Donations are no longer being accepted.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Here We Go!!!

Drop off to either Schnuck's locations in Bloomington or Normal, Extreme Motors, or Radio Bloomington.

Additional DROP OFF LOCATIONS until November 21st:
·        Wiebring Gold Club, ISU, 800 Gregory St., Normal IL, Contact Laura Provost 309-438-8065
·        ISU Fitness Center, 347 S. University, Normal, IL, Contact Valerie Curtis 309-438-7058
·        Talbots, 1515 E. Empire St, Bloomington, IL, Contact Alayna Getchell 309-662-6873 (W), 309-533-5226 (Cell)
·        Morris Tick, 501 E. Stewart St, Bloomington, IL, 309-828-6084
·        Steve Haas, State Farm Agent, 2315 E. Empire, Bloomington, IL   61704, 309-662-3456
·        Jem’s Hair Studio and Spa, 1328 E. Empire, Bloomington, IL, 309-665-0075 (collecting year-round)
·        Resurrection Lutheran Church, 4114 E. Oakland, Bloomington, IL   61704, 309-663-8252, (collecting year-round, drop-off box outside of church)

House News

Bob Sampson and Tina Sipula attending the Midwest Catholic Worker gathering at 
Great Oaks in Lacon, IL.  Over 200 people were in attendance.

by Tina Sipula

     And so, the hottest summer of our lives is behind us, and the ramifications of what that means to the farmers has not yet been tallied, or how that will reflect on our grocery costs.  A few gardeners were able to share some of their produce with us, but not as much as in the years past.  My canning this year lasted only about two days, which resulted in a few batches of tomatoes, some hot peppers and some hot pepper jelly.  Perhaps some fall produce will hit the porch with the cool weather now and folks can enjoy the nourishment of fresh squash and perhaps some beets and greens.  Thanks to all who shared, because it is so seldom the people in our lines get to eat fresh food.
     Many thanks go to Moira Sennett, who came and spent her annual 10 days at Clare House this summer.  Moira took on the project of updating our mailing list.  This was a huge project the Wednesday volunteers started months ago, but Moira tackled it and wrote out our “delete list” by hand until her fingers cramped.  She also took charge of the house with Sr. Glenda so Bob and I could have a little time away.  There is very little private time for us here at Clare House with the door bells and phone seemingly constantly ringing, so we are so grateful for the opportunity to have a break and enjoy some time together. 
     A few weeks ago, the warehouse that stores our food from our annual food drive, warned us that we would probably run out of food before our food drive starts in November.  We contacted some of the local media, and the response has been wonderful!!  We now will be able to make it and keep our doors open until the food drive begins on November 1.  Some local businesses have pledged to collect food for us beginning now and continuing until our food drive ends on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 21.  If you would like to drop off food, the following places will accept food for us during their regular business hours:  I.S.U. golf course at Gregory and Adelaide Streets in Normal, the I.S.U. Fitness Center at 347 S. University St. in Normal, and Morris Tick Co. at 501 E. Stewart St. in Bloomington.
     Our Annual Holiday Food Drive is sponsored by Extreme Motors, Radio Bloomington and both Schnuck’s Supermarkets.  This food drive is what we rely on to keep our doors open all year long.  If you can help by putting a box out at your church, business or school, we would very much appreciate it.  It is these “mini food drives” that collectively help us reach our goal of 8 to 9 semi-truck loads of food.  If you would like to volunteer to help during the food drive, we need a couple of hundred people to sort the food at the warehouse twice a week during the month of November.  If you would like to have fun doing this with a great group of people, please call Mike Marvin at:  829-1518.
     In the July-August 1940 issue of “The Catholic Worker,” Dorothy Day wrote of “The Agony of the Poor,” which is still appropriate today:
“Our greatest misery is our poverty which gnaws at our vitals, which is an agony to the families in our midst.  And the only thing we can do about it is to appeal to you, our readers, begging your help.  Those of you who read this, those of you who have helped us before, please help us.  We are stewards, and we probably manage very badly in trying to take care of all those who come, the desperate, the dispossessed.  Like Peter, they say, “To whom else shall we go?” and they are our brothers in Christ.  They are more than that; they are Christ appearing to you.  So please help us to keep going.  Help these suffering members of the sorrowing Body of Christ.”

