Day 72: Ray’s Story

Ray, born with multiple disabilities, including autism, seizure disorder and cerebral palsy, was cared for at home by his father. When Ray’s father became suddenly and unexpectedly ill, there was no family member able to give Ray the 24-hour care and supervision he needed. Arrangements were made to place Ray in Rose-Mary Center’s Respite Program.

Ray displayed severe, self-injurious behaviors. While he was able to walk, he spent most of his time strapped in a wheelchair. His arms and legs were restrained, he wore a helmet with a plastic face guard—all of which protected against self injury. As Ray’s stay in respite care continued, little by little, his behaviors were addressed and redirected. Soon his responses to the environment became more appropriate. He was able to walk, explore and participate in activities without those restraints.

Unfortunately, Ray’s father passed away. Rose-Mary Center began to search for a more permanent place for Ray, but there was not an opening at any facility that could meet Ray’s needs. The Center decided to keep Ray in respite care until a spot opened in the children’s treatment program.

Today, Ray is thriving. He is no longer bound by the confines of a wheelchair, with his hands and legs restrained. He has learned how to communicate his needs, he takes care of his personal needs, he feeds himself. Ray has a home.

Day 71: Servant Leadership

At Catholic Charities Community Services of Lake and Geauga Counties, Director Jim Clements carries the mission of Catholic Charities on his sleeve as he interacts with staff, customers and consumers.

He takes the concept of Servant Leadership to heart – as he tirelessly continues to minister and serve clients, coordinating programs and monitoring development.  His broad experience in social services has well-prepared him for today’s challenges.

Jim would be the first to acknowledge that faith and prayer have provided him the strength and resources to address the complexity of issues of serving those who are most vulnerable.  He represents the Catholic Charities values of dignity of person, concern for the poor, justice, hope and stewardship in every manner.  He embraces his role and models it to others who have been inspired and impacted by his leadership.

*This was submitted by an employee for a past St. Elizabeth of Hungary Award

Day 70: Good as Gold

Tonight, the 2012 Summer Olympics will commence in London – here at home, neighbors young and old will be glued to their TVs and computers cheering on Team USA and living vicariously through the best athletic talent our country has to offer.

When you watch these elite athletes – it’s easy to forget that they all started out the same way: as a kid who loved to play sports.  Many of these Olympians got their start through a program called CYO.

Here in the Diocese of Cleveland, our Youth & Young Adult Ministry and CYO office just got a big boost: a $20,000 grant from BP through its “BP’s Fueling Communities” initiative program. The contribution supports the training and support of more than 150 Athletic Directors who run CYO sports programs for more than 25,400 youth and adults in the 8 counties of Northeast Ohio.

This grant will allow us to “fuel” more dreams and perhaps even future Olympians.  In fact, one member of the CYO team knows first-hand how real that Olympic Dream can be.

Katie Marquard is the Athletic Director for CYO’s Lorain & West regions – her responsibilities include coordinating the Coaching Development Program, overseeing the Central & Lorain parishes, and directing a variety of sports. Prior to coming to CYO, Katie was the Executive Director of U.S. Speed skating for 16 years, where she was responsible for the organization’s programs from grassroots to elite athletes. She received her BA in Business from the University of Minnesota. Katie currently coaches CYO cross country and track for St. Bernadette as well as coaching speed skating for the Lakewood Club. Katie has experienced all levels of athletics as a participant, coach, and parent, including competing in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics in speed skating.

We are proud and honored to include Katie as part of our Catholic Charities family and can’t wait to see what dreams we help fulfil for the next generation of athletes!

