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Witnessing Moms Grow at St. Ann's Center

June 17, 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.

One day during the short Memorial Day week, I witnessed an interaction between one Mom and her daughter that has lingered in my mind and heart.

This Mom and child are both residing at St. Ann’s Center as they prepare for their next step forward into independent living. Mom had just returned from her 9-to-5 job, and she offered a hurried “Hello!” as she passed me on her way to retrieve her little one from our Child Care Center.

Then her little girl – so excited to tell Mom about her day – burst through the Child Care Center doors, skipping and talking a mile a minute, while wind milling her arms and absentmindedly whacking Mom’s legs with her lunch box and her newly created, 3D paper artwork.

Many of us have been there, I think – the end of a long day, a time when most adults crave just a bit of peace and quiet, and yet when children also seem to hit their peak energy and enthusiasm levels. Yet Mom gently knelt down beside her little one, helped collect her things, and placed a loving arm around her shoulder.

“How was your day?” Mom said. “Tell me about that artwork you made.”

Mom was able to pause in that slightly-hectic moment, even amidst the exhaustion that all parents know so well, and offer her daughter that moment of genuine connection and interest in her day.

Moments like this – achievements for any parent, guardian, or caregiver – are particularly encouraging here at St. Ann’s Center. Because whenever a mother can offer her child that patience, interest, and understanding, Mom is one step closer to being able to offer those same gifts to herself.

Like every family we encounter, this Mom and daughter will also have their share of “up” days and “down” days. Sometimes they will easily bond and deepen their connection, and other times it will be more challenging. But it is a marathon, not a sprint – and our moms seek progress, not perfection.

St. Ann’s Center’s role is to accompany Moms and their little ones on all the days – being present, supportive and uplifting on challenging days and helping them to celebrate every win, big or small, along the way.

Thank you for reading this note, and for continuing to support our mission!


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

P.S. – On June 3, Global Sisters Report published an in-depth article about the positive stories happening at St. Ann's Center. I encourage you to check out the article HERE, and share with someone you think should know about our mission!

Celebrate St. Ann's Day: Honoring Women and Empowering Families!

This year, on July 26 - St. Ann's Feast Day - we invite you to celebrate the mothers and their children at St. Ann's Center rewriting their futures. We will also honor the extraordinary women who have meant so much to you with a tribute page on our website. We are excited to share that The Raskob Foundation will generously match your donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000!

Support the families at St. Ann's Center - DOUBLE THE IMPACT - and honor a wonderful woman in your life with your tribute!

Your gift will be generously honored by The Raskob Foundation until August 30, 2024.

Make your gift at:

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.