
A priest may be a pastor and shepherd to his parish, but his reach continues into the community and the extended families and friends of his parishioners, and then it stretches farther. Attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a brother befriends numerous others and supports them on their recovery journeys; and then in their strength, they become sponsors and lifelines to more people. As an instructor and retreat leader, a sister travels the world to spread awareness of addiction and offers solace and courage to those in need; and then the audience carries her missive to more places. The ripple is ongoing. The scope of Guest House has no boundaries. Another long-time staff person proclaims, “The benefits of such work are beyond measure or counting.”
As a Guest House staff member, I know our ministry is blessed, and it is a blessed commitment to walk even in a small way with these men and women on their recovery journeys. I might give hope where it has been previously exhausted. That hope is a seed, and it grows – it grows fervently. What an answered prayer it is to be able to provide favor to others and guide them to quality recovery and overall wellness. Through the Guest House ministry, we heal, we empower and we share the joy of Christ. With the help of God, we give witness to the news that treatment works and recovery is possible … every single day. Guest House partners with others so no one journeys alone. In the words of Ram Dass, “We’re all just walking each other home.” I work at Guest House because I am called to be a part of God’s plan here.
Written by Guest House Staff Writer