Scenes from the Soup Kitchen

Photos, clockwise, starting in upper left hand corner:
1.      Ready to serve!,
2.      Nancy McCriskin and Debbie Mizer bagging meatballs.
3.      Debbie Mizer making chicken salad
4.      Serve it up!
5.      Making chicken salad
6.      Ladies preparing the meal

In Giving We Receive

By Jennifer Poncin

I have been helping at Clare House for almost a year.  I moved to Bloomington/Normal 3 years ago and was looking for a place where I could help others; back home, there was a local school that put on a Thanksgiving dinner for the hungry in the area, and when we moved here, I had trouble finding a place to help out that was truly in need.  There are a lot of opportunities to give in the B/N community and the fact that many places have plenty of help speaks volumes of the people who live and serve here.  But I found that Clare House had a specific need for people who could help at times I was available, and I started coming regularly to pass food out the door.  I love seeing the gratitude on the faces of those we serve, and I love that I've been able to bring my kids to help as well.  My youngest boy has come to pass out diapers, and my middle school daughter spent her summer vacation working at the soup kitchen.  It is truly rewarding work, and it's an opportunity for me to give in a way that I can; with 5 kids and one income, we can't afford to give financially, but it's nice to know that my time is appreciated just as much as if I were to make a monetary donation. 
     Seeing the efficient way that Clare House is run is impressive.  Every little thing is given away, no matter how small.  And the people I work with are pretty amazing; you never knew people who were such joyful givers of themselves!  I'm very fortunate to be involved with this organization.

The Door-Doer

By Donna the “Door-Doer” Boelen

There are many volunteers and donors that provide for the needs at Clare House.  Most are visible only to those within the walls of the building.  However, there is one person who is visible to those who stand in line week after week to receive a single bag of groceries.  That person is at the side door on Wednesday and Friday for distribution of the donations.  The one at the door sees the face of those who are frequent visitors and hears words of thanksgiving from them. Many become familiar to the point of being able to anticipating their need for diapers, baby food, etc.  In many ways they are part of Clare House’s extended family.
The person who takes the door is affectionately referred to as the “door-doer.”  I have been fortunate to have served in that capacity.  Seeing the smiles, receiving the blessings and words of thanksgiving make me feel warm inside.  Often I may have to decline a request by saying; “you get what you get,” “there are no more______”(fill in the blank) or just “no”.  At those times I realize how difficult it can be to say “no” to friends or family members, especially one’s children.
This has led me to reflect on the human relationship with God.  Humans are full of joy and thanksgiving when God responds favorably to our petitions and needs.  But we question and doubt God’s decision to decline our requests.  Given that we are God’s children who are loved unconditionally, I wonder how much more difficult it might be for Him or Her to respond; “No”.  But in my heart, I believe that God will eventually answer our prayers if we are patient and persistent.

A Note from the Editor

By Nancy L. Cruse

          With this issue of the Clare House newsletter we are kicking off the Annual Food Drive.  The thought that kept running through my head as I put together the articles submitted by the wonderful volunteers was “we are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:20)  And as I saw the many talents and abilities each one brings to their volunteering, “There are many kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
          It never ceases to amaze me how God uses every talent and ability available, big or small, publicly or behind the scenes, old or young, to accomplish the task He sets before us.  Is God calling you to use your talents in a new way?  Your help is needed to make this year’s food drive a success!  Whatever you can do, know that it is of worth and value and helps to accomplish the goal! 

Food Drive for the Clare House Food Pantry at Weibring Golf Club

The Weibring Golf Club will be serving as a collection point for the Clare House Food Pantry September 12 through mid-November.
Please feel free to deliver canned goods, boxed food items or any non-perishable items to the collection area in the Weibring clubhouse.
          High protein items, canned fruit, and baby formula are in especially high demand.
          Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness!

