When I try to explain to someone exactly what I do, I often can’t find the words and many of the descriptions I attempt to give fall flat. Being a corps member at a Maggie’s Place home is a strange and wonderful occupation to have. Your Monday can feel like it’s lasted for a week, and sometimes you can barely remember the week before and its events.
To attempt to explain more clearly, being a Corps member is made up of the following main tasks:
- Being a “contact person”. This is how we make sure each mom gets individualized attention from one of us consistently. Being a contact person means you meet with a mom once a week to go over how she is doing and her goals and needs. It also means you are her go-to person for things she needs like donations, rides, and other requests she may have.
- Being “on-duty”. There is always someone on duty at our homes. Mostly, it’s MissionCorps members, but we are often blessed with amazing volunteers who step in and relieve us for a few hours. The regular shifts are 9am-4pm and 4pm-9am the following morning. No, we don’t stay awake the whole night (thank goodness!). Being on duty means answering the phone and door, greeting donors and volunteers, being present to the moms, and keeping an eye on the house and whoever is there.
- Your “position” duties. There are positions that every Maggie’s Place home has to fill and each MissionCorps member has one (sometimes more!). A different corps member in each home oversees Donations, Volunteers, Programs, House Operations and then there is the leader of the home, the Director General. Each of these positions has too many tasks to list in this short blog!
Those are what I think of as the main tasks of Maggie’s Place MissionCorps members. However, our real mission and honestly the real challenge is that we are called to build and foster community and that we are called to love our moms as Christ loves us. When I tell people that, it all sounds very beautiful and maybe you have a vision of rocking babies to sleep and sharing intimate conversations over the kitchen table. That certainly happens, but the real challenge, the real work of Maggie’s Place is found in those moments when love is hard.
Loving in truth, having tough conversations, setting boundaries, resolving conflict, being a shoulder to cry on–these are the things that exhaust us and that fill the most full of our days. They are the things that make our mission serious, bold, and difficult.
Dealing with the tasks that pile up each day seems like a piece of cake compared to following a fuming mom to her room to discuss respect, just being there when someone loses their child, or finding out one of the moms has relapsed. Our tasks help our homes run smoothly, things look tidy, moms feel welcome and safe, and all community members remain healthy. We can complete the to-do lists (usually), mop the floors, sort donations, fill out paperwork, and all of the other things. But our mission of love and especially love when you really don’t want to, or the person you are trying to love doesn’t want you to–is what has the potential to transform lives and is the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to do.
The wonderful thing is that we are continually called to remember that we are simply the instruments, not the saviors. We do what we can because God gives us the grace to do it. We plant seeds, we try to lovingly manage the often chaotic situations the homes face, we share our lives, and we make abundant mistakes. God called us to serve, and now we just pray that He works through us in our imperfections.
That is the essence of being a MissionCorps member at Maggie’s Place.
By Morgan Castillo, MissionCorps member at the Magdalene House.