The CYO program is celebrating 75 years of service to youth and families in Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Lorain, Summit, Ashland, Wayne, and Medina Counties in Northeast Ohio. CYO sports include Baseball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Football, Flag Football, Boys and Girls Soccer, Softball, Boys and Girls Track and Field, Wrestling, and Boys and Girls Volleyball. Since its beginning in 1937, CYO has maintained a commitment to turn no child away from its programs due to financial limitations.  CYO Athletics places the child, not the athletic activity or winning, at the center of CYO Sports programs. For more information visit:

Day 69: 50 Years

As we prepare to celebrate our 100th Anniversary, couples throughout the diocese are also celebrating 50+ years of marriage. The Department for Marriage and Family Ministry, the Office for Worship, and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist are pleased to announce the 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. The Mass will be held on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist with the Most Rev. Richard G. Lennon as the celebrant.

Hundreds of couples from all over our diocese come together to worship and give thanks for their life together. The couples are invited to share memories when they register for this event. Here are some memories shared by couples this past year:

  • “A special memory of our wedding day was, as we were kneeling at the altar, our pastor came out with a beautiful document. It was an Apostolic Blessing for divine graces from Pope John XXIII. The document has hung on our wall for 50 years. We certainly have been blessed.”
  • “We have been blessed to have each other and our two beautiful daughters. Our daughters and their spouses have blessed us with three grandsons. They are celebrating our 50th anniversary with us!”
  • “When we were married, I had been married before and had three children. My new husband not only adopted my children, but he accepted our Catholic faith and has attended Mass with us every week. He is an excellent husband and father and we have raised a good family.”
  • “The most memorable events of our marriage were the births of our three wonderful children. Their births and the raising of these children were the highest of blessings bestowed upon us by God during our lifetime together. We are very proud of each of them and their families, and we pray that they will always honor and defend God, family, and our beloved Country with its traditional values of freedom and virtue. We are so grateful to God for these and other blessings granted to us.”

These couples are powerful witnesses of God’s life and love. Marriage is a unique and profound relationship which is foundational for family, church and society. The Marriage and Family Ministry Office seeks to strengthen families and couples through marriage preparation and enrichment events, education, and ministry.

Day 68: St. Joseph’s Shelter

A few years ago there was a 36 year old man staying at the St. Joseph’s Shelter who had been in prison since the age of eighteen. The world he left had totally changed after eighteen years.  He was unable to find employment or housing, and it wasn’t long before depression set in.

The Human Services Worker at Catholic Charities Family Center set up an appointment for him with the liaison from the Nord Mental Health Center for an assessment. The Nord liaison was able to get him approved for some special benefits from Social Security Disability, designed especially for people who have been institutionalized for long periods of time. After his benefits began, this young man was able to get his own place and begin life anew.

Recently, a staff person from Catholic Charities ran into him at a local department store.  He is now married and they have a beautiful 3 month old daughter. His life has been stabilized both emotionally and financially, something he wasn’t sure would ever happen when he came to St. Joseph’s shelter and Catholic Charities Family Center of Lorain.


St. Joseph’s Shelter is one of six locations open to the public this weekend for community open houses – click here to learn more.

Day 67: A Summer of Independence

Submitted through Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County By Tessy F. and Sheila M.

For many families in America, spring is the time of year to start thinking about summer plans. Many parents consider sending their children to summer camp. They begin this process by considering the interests of their children, and what quality programs in the area match them. But for parents of children with special needs, finding that program can be a challenge.

This past spring, the Smith family (not their real name) took on that challenge. Their daughter, Mary, a fifteen year old with developmental delays and a seizure disorder, had never been to summer camp. Then one day, Mary came home from school with a brochure for the SumFun Day Camp.

Going away to camp had never seemed possible for Mary. According to her mother, Mary was painfully shy and worried a great deal about having a seizure in a public place. She was uncomfortable in settings where she did not have either her sister or one of her parents present to assist her. When they could not be present during the school day, for instance, Mary was accompanied by a nurse at all times. She did not attend social gatherings or enjoy after-school activities like other young people her age because she did not feel comfortable or confident of her safety in those settings. She missed a great deal of school due to her extreme shyness and anxieties about her health.