Weibring Golf Club
Illinois State University

800 W. Gregory Street
D.A. Weibring Drive
Normal, IL 61790
Phone:  (309) 438-8065


By Mary Kasher

People at Clare House 
Work hard and laugh much
We need to help all  
And always keep in touch

Caring for others
The name of the game
We love all who come here
None of whom we name

Flowing with kindness
We work hard and we toil
Sometimes Tina has us 
working the soil

The garden is small but 
The veggies shine through
Giving us fresh produce 
And some canning to do

People are so generous
The donations always come through
God continues to bless them
And gives us plenty to do

Clare House ,Clare House
provides a way for those in need
Clare House, Clare House
to work there is a really good deed

So many at Clare House 
Have figured a way
To help out the poor and brighten their day

Clare House , Clare House ----for those we do PRAY!

Feed the Body, Feed the Mind

by Bill Tolone

 Mike Marvin and Tina Sipula

 Stocking the Library

The Finished Library!

          For the past 35 years, Clare House has provided food for thousands and thousands of families and individuals.  Every year, we wonder whether we will have enough food to stay open each week.  This year is no different and we are experiencing a huge shortage of food until our shelves can be replenished by the annual Thanksgiving food drive.  Already, generous people have responded to this need with donations, but we have a long way to go.  Please consider helping us in any way you can.

          While "feeding the body" has always been our main concern, this year marks a new mission for Clare House as we have set up a Free Library in front of the building so that we can also "feed the minds" of those who come to our door for help.  Learning to read is so essential;  when someone learns to read, he or she becomes "free" to not only be more educated in general, but also to become more spiritual.  This was stated very clearly by Anton Bosch when he said:  " Just as what we feed our bodies will determine its health, so what we feed the mind will determine our spiritual health."  

          For the past few weeks, I have come to Clare House around 12:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays, when people are beginning to line up for food, and I have given books to parents and children.  I tell them to look inside our Library for other books in which they may be interested.  My hope is that they will see that a real person is bringing books to the Library and is encouraging them and their children to read.  It's especially so rewarding to see the children interested in these books.

          So, as you think of donating food to Clare House, which we desperately need, check for books in your home that you can share with others.  Bring them to our Library and put them in.  You will be amazed, as I have been, at the turnover in books as they are being shared .  Let's continue to feed Clare House people with food and books.


Many thanks to the following men who have done great work for us here at Clare House.  If you need some work done, give them a call!

·        Brad Davis at 309-275-6027 for all around home improvements.
·        Jose Sanchez at 309-275-0821 for cement work and snow removal.
·        Gary Calhoun at 309-242-8041 for architectural metal work and roofing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


By Tina Sipula

     Spring was short-lived here in Central Illinois, but with it and the Lenten Promise of hope and resurrection, we were very blessed by the generosity of several churches and organizations that did food drives for us.  We thank two churches, especially, Holy Apostles Orthodox Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church, who annually collect food for us during the whole Lenten Season.  Both churches get their youth groups involved to collect and deliver the food during their 40 days of fasting and good works.  Truckloads of canned goods and dry goods were hauled in by young strong arms each week and we are encouraged to be witnesses of their faith in action.
     Last week was the annual Postal Worker’s food drive, and we were blessed to receive a truckload of food from the generosity of many within our community.  We have been promised a collection from the Mennonite Church this summer, and we hope that more churches or organizations or Bible Study Camps would adopt us also.  It is these mini-food drives that help us get through the summer months when our numbers in the line and at the soup kitchen swell.
     Approximately 80-100 people are in our food line, and our soup kitchen, “Loaves and Fishes,” feeds about the same number of folks each week.  With school letting out soon, we know there will be many children at our door and at our tables.  Last week, one of our benefactors donated 90 Subway sandwiches to the soup kitchen, and it was a real treat!  For the past few months, Schooner’s Restaurant has donated soup and bread to “Loaves and Fishes,” and we all feel as if we have suddenly gone gourmet!  One day, while feasting at Schooner’s, I was so impressed with their tomato basil soup that I asked for the recipe.  One of the owners of the restaurant replied, “Better yet, we will make it and bring it to you with homemade bread from the Grove Street Bakery!”  We pray it is a relationship that will last a long time!
     Our annual summer visitors, Fr. Patrick Caveglia and Moira Sennet will arrive to bless our home in July.  Fr. Patrick has been vacationing here at Clare House since we opened in 1978, but it is more of a vacation for me, as he takes over much of the cooking, pitches in at the soup kitchen and helps Bob and I put up sweet corn for the winter.  Moira has been helping out every summer for about a dozen years and loves our trips to the soup kitchen and helps me can and freeze what is donated from local gardens.  As a teacher of English and Theology, she scours the Clare House library and works on lesson plans to promote moral and ethical teachings to combat a world seemingly gone mad with consumerism, war, and injustice and a church hierarchy that runs rampant with rules, rubrics and sexism.  Moira also gives Bob and me a little break so we can take our summer week off so we can have time to ourselves. August means many gardens will be flourishing.  For the first time, Illinois Wesleyan University is growing a garden for us, and we are delighted!  The people in our lines seldom get fresh produce, so we are happy to pass it on to them each summer and autumn.  If you have extra to share, just put it on our front porch with any bags you may have, and it will disappear very quickly.  (I swear there are people living in our front yard tree and just watch for what lands on the porch!)
     We dedicate this humble issue to how small things can make a big difference in the world.  Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, dedicated her life to living the Gospel, among the destitute, the homeless, the sick and unwanted and worked “little by little” to restore them to dignity and self-respect.  If everyone does their little part, what a different and blessed world this would be!

