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Women at SVdP’s Catherine Center are ‘children of God and loved unconditionally,’ director says

04 St. Raymond Class of 1967 _ 50th reunion - attendee photo PAGEREUNION: Menlo Park’s St. Raymond School Class of 1967 celebrated their 50th reunion Oct. 6, 7. “Spearheaded by Tim Johnston, and attended by 20 classmates, the reunion was a huge success,” the school said. The weekend included stops at the school’s pumpkin festival and a Saturday night barbecue hosted by Tim at his home. “The class had a wonderful time catching up and reminiscing.”

December 7, 2017
Tom Burke

04 Vivian Clausing THUMBSVdP’s Catherine Center, a resident facility helping women transition from incarceration back into society, was “born of a shared dream” of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Mateo County and the Sisters of Mercy, program director Vivian Clausing told me. The center opened in 2003. Vivian took the reins about three years ago. While she is an attorney, she is leaving the barrister at home these days. “I am not a lawyer here,” she said. “I am a mom here.”

Catherine Center is “a faith-based program,” Vivian said, “and we support our women’s growth in mind, body and spirit. Rooted in the values of mercy, love and compassion, we accompany our clients on their individual journeys. Each is a child of God, and each is loved unconditionally.”

Catherine Center has welcomed 124 women since it was founded but they and those who follow are not the sole beneficiaries of the center’s efforts. “Because women are wives, mothers, and grandmothers, the ripple effect touches families, as well as the communities in which they live,” Vivian said.

While at Catherine Center women complete an intensive drug and alcohol treatment program and return to work or school. Today, several are pursuing education in fields such as drug and alcohol counseling, the trades and culinary arts while others may take classes at the community college and university level.

The bond with Catherine Center continues, Vivian said. “After they complete the program our women often remain in the area and stop by to visit and support the newer women” and even if they have left the area most stay in touch.

The holidays at the center are “a special time,” Vivian said. “We are blessed with many faithful volunteers who help to make our women feel loved and supported.”

“Come, Lord Jesus Come,” is the center’s Advent/Christmas prayer. Seasonal opportunities for residents include weekly Scripture and spirituality classes. “There are also wonderful mini-retreats and evenings of reflection during the holiday season that help keep our focus on the meaning of Christ in our midst rather than on consumerism and material goods,” Vivian said.

Catherine Center receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of others to meet expenses.

“We are grateful for anything people can contribute to help provide food, clothing and support for our women,” Vivian said.

Monetary donations should be mailed to SVdP’s Catherine Center, 50 North B St., San Mateo 94401.

You can find more about SVdP’s Catherine Center at www.svdpsm.org.

04 St.Greg.jpeg HALFOPERA AND COOKIES: A busy few days brought the San Francisco Opera and fundraising for a very worthy cause to St. Gregory School, San Mateo. The opera visited Oct. 17 with “Cinderella.” Student participants are coached by the guest professionals and act out scenes with them from the chosen work. The trained singers perform between the dialogue scenes. Pictured are cheerleaders Angelina Paolinelli and Erin Colville who with the almost 20 other members of the cheerleading team held a bake sale to benefit the Mills-Peninsula breast cancer research center. Students wore pink accessories, helped raise awareness and raised more than $1,000.

POKEMONSIGNOR: No it is not a new search game but I hope it got your attention and can help me point you toward the new Archdiocese of San Francisco website: http://sfarchdiocese.org/. It’s the good work of a number of people here including and especially communications leadership Mike Brown, Jan Potts and John Gray. The website is easy to use, has been designed to read well on mobile devices and is even appealing to those of us older folk who are more Facelift than Facebook. In a recent meeting of us chancery grunts, Jesuit Father John Piderit called the site a pivotal link with the faithful here and especially younger people who are incredibly savvy with modern technology. Hats off to all who have played a part in getting the site launched. All offices at the pastoral center can be reached on the website and representatives from each of the ministries were onboard to help in the hammering out of the site.

RIGHT CLOSE BY: Jesse Romero a longtime host on Immaculate Heart Radio now Relevant Radio speaks Dec. 16 at St. Bruno Church, 555 W. San Bruno Ave., San Bruno, after the 4:30 p.m. Mass in English, and after the 7 p.m. Mass in Spanish. Romero holds a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville. Admission is free but freewill offerings will be accepted. www.saintbrunos.org; (650) 588-2121.

A Christmas Turkey Drive takes place Dec. 16, St. Emydius Parish, DeMontfort and Jules avenues, 9 a.m.-noon, all donations benefit St. Anthony’s. Pierre Smit, sfpierre@aol.com.

Email items and electronic pictures – hi-res jpegs - to burket@sfarch.org or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. Reach me at (415) 614-5634; email burket@sfarch.org.

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