Many people expect to come and visit Maggie’s Place in order to serve our moms and babies. Those that serve want to give them love and support—which is good, but is it really the whole picture of what goes on at Maggie’s Place? After living here for a few months, I have learned the beauty of allowing the moms to take care of us and love us back. This mutual exchange is a crucial element in our community.

Shortly after a death in my family, I was standing outside on the front porch of The Zechariah House crying to one of the other Corps members, making myself relive the last weekend of the funeral. As I tried to calm down, one of the moms stuck her head out the door—probably to ask about something—but found me with tears rolling down my face.

“Ahhh…group hug!!!” She exclaimed, as she came outside to give me a warm hug of sympathy.

Even though it was just a hug, it reminded me to let the moms love back, and that giving doesn’t just go one way. This is the way community life works.  When you allow the moms to teach you and to comfort you, a connection develops that is more than just a “social worker-client” type of relationship.

Very often for me, this relationship develops over food. The moms like to feed me—a lot! In fact, one of the moms insists I have a tapeworm and sometimes offers me some food when she cooks. Another mom would make food for me if no one was around so that she didn’t have to eat at the table alone.

Allowing yourself to be loved is essential for living with the moms. As an example, I think of Holy Thursday and The Last Supper. Christ washed the feet of St. Peter, who protests, “Lord you will never wash my feet.” And Our Lord responds, “Unless I wash your feet, you will have no part of me.” This is so true for the community environment of Maggie’s Place. You must be willing to let yourself be served, to allow your feet to be washed, and allow the moms to see you in your most vulnerable moments and accept their care. In this way, the profoundly beautiful connection of servitude and community we see between Our Lord and St. Peter can often be seen at Maggie’s Place too.

By Jessica Trevail, MissionCorps member at The Zechariah House