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Miracle Place – drop in for Hope

Miracle Place, in Indianapolis, is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.

Miracle Place, in Indianapolis, is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind.

Driving down 10th Street in Indianapolis towards Temple, one sees the challenges of life that residents in this urban neighborhood face daily. A few houses and buildings seem deserted; others need repairs. At 940 North Temple, however, stands a bright blue house that is a beacon of Providence and hope, a place of welcome where small miracles happen every day.

Ten year old Jamille made me a believer recently when he came bounding into Miracle Place proudly displaying his report card for the third quarter. He had a right to be happy. He had A’s in Spanish, music and art. The real miracle he told me, however, was that he had improved several grades in math and is now well on his way to doing even better. In August, he was failing when his teacher recommended that he go to Miracle Place.

When I asked what made the difference, he answered quickly. “Sister Rita Ann [Wade]. She went over and over my multiplication tables with me until I really knew them. She explained fractions to me so that I could understand them.”

Jamille added that no one in his school or at his home had had time to explain things as carefully to him as Sister Rita did. No one had encouraged him the way that she did. That’s why he wanted to show her his report card.

“If Miracle Place was not here, I would still be flunking math,” Jamille said. However, with ever improving grades in hand, he is now thinking about high school and imagining himself at Indiana University.

Jamille, 10, is a "Miracle Place kid."

Jamille, 10, is a “Miracle Place kid.”

Opened in August 2000, Miracle Place is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence that radiates simplicity and aims to create an environment where neighbors can meet and create “a strong sense of community and place.”

Enter Miracle Place and you are in a comfortable living room that leads you to a dining room table where co-directors, Sister Barbara McClelland and Sister Rita Ann, are ready to have you sit down and share with them your story at that moment.

The mission of Miracle Place, they state, is “to offer hospitality, care and concern, to be a place of spiritual refreshment where all who come may find refuge, where all who are severely tried may be comforted, where all who are lonely may find companionship and where those without hope may find a renewed spirit.”

To fulfill this mission, the Sisters along with volunteers and a couple staff members welcome those who drop in throughout the day. They listen to their concerns about their daily lives, about repairs needed in their homes, about difficulties with paying bills and about happenings in their neighborhoods. Everyone leaves with hope and some practical way of addressing the concern they brought.

Staff and volunteers provide a rich menu of activities, as well. For the children, there are afterschool activities like homework help, arts and craft projects, music, and vigorous workouts. Those gathering after school always begin their time together with prayer and end with a healthy snack. Children who come to Miracle Place identify themselves as “Miracle Place kids” and regularly report their progress in school and life to the Sisters and other staff. Adults and senior citizens can participate in cultural and educational opportunities. Persons of all ages enjoy field trips.

Miracle Place thrives on relationships. Just visit AMiraclePlace.org and you will discover the network of supporters and volunteers that sustain the mission and ministry of Miracle Place.

Thanks to the support they receive from donors and others and in response to growing needs and demand for services, Sisters Rita Ann and Barbara recently acquired an adjoining parcel of land and will expand Miracle Place in the next few months.

More space, more miracles. Lots more possibilities for youth like Jamille and his friends.

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Sister Cathy Campbell

Sister Cathy Campbell

Sister Cathy Campbell, SP, is a freelance writer and editor. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality from Catholic Theological Union/Chicago. Sister Cathy also ministers as a retreat facilitator for the Providence Spirituality and Conference Center with special interests in scripture and the mystics.

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  1. Avatar Jean Kenny, s.P. on May 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Whatsoever you do to the least of my people that you do unto me…what a compassionate and life-giving ministry–full of hope!

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