But the SumFun Day Camp seemed like it would be a good fit for Mary. There was a nurse on site and well-trained counselors. Since it was hosted at the local high school, she would be close to home in case of an emergency. And she would be home in her own bed every night. The activities certainly sounded like fun—who wouldn’t enjoy swimming, arts and crafts, and field trips? She apprehensively agreed to give it a try.

SumFun was an immediate hit for Mary! There were other campers there with whom she was able to socialize and develop lasting friendships. The activities were fun and exciting, and the counselors were kind and patient. Mary felt safe at SumFun.

Mrs. Smith reports that the Mary who enjoyed an awesome summer at SumFun Day Camp is now different from the Mary who formerly worried about her health in social situations. She has not missed a day of school, and has been telling her family that she wants to start enjoying her life more. Mary has since registered in the Recreational Respite program, a weekend recreation program for adolescents and adults with disabilities. There, she is able to spend time with friends she made during the summer, as well as make new ones. In October, she spent a night at Camp Christopher with the Rec Respite group. She also has gone to the zoo and out to dinner with her new friends. Mary is developing a social network of her own and having a great time doing it.

Trying something new can sometimes be difficult. Mrs. Smith was inspired by the SumFun brochure Mary brought home from school. Perhaps she thought, “This could be the answer to how we can keep Mary connected with other kids in the summer, and enjoy different activities at the same time.” As for Mary, taking those first steps through the adventuresome door to SumFun Camp has been well worth the risk. She had experienced a summer of independence!


Day 66: History Lesson (Pre-1912)

In these final weeks of the 100 days of sharing – we will be continuing with the “history lesson” from our first post with “chunks” of a timeline we plan to share in its entirety this fall.   Here, without further adieu, is the first “chunk” or Catholic Charities history in Cleveland – everything before the charity was officially established.

Please note, as most things dating back this long ago, some conflicting dates or facts may have been recorded – if you discover any discrepancies or errors, contact Samantha at smealy(at)clevelandcatholiccharities(dot)org to correct the error.


April 1847
Establishment of Diocese of Cleveland in the northern Ohio territory
with Bishop Louis A. Rappe serving as Bishop of Cleveland (1847 – 1870).

St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum for Females is established
for homeless females, run by the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, from France.

Bishop Rappe brought Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine from his native France in 1851 for the purpose of establishing a hospital.  The property on Monroe St. off W. 25th Street wasn’t ready  until 1852 – when St. Joseph Hospital was started.  By 1856, the sisters felt the need to care for abandoned and orphaned children – sometimes the children of patients who died. The hospital was closed in 1856 and St. Vincent’s Orphanage was established in the same building- which was later rebuilt.

St. Joseph Orphanage for Girls is established
in the “country” (E. 60th and Woodland) accepting the younger girls from St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum (up to age 8) [the two programs served up to 250 orphaned girls  at the turn of the century in 1900’s; the St. Joseph facility expands and houses all the girls in 1894; becomes St. Joseph Home for the Aged after 1947; the girls are transferred to Parmadale in 1948].

St. Vincent Charity Hospital opens
to “all the people of Cleveland.”

June, 1865
Society of St. Vincent de Paul is established
by Bishop Amadeus Rappe, to visit the poor in their homes and to “bring them succor in kind, and also to afford them religious consolidation.”

Little Sisters of the Poor
receive their first “guests” in their Home for the Aged.

DePaul Maternity and Infant Home was established
in conjunction with the St. Ann’s Maternity Hospital by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.  They also start the St. Ann’s Infant Asylum in this year, to care for the smallest children: foundlings or infants of the unwed mothers sheltered in the Maternity Home.

By this year there are 5 parishes with Conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul with visiting committees to call upon families in need.  Funds came from collections in meetings and from parishes.