Photos of our Helpers....

Back to Front:  Lilly Gudeman, Reece Bauer, Violet Gudeman
The girls are placing homemade corn muffins from The Grove Street Bakery on a tray.
Hiram Gudeman, age 5
Sweeps the floor at the  soup kitchen.

Tina having fun at the soup kitchen!

Jerry Green and Mike McNeil clean off trays.

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

Do Small Things with Great Love

“What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.  The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things.  But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
    -Mother Teresa of Calcutta
(Albania-born Indian Missionary and Founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.
  Nobel Prize for Peace awarded in 1979.  1910-1997)

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to all those who do “small things with great love.”  We can’t all discover a cure for cancer, negotiate a peace settlement, or invent Facebook, but we can change the world one word, one thought, or one deed at a time.  If your church, group, school, department at work, or neighborhood is looking for a service project, please consider a food drive to support the Clare House.  Together, we can accomplish something wonderful!
          -Nancy Cruse, editor

In Their Own Words...

Girl Scout Troop 1335
Food Drive

In February, Girl Scout Troop 1335 from Sugar Creek Elementary in Normal, headed up by Christy McBride did a food drive for the Clare House as a service project.  In their own words, the girls share about the experience and helping others meant to them.

“I felt happy about doing the food drive and it was really fun.  It was the nicest thing for Clare House.  Also was surprised of how many can goods we got out of all the kids (in our troop).  It was fun!”
                              -Madisyn Gravitt

 “I had fun going around houses to get can goods.  It was fun!  It was nice to get can foods for Clare House even though it was cold.  It was nice for us to do that.”
                              -Kai Curtis-Watts

“The thing I like about going on the food drive was we got to hang out with friends and donating stuff to others, but I also hated it our troop leader lost her gloves and we had to go look for them.  The first thing we had to do was memorize a thing that we were going to say when we asked for donations.  I love the food drive!”
                              -Naomi Barth

“I thought it was awesome to collect food.  One reason was because I got in the group of my best, best, best friend.  We collected lots and lots and lots of food.”
                              -Allison McBride

“I had lots of fun while I was gathering food on Hanson with Maddie and Sierra.  It was fun because I got to go to Maddie’s house and my house!  This one creepy guy gave us a TON of popcorn.”
                              -Megan O’Connell

“I felt good about the food drive.  My best friend was in my group!”
                              -Grace Skeate

            “I thought the food drive was creative way for girls to give people food and have fun at it.  I think girls should join Girl Scouts and have fun.”
                              -Madison McCraw

“I feel good helping people.  The food drive is a fun way to do that.”
                              -Ella Nicolaides

          “I think the food drive was really fun.  It was fun helping to help people.”
                              -Aresa Anderson

          “When I did the food drive, I felt like I was helping people who couldn’t afford food that my family can.  I felt I was going around to ask people to donate food for a good reason.  I appreciated the people who would donate food to people that couldn’t afford the food.  I was glad to help out people that weren’t as fortunate with money as my family.”
                              -Paige McBride   

