Sister Lucia believes the beauty of art is only half the reward; the other half is tending to the human spirit. By encouraging guests to pick up a pencil or brush and begin creating, Sister Lucia has initiated a healing journey for many of the guests at Brother Francis Shelter, Complex Care, and Clare House. Activities like art provide a recuperative environment for guests to relax, reflect, and process the trauma of homelessness.

One guest attending Sister Lucia’s weekly art class enjoys listening to music on headphones while
she paints: “It’s a very peaceful experience.” When guests have the opportunity to process their experiences, they can build up the emotional wellbeing and personal resilience they’ll need to transition to permanent stability.

While painting alongside guests, Sister Lucia has listened to their stories and sees how they reflect on the
canvas. She admires people’s ability to endure hardship and counsels, “never undervalue
the artwork that look messy.” Creating art naturally requires us to extend ourselves. For many guests,
extending themselves and acknowledging what they’ve been through is the first step toward learning to overcome it.
“A few months ago, no one participated in the art lessons,” says Sister Lucia. “But now they’re more willing to express themselves.”

While services like shelter and case management meet more concrete needs, the emotional and social wellbeing of our guests is just as integral to their ability to exit homelessness. When you give time or money to Brother Francis Shelter, you create community, social connection, and the safe environment our guests need to restore their mental and emotional health so they can go on to lead thriving productive lives.

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