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New Beginnings at St. Ann's Center

May 7, 2024

This blog is part of a monthly reflection series from Sister Nancy Downing - CEO, St. Ann's Center. 
Find more of these reflections by visiting the archive: Sister Nancy's Note.

This has been my first Spring in the DMV and at St. Ann’s Center, and it has been extraordinary! The beauty and vibrancy of the colors of the trees, bushes and flowers match the beauty and vibrancy of the community here at St. Ann’s.

Just last week one young mother and her brave-faced toddler daughter arrived at St. Ann’s with a family member who brought them to us. It was Move-In Day, and this mother-and-daughter pair had arrived to begin their St. Ann’s journey to a brighter future.

Earlier that day, a volunteer group of high school girls had generously re-painted our curbs and driveways in white and yellow. At one point I looked out my window and witnessed the beautiful scene of the girls singing and dancing as they painted in the warm sunlight. Their gift of providing a bright, clean and welcoming first impression for Mom and daughter, was given with so much joy.

Then, as Mom and daughter approached our front doors, St. Ann’s staff came out to help transfer the family’s few belongings - backpacks and plastic bags with clothing and personal effects - from the truck into rolling carts, which we pulled through St. Ann’s front doors into our lobby.

Mom also clutched a small bag of diapers and baby wipes – precious, critical items for young families. Thankfully, Mom will never have to worry about these items while at St. Ann’s.

While Mom helped guide our staff, her daughter waited patiently with her family member on the couch in our lobby. Her eyes flicked from the colorful stack of children’s books, to the airplane-shaped “rocking horse”, to the bright blue bird decals soaring across our walls. Mom and daughter both wore expressions of excitement, nervousness, and relief – all normal experiences on a family’s first day at St. Ann’s.

At last, Mom and daughter boarded the elevator to our Hope House program, where they would find a freshly-painted, furnished room waiting for them. In the days ahead they will unpack their things, get settled, and slowly but surely begin to meet everyone: our Residence staff, our Child Care Center, our Education and Employment Program team, our Clinical and Social Work Services team, and the other moms and children.

And when they’re ready, Mom and daughter will begin to make their room – and St. Ann’s Center – their very own, as they walk together towards a hope filled future, with all the beauty and vibrancy of Spring and St. Ann’s.

Thank you for making this possible! This mom and daughter were just one of THREE families who moved in to St. Ann’s during the last week of April, thanks to you. We are so grateful for the gifts of joy which help brighten moments like this one for moms and children at St. Ann’s. 


Sister Nancy Downing, CND
CEO, St. Ann's Center for Children, Youth and Families

Thank You for Making Hope Blossom!

On May 8th, 360 friends and supporters gathered at Columbia Country Club for Hope Blossoms – our event celebrating and supporting the women and their children who journey with St. Ann’s Center

Whether you joined us in person or in spirit, thank you for helping to make this event a success! Click here to recap the highlights and memorable moments from Hope Blossoms 2024.

About St. Ann's Center

St. Ann’s Center helps mothers and children overcome crisis and achieve lasting independence and stability by providing a safe and supportive home, child care, education and employment assistance, and clinical social work services within a Catholic community that welcomes all.

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