      “I had fun and felt really good because I knew I was doing something good.”
                              -Morgan Forrest

God Bless America and the Clare House

Food Drive on the Fourth of July

By Nancy Cruse

          In the Crestwicke subdivision, we have an annual tradition on the Fourth of July.  Our neighborhood puts on a parade to show our love for our country and our gratitude for those who serve in the military. In 2006 we added another element to the parade:  a food drive for the Clare house.  In addition to decorating bikes, pets, and golf carts, the neighborhood starts dropping donations off to our front porch from June 20th to July 4th.  We also collect food as we walk the parade route.  The first year we collect 257 items.  Last year, our 6th year, we were able to drop off nearly 3000 items to the Clare House Food Pantry. 
          What are you doing this Fourth of July?  Does your neighborhood have a parade?  Are you going to a family reunion?  Maybe you could incorporate helping those in our community who are in need by asking your friends and family to bring donations for the Clare House.
          Even the smallest food drive makes a big difference!

A Quote from Helen Keller

 “I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
I will not refuse to do
The something I can do.
-Helen Keller

Thank you to Trish Tilton for contributing this quote from Helen Keller.  In Trish’s word, “Proof that little things make a big difference.  One person, one act of kindness, one great idea, one decimal point, one smile, one touch, one minute, one second…they all have the power to make a huge difference.  So do we all!”

Small Things Make a Big Difference



By Edward Ramos, Jr.

You may read this title and say, “Wow that is true.”  But let’s think about it.  How many of you have seen a hole in a stone caused by the continual run of water drops?  Or how many have seen a kitchen sink stained by the continual drip of water from the faucet?  Small things over time can make a big difference. 
How about when we serve others or give?  Every week volunteers deliver food and other items to Clare House, everything from a tooth brush to diapers to bags of groceries.  Whatever the size, even the small things help make a difference in the lives of so many that cannot afford to feed themselves.  Every bag of groceries assembled for distribution has a combination of many small things that make a big difference in a person’s life.  They include vegetables, protein, fruit, soup and toiletries.  You might think that a little donation of one or two items doesn’t matter, but they do.  As the volunteers stack and package these bags of care, they include small things; things that show concern and empathy for another’s burden; and that is big.
Even the volunteers come in all sizes, from small to big, from children to adults.  Many times there are cub scouts or children with their parents that deliver groceries.  These kids are truly amazing, carrying large bags that sometimes are larger than themselves, but they make that big difference, all the while huffing and puffing from the car to our door.  Even Jesus spoke many times about the small things in this world, the birds of the air, the scattered seed or the little children: 

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

Today giving someone a cup of cold water in the United States is nothing much, it may be considered insignificant.  You can buy bottled water in a supermarket or visit a public building and locate a water fountain.  But in some parts of the world, it is a big thing because many water supplies are dirty, diseased, or contaminated.  If a small cup of water is associated with a reward, how about toiletries, or groceries, or other donations.  Truly these are other “small things” but they will make a “big difference” in a person’s life, or their family.  Thanks again for giving the small things and making a big difference, either through giving, volunteering or donating.

Coming together to help the Clare House

MUSIC CONNECTIONS FOUNDATION teams with US Cellular Coliseum to Sponsor Clare House Food Drive at Central Illinois Drive Basketball Game

