Mother Teresa Home celebrates 5 years of helping mothers, babies and community
Cheryl Calire, director of the Office of Pastoral Ministries, which oversees the Mother Teresa Home, speaks about the murals painted on the outbuildings on the East Side campus. Photo by Patrick J. Buechi
Mother Teresa Home is Cheryl Calire’s own Field of Dreams. She spent four years convincing people if they built it, people would come. Now, celebrating its fifth year, the home for women experiencing pressure to end their pregnancies, has seen 61 moms and 65 babies come through the house.
“Each and every one of them was very challenging in their own right, but they left here in a way in which they could function as a mom as a parent and an important part of society,” Calire said.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher, who celebrated the Aug. 25 Mass in the house’s St. Joseph Chapel, spoke about meeting Mother Teresa twice at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
“The first time, I was a seminarian getting ready for ordination. Every so often, she would come up to Washington where (the religious sisters) would profess their vows in front of the bishops,” he explained. “Three of us seminarians were standing in the middle aisle. Mother came up to us and took my hand. She kissed my hands. I thought that was really incredible. Then she said, ‘Be a holy priest.’ Now, she didn’t say that as a request. Anyone who knows the ministry and the personality and character of Mother Teresa, she meant something when she said it. I’m trying to live up to that.”
The bishop, along with several supports from the community, toured the grounds as Bishop Fisher blessed the three colorful murals that brighten up the backyard of the former St. Adalbert Rectory. the first depicts the patrons of the house, including mother Teresa of course, St. Bernadette, St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus, St. Gianna Molla and daughter Mariolina, and a depiction of the “East Side Buffalo” version of the Black Madonna.
Another mural facing the garden shows flowers growing high with the Mother Teresa quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”
Lastly, a silhouette of Treasure memorializes a former neighbor who tragically died in a house fire a few years after moving away.
Attending the Mass were friends of the home including Phyllis Ulmer, who learned of the good works of the diocesan pro-life office after her son, Father Daniel Ulmer, did a field education experience with Calire as a seminarian.
“We thought, what a beautiful cause. Because, where do people have to turn when their family turns on them, their boyfriend, their spouse, and how loving and warm (Mother Teresa Home) is. Ever since we learned, we donate every year,” Ulmer said.
Marilyn Neil and her late husband, Richard, have been supporting the pro-life cause ever since the birth of their daughter, Mary Beth, in 1973, the same year Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. When Calire announced the Mother Teresa Home dream, the Neils came to support.
“I remain dedicated to the pro-life movement,” Neil said. “We’ve had every blessing you could possibly imagine, and we’re trying to give back.”
Mother Teresa Home provides shelter, community service, and education referral services for all mothers in need.