Cauliflower makes great mashed potatoes. Washing a bottle, making breakfast, and dressing a baby can in fact all be done at the same time. Things that look like lasagna or ham in the freezer may turn out to be enchiladas or part of a turkey when thawed. Otter pops are delicious. Disinfecting wipes are one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. Thrift stores are fantastic. Arizona is hot. Mountains do exist.

Over the last 6 weeks, the Maggie’s Place community has taught me a lot of very wonderful things. I have learned useful trivia facts, cooking tips for the future, and new ways to hold a baby. I have learned from the example of dedicated volunteers, compassionate coworkers, and peacefully sleeping babies. But the group of people I have by far learned the most from is the moms of Maggie’s Place. If there was ever a group of women who embody courage, determination and strength, this is it. I have been blessed to get to know a few moms this summer and to hear about their life before Maggie’s Place. They each come from different places with stories all their own. Many have faced more heartbreak and overcome more obstacles in the last year than I will in my entire life. In a sentence, they have reminded me to never give up. In a daily reflection I read a few weeks ago, Pope Francis said it perfectly:

“Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven.”

Maggie’s Place is on a mission to support pregnant and parenting women in need. I have been beyond impressed with the perfectly planned programs and the well-organized manuals involved in keeping the organization running. But I also know that it has been real encounters with these very real women that have inspired me and reminded me to keep moving forward in my own mission, whatever that may be at any given point in my life. It is the example of women willing to be found, healed, encountered and forgiven that continues to be the true fruit of Maggie’s Place.


By Ellen Walker, a Summer MissionCorps member