By Kathryn Henderson– Founder/Director,
Music Connections Foundation

I often dream about what the world would be like if people of all races, colors and religions came together and shifted their day to day focus from how to provide for self to “How can I be a contribution?”   This is a prayer I use daily:  “Lord, show me, today, how I can be a contribution.”   The act of looking for ways to help, however, often gets buried in day to day “must dos” – the logistics of daily living.   Perhaps you’ll consider a raised awareness over the next months to reaching OUT, to others, instead of IN, to ‘self.’   Here’s a secret: it makes a difference for others, but it also makes a difference to the giver.  You’ll receive more than you give.  
In March we learned that a scheduled food drive in conjunction with a Central Illinois Drive basketball might not happen.   We, at Music Connections Foundation (MCF), who serve well over 300 (primarily middle class) families each week with an early childhood music program, took action.  Time was short, and the results of what we could do were unknown, but, in blind faith, we moved to action, thinking that some action was better than no action, after all.  The folks at the US Cellular Coliseum were wonderful, offering discounted tickets to incentivize donations, providing receptacles, and even delivering the food to Clare House on our behalf.   The Drive Basketball team supported us as well. We combined an awareness day for Kindermusik – our program that makes a difference in optimal early childhood development – with an effort to give back.   Our MCF Families brought in non-perishable goods to class for two weeks, or to the “Drive” basketball game that Saturday.  In return for bringing an item, they received a discounted ticket to the game that day;  they visited our promo “booth,” where they could purchase a tee shirt to further our Not for Profit cause of reaching needy families with music education in the early years, or register for free giveaways.   We provided free tickets to some families enrolled in some of our own not-for-profit initiatives – what a wonderful chance to see a first-rate professional basketball team!    Some of our Kindermusik “graduates” sang the National Anthem that day.   One highlight

was when one of our good friends – of both Clare House and Kindermusik – came in the door with wagons and boxes full of sanitary products she had collected in response to information about Clare House’s specific need, for such products.   People of all ages and all religions and all races stepped forward to help others they did not, nor never would, know.  I dream of a world dedicated to reaching out!  I believe in the possibilities, and the innate nature of good in people.  And I believe that, with each of us doing our part – even a small part - the world would be a better place! 

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.
-Frank Howard Clark

Mustard Seeds are Very Small

Mustard Seeds are Very Small

Jesus said: "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move;  and nothing will be impossible to you."
(Matthew, 17:20)

            This is a familiar parable told by Jesus and present in the texts of more than one Gospel writer.  While it teaches a very basic lesson regarding our faith, it also has very practical applications in our lives.  If a small amount of faith can, in fact, "move mountains," then what we, as individuals, do, can make a great difference in the lives of many people.

            The generosity of people in our community is wonderful to behold.  While Clare House's annual food drive results in thousands of donated food items, we are continually blessed by individuals and families and churches and organizations who, throughout the course of each year, continue to bring food to us so that we can meet the weekly needs of many who come to our door.

            Do you know what goes into each bag of food at Clare House to be given to our sisters and brothers in need?  4 cans of vegetables, 4 cans of protein (such as beans, meat, tuna, spaghetti), 2 cans of soup, 2 cans of fruit, 2 or 3 other items such as pasta, cereal, cake or pancake mix, and whatever toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toilet paper) we have in stock.  As we place each can or item in a bag, it seems like such a small thing to help people deal with daily hunger and personal needs.  But, when each bag is full and heavy to lift, we realize that "small things, taken together, can make a difference" in people's lives. 

            Typically, each week we distribute 150-200 bags of food to our brothers and sisters; sometimes more.  Multiply that by 10-12 cans and items per bag and the number can be overwhelming--1500-2500 cans and items of food each week.  Multiply that by 52 weeks--well, you can see how each donation of even 1 can or item of food is necessary to meet the needs of folks in Bloomington-Normal.  Together, we, as individual "mustard seeds" can move a mountain and make a huge difference in people's lives.
            Today, with over 300 million people in the United States and over 7 billion people in the world, many of whom are living in abject poverty and hunger, it's easy to feel that we, as individuals, are unable to do much to help others; that one person can't make a difference.  But, that's not true, because together, our seemingly small efforts do add up to make a significant difference.  That's what happens at Clare House and why we feel so blessed to be in a community that cares for those who are less fortunate.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Food Drive at US Cellular Coliseum on March 24th!

