On March 8, 2020, the last weekend retreat at St. Mary’s Retreat House, a sponsored ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Oxford, MI, ended. This retreat, entitled Beatitudes: Hope amidst the Challenges, marked the end of 60 years of ministry for the Sisters in Oxford.
The Retreat House actually closed a few weeks earlier than planned due to restrictions put into place to combat the COVID-19 virus, but the Sisters in the Oxford Community have been able to extend their ministry in an unexpected way.
In the normal course of preparing to close the Dominican Sisters of Peace Oxford Motherhouse, the Sisters made inquiries to find a place to donate beds and other furniture. It was determined that these items would be donated to “House into Homes,” a Ypsilanti, MI, organization that supplies furniture for families moving out of homeless shelters into stable private housing.
But God had another purpose for these items – a purpose specific to the most current need in our world – care for those with the corona virus.
One of the members of “House into Homes” is also employed by Trinity Health, and was aware of an immediate need for furnishings for a new overflow facility for Trinity’s St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti. This facility will house those who need quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19 as well as those who no longer need hospital care but are not ready to go home, creating much-needed room at the hospital for those who need more acute care.
On Monday, March 30, 2020, volunteer crews from Barton Malow Construction, Southfield MI and Kasco Construction, Royal Oak, MI, showed up bright and early to begin the moving process. The two companies donated their trucks and crews for this project. In about 2 ½ hours they had loaded 60 beds and 60 bedspreads, sheets, blankets, mattress pads, and towel sets freshly cleaned by the staff at St. Mary’s Retreat House. Chairs, a few dressers and small desks were also sent to their new temporary home in Ypsilanti.
After the overflow facility closes, the donated furniture will be moved to the “House into Homes” warehouse to help give a new start to formerly-homeless families.
As St. Dominic preached to the needs of his day, the Dominican Sisters of Peace are blessed to be able to provide for this important need in the Detroit area, and to be able, in the closing of one of their homes, to furnish new homes in their community.