The following unedited submissions were written by two residents who were nearing the completion of their stay with the Carmelina’s Home – formerly Mater Dei – program.
The Gift of Life
“Upon entering the program, I wanted to leave. In all honesty, I did not want to face my past behaviours and their consequences, nor did I want to contemplate my future because I was afraid of facing reality. Through the unflagging efforts of the Sisters and staff, I slowly began to change.
Though my stay in the program has been nothing short of turbulent, I believe I have been given the gift of life; that is, the chance to start over. In essence, my being in the program saved my life, and for this I am eternally grateful.”
The Chance to Start Over
“My journey to recovery began nine months ago when I said, ‘I have no control of my life. I will join the program.
When events that traumatized me as a child surfaced, I was constantly escaping my reality. Having no head on my shoulders, I became involved in a gang and began experimenting with drugs. Consequently, I lost the trust of my parents and close friends. I was no longer living at home or going to school.
When I arrived, I was in a state of depression. For me, there was no way to untangle my shame, guilt and ruined relationship with my family.
Thanks to the program and the support from my loving parents, the Sisters, counselors and the residents, I am no longer hiding and escaping. I am free to be myself. Being only 16 years old, I feel that I was gifted with this chance so early in life. I can finally and gladly say, ‘I have control of my past, present and future.”
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of residents who completed the two-year Program and are now living a new life.