Music Connections Foundation,
who offers Kindermusik to area families,
in conjunction with the Central Illinois Drive Professional Basketball team
and the U.S. Cellular Coliseum,
will sponsor a
Food Drive to benefit Clare House
on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Fans are asked to bring non-perishable goods (within date, please!)
to the 1:05 pm basketball game
and deposit in the receptacles provided.
For additional information regarding the basketball game, log onto

Clare House News
by Tina Sipula

     It is Ash Wednesday when I sit and write and the basement is full of volunteers bagging groceries for Friday’s hand-out. Bill, Bob, Kathy, Deborah, Ed, Mignon, are all on-deck to sort through many boxes of food to bag up at least 100 bags to be ready for Friday’s hand-out. They are a faithful crew who have been coming for years and years and laughter wafts up the stairs as they work.
     When they come in, we speak of Lent and ashes, and Bill and I were at the same Mass at 7:00 a.m., and Sr. Glenda reminds us that we are all made of “fairy dust” from God, and she used to tell the children at St. James parish in Decatur they were from “fairy dust.” I like that.
     I want to believe that we are all from the same dust that God created in the very beginning of the Universe. We are all the same. We are all from the very beginning and are all brothers and sisters. If the whole world believed in that, what a different world it would be. We strive to treat everyone as our brother or sister and greet each person as if they are Christ.
     At Christmastime, the Tinervan family came through again with turkeys for everyone in the line, and huge boxes of food and produce for everyone. Thankfully the weather was warm enough to hand out everything in the parking lot again this year. We give many thanks to the Tinervans for their annual Christmas donations, and we give thanks for the pledged support of the Gudeman family who are now on deck with us every week to help here and at the soup kitchen. They are a family of seven who weekly contribute and volunteer at the soup kitchen and here at the house. I feel like an auntie to the children who range in age from four to fourteen. What a blessing!
     Last Sunday I spoke at the Peace and Justice Group from the Mennonite Church and one of the members reminded us of the pacifism of Dorothy Day. We live in a world of such turmoil and violence. Let us pledge to work for a world of peace and justice every day of our lives. Many of the Catholic Workers I know put their lives on the line every day and are in jail for acts of civil disobedience protesting war and injustice. Please pray for them and all who work for peace and justice in the world.
     During this Lenten Season, please consider this passage from Isaiah, Chapter 58, vs. 6-7:

“This is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke;setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke;sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

Blessings for Lent and Easter,
Tina Sipula

Our Updated Wish List...

Stamps, celery, onions, chickens, hams, eggs, cheese, lunch meat, ground beef, chuck roasts, soup base, fruit, large cans of soup, tuna, tomatoes, baked beans, chili beans, hot dogs, buns, 1 gallon baggies, 33 gallon trash bags, small heavy paper plates, powdered drink mix, cereal, vegetables, macaroni and cheese, baby food, baby wipes, baby formula, diapers, toilet paper, sanitary pads, paper towels.

  • Money for: bills, taxes, insurance
  • Gift Certificates for grocery stores
  • Tickets to anywhere

Feeling Good at Clare House

by Bill Tolone

     When we volunteer at Clare House, it's easy to feel good when we think we're "making a difference" in people's lives by distributing food to our sisters and brothers in need. While there's some truth in this, it's dangerous to believe that only we are the ones helping others to grow and "help themselves." What is equally true is that, when our sisters and brothers come to us at Clare House in need of food, they are the ones who help us grow in many ways. We owe them thanks for this chance to act within God's plan. This is truly a win-win situation.
     What if Clare House didn't exist? Would our sisters and brothers still find food in other places within Bloomington-Normal? Probably. But, as part of the Catholic Worker Movement, Clare House provides a unique opportunity for all of us to show our love and concern for each other. What we do at Clare House does not result in monetary gain for anyone. Nor does volunteering at Clare House necessarily give us any privileged status. Being a part of Clare House is simply a way to show that we're all in this together.
     Many years ago, I read an article entitled "It's Not Easy Being Green," dealing with the topic of biracial or multiracial lineage. The author, who was biracial, talked about her difficulties in "fitting in" with others who were not--at least visibly--biracial or multiracial. At Clare House, it is easy being "green" because we realize that we all share many racial, ethnic, gender and lifestyle characteristics. In other words, we realize that in many ways we are all the same on this earth. We can talk with and relate to each other in so many ways. We can even come to better understand each other.
     So, who benefits the most from Clare House?

Annual Tradition Benefits Clare House

by Anne Murray

The Murray Family has gone "Caroling for the Clare House" for the past 2 years on December 23rd - we have always loved singing together, especially at Christmas, and we thought it would be a fun way to share music with our neighborhood in Rollingbrook South subdivision and give our neighbors the opportunity to share with the Clare House! 