An Orphan’s Fair raises close to $ 8,000 to be divided between 3 hospitals and an infant home.  “Begging tours” conducted by Sisters to raise funds to operate institutions are beginning to be described as “precarious” and “inadequate” as well as “distasteful” to the Bishop, pastors and the people.

All girls at St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum (all ages through 19) are transferred to St. Joseph Orphanage for Girls to expanded site on Woodland.

Home of the Holy Family is established
by Ellen Donovan originally outside of diocesan auspices.  The original plan was to establish a Roman Catholic religious community to serve the poor, and orphaned children, but rather it became an orphanage with funds from sewing and begging.  Ellen’s sister Theresa and others assisted.  [The home eventually received funds from Catholic Charities Corporation when it was first created in the early 1900’s; children eventually transferred to Parmadale in 1952].

The Cleveland Catholic Federation is assembled to promote the cause of the Catholic Welfare Institutions of the Diocese.  The Federation is formed with two members from each parish of the Diocese.

The Catholic Ladies Aid Society is formed as an auxiliary of the Cleveland Catholic Federation to assist with special projects for children.

St. Anthony’s Home for Boys is founded
under Bishop Ignatius F. Horstmann (Bishop of Cleveland from 1892 – 1908).

1907 – 1909
The Catherine Horstmann Home, named in honor of Bishop Horstmann’s mother, is opened by the St. Catherine Protective Association of the Catholic Ladies Aid Society for high school girls and unemployed women to get training in new skills.  The Labor Bureau of the St. Catherine Protective Association finds them jobs. [This operation later joined the House of Good Shepherd and became Marycrest (1946)].

The Traveler’s Aid service is sponsored by the Catholic Ladies Aid Society in the Union Depot to assist newcomers to Cleveland.

March 1909
Cleveland Catholic Federation solicits funds for orphans

October 1909
Bishop John P. Farrelly (Bishop of Cleveland from 1909 – 1921) appoints panel to study welfare needs of diocese and funding sources

April 1910
Board of Charities
formed with Fr. Gilbert Jennings, Chair; Fr. LeBlond, Secretary

Home of the Holy Family relocates to 18120 Puritas.

October 1911
Board of Charities recommends a home for orphans be established in cooperation with Cleveland Humane Society and Juvenile Court; recommends appointment of director to oversee welfare facilities of diocese;   pastors on the Board assess themselves to pay $1.50 for each family in their parish to support the welfare facilities.  Bishop Farrelly addresses letter to all parishes to adopt board’s recommendation.

Nov 1911
Bishop Farrelly appoints 28 yr old Fr. Charles H. LeBlond (’09) as first  Director of Diocesan Charities. 

The Catholic Charities Bureau of the St. Vincent DePaul Society is established for the purpose of providing coordinated formal social services. This is the result of a study of the Diocese’s welfare needs by the Diocesan Director of Charities and the Board of Charities.  It is the central agency and office of Catholic Charities of Cleveland with Father Charles LeBlond as Director, located in the Electric Building in the heart of Cleveland’s business district. Diocesan Catholic Population = 300,000 in 17 counties.  There are 750 orphans in 4 orphanages; 150 infants in one infant home (St. Ann’s); 9 hospitals; a home for working boys (St. Anthony’s); a home for working girls (St. Mary’s); a house of the Good Shepherd Sisters; a home for the Aged operated by Little Sisters of the Poor.  First staff:  Director LeBlond, Juvenile Court worker to investigate the status of court referred orphans/dependents, Catholic Ladies Aid Society volunteers working with Traveler’s Aid.

March 1912
Fr. LeBlond opens first Catholic Charities office
at East 9th and Prospect.

Catholic facilities in existence at this time:  4 orphanages; 1 infant home (St. Ann’s); 9 Catholic hospitals; St. Anthony’s home for working boys; Catherine Horstmann home for working girls; St. Mary’s home for dependent women; Good Shepherd Home for the Aged.

June 1912
Cleveland hosts National Conference of Charities and Corrections.