Ring, ring…ring, ring…..
“Maggie’s Place, The Hannah House, this is Gretchen, how may I help you?”
“Yes, I would like to speak to Maggie, please. Is she available?”
Every once in a while, the MissionCorps get this question when we answer the phone and it always makes us chuckle! You see, Maggie is not the founder of Maggie’s Place and is definitely not someone who can be reached by phone! Maggie, rather, is a nickname for our patron saint, Mary Magdalene. The Magdalene House, our original home in central Phoenix, also takes its name after this faithful woman.
St. Mary Magdalene was a sinner, and like the rest of the disciples, she gave up her old life to follow the way of Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells us that her sins were forgiven because “she has loved much.” St. Mary Magdalene was a close friend to Christ: she remained steadfast at crucifixion with Our Lady and John, and she was the first to see and spread the news of the risen Christ. For this reason, she has been called “the Apostle to the Apostles”.
At Maggie’s Place, we try to emulate our patron saint by “loving much” and even until it hurts, journeying with those who are broken, and standing by our Lord during the hard times. As one of the Church triumphant, we ask St. Mary Magdalene to intercede for the needs of our homes, moms, and babies, knowing that she is a member of the communion of saints in heaven and one of our biggest cheerleaders! Along with St. Mary Magdalene, we also ask St. Elizabeth, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Zechariah to pray for us as we serve moms and babies in the homes under their patronage.
The story behind the naming of our newest home – The Hannah House – is a bit more complicated because it actually involves three Hannahs. The first Hannah is a nod to Hannah’s Haven of Hope, a nonprofit that served pregnant women in Prescott, AZ. Hannah’s Haven was very similar to Maggie’s Place, and when they closed, their administration decided to give us their assets. The generosity of Hannah’s Haven of Hope allowed Maggie’s Place to purchase the home that is now The Hannah House!
The second Hannah is the beloved Hannah Burke Tambini, an alumnae MissionCorps member. While serving as the Director General of The Elizabeth House in 2010, Hannah was diagnosed with cancer. After leaving Maggie’s Place for treatment, Hannah passed away in 2013 at the age of 26. The Hannah House is named in her memory and in our entryway we have a beautiful wall hanging from her family in her honor. The wall hanging has Mother Teresa’s famous line “Do small things with great love” surrounded with the signatures of Hannah’s family members. Hannah certainly did many small things with great love while serving at Maggie’s Place, and what a beautiful soul we have as our namesake. Although I never had the privilege of knowing her, I know that Hannah is sorely missed at Maggie’s Place and I am proud to be serving in the home that is now named in her honor.
The last Hannah is our home’s patron saint, St. Hannah, whose story can be read in the first book of Samuel. All Hannah wanted was to be a mother…so in her sadness she prayed and prayed for a child for years. She prayed so much, in fact, that people thought she was crazy! Finally, after years of asking the Lord for a child, she conceived and bore her son Samuel. Upon his birth, she decided to offer him right back to God, and Samuel eventually became a priest. From St. Hannah, we learn to persevere in prayer and that, ultimately, we must offer everything -our needs, our blessings, our relationships, our homes – right back to God. Like St. Mary Magdalene, St. Elizabeth, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Zechariah, we ask St. Hannah to pray for us as we go about serving and loving the moms and babies of Maggie’s Place, especially as we prepare to welcome our first group of moms to The Hannah House.
By Gretchen Smith, a MissionCorps member