A new addition to our tradition this year was the incorporation of the “Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest!” Pictured above: Laura, Joyce, and Amanda.

The day before my youngest son, Bryan, and I go around several streets in our neighborhood, hanging invitations on mailboxes to leave a bag on the porch the next night when we come by. This year, we had over 25 homes participate! Many were waiting outside or came to their doors to listen to us carol! Mike's parents, Bill & Joyce Murray, volunteered at the Clare House and have passed that down to their children and grandchildren! After we go caroling, we come back to our house for hot chocolate, Christmas goodies, and family time together! Looking forward to next year! 

Our son, Bryan on the left with his cousins Brady & Garrett Murray - silly hats went along with ugly christmas sweaters!


by Toby Gudeman

     “We who mystically represent the Cherubim and who sing to the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn.” Thus the Orthodox sing before the Great Entrance each Sunday, where the very ordinary looking people stand before God and sing representing those angelic beings, “six winged, many eyed, who soar aloft, borne on their pinions, singing the triumphant hymn; shouting, proclaiming, and saying: Holy, Holy, Holy” without ceasing. Great and glorious mystery that people who would not inspire a second look on the street should stand for those awesome ones who guarded the Garden of Eden, whose image was over the mercy seat, who filled Ezekiel's vision, and among whom God dwells.
     But there is another mystical representation that takes place, not surrounded in liturgy housed in a church, but outside the side door of a house on Washington street without ceremony. There those in need line up to receive food, drink, gloves, hats, blankets, diapers, wipes, baby food and formula. They look like people, people you see everyday, but they mystically represent the Son of God, Jesus Christ. For He said, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.' Food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, in faith believing to feed those at the door of the house on Washington street is to feed the King of Heaven. Who loves the Lord must hold these most dear. “Lovest thou me . . . Feed my sheep.”
    “Remember, O Lord, those who bring forth offerings and do good works in Thy holy churches, those who remember the poor, and upon us all send forth Thy mercies.”      

We Can't Leave Our Values At The Door

     The National Prayer Breakfast was on February 2, 2012. In his speech, President Barack Obama made mention of Dorothy Day as a “great reformer in American history.” Below is the quote from the President's speech:

“We can't leave our values at the door. If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat more perfect a union. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel -- the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action -- sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance.”

At the soup kitchen....

Tina Sipula, unloading cardboard for recycling and unloading soup at the soup kitchen.


by Sister Glenda Bourgeois

     During the past decade I have experienced a quantum awakening. Becoming more aware of the Journey of the Universe I have started to see the world differently and myself in a whole new way. This perspective (in my limited understanding of it) is exciting and integrative. It is the Mystery that invades and envelopes me. So, it is in this perspective that I offer a Lenten reflection.
     For many years each of us has celebrated symbol-filled liturgies that invite reflection on the mystery of life and death. We do this walking with Jesus as his life winds down to that moment when he passes from this life to life beyond life in resurrection, a truly transformative event.
     This journey of Jesus is iconic for every Christian in immediate as in ultimate ways. Death is integral to life. The pull and tug of self-dissolution --those little dyings by self denial, by delayed gratification and by fidelity to the truth of who we are--strengthens our capacity for self-transcendence.
     We become aware that in the life of Jesus as well as in the cosmic journey there is a giving over of life on behalf of ever- expanding creativity. The journey from death to life is the pattern of cosmic evolution. Death is part of the on-going development of the universe. We see this in many ways, one of which is the image of supernovas. A supernova is the death eruption of a star. Our earth and we ourselves were born out of such an event. The elements of the star that died find continuation in our earth and in our selves.
     Jesus invites reflection on this reality in words that John attributes to him: “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it will bear much fruit.” “I have come that they may have life, life to the full.” Here we are encouraged to accept the truth that death does not have the final say. We are invited to trust the Mystery at the heart of the process. Judy Cannato expresses the Mystery so succinctly.”In every moment of death there is release of the Spirit and in every movement of the Spirit there is resurrection and life.”
Death to life is a universal truth. It is the archetype for every life journey, the journey of the universe, the journey of Jesus and my own journey.