Bethahny House of Hope is just as the name infers, a House of Hope! I am an older woman who lost an entire life time due to my incarceration. Bethany House gave me a safe beautiful place to live, grow and become my authentic self again.
The case manger Joli, is a competent, knowlwgeble advocate in all matters. She is a phenomenal resource and gives of herself above and beyond.
Joli set up health insurance,drove all of us to appointments, took us grocery shopping, and she made it possible for me to secure a loan and obtain a CDL licence. Joli is far more than the title of a manger and she does her service making it look easy, like the professional she is.
Sr. Ruth Raichle The Executive Director, is a real life earth angel! She leads by example, she listens, encourages, gives pearls of wisdom, and she prays. Sr. Ruth is a light in this world and I will miss her and charlie, ( the bethany dog) very much!
This special place has been my refuge,my healing place,my blessing. There should be more models like Bethany House for people to recover and be their best.
I am forever Grateful ! Deb A.
" I sit writing this in my yard watching my daughter skateboard, my sons are in the pool and my beautiful wife is inside getting dinner ready. My company phone will ring multiple times with customers or potential customers referred to me because of my reputation. (I named it Veritas Roofing after our Dominican motto.) Let me tell you how this moment came to be. 1996 I was locked up in administrative segregation on the 3rd floor of the isolation cells. (it was actually the middle of June until October) it is the hottest, loudest, dirtiest place on the planet. I was 22 years old and I had just started a 12 year sentence. I was in this steel cell, broken, afraid, and thinking of ending my life. There was a knock on the door and a light voice said something like "Catholic Chaplain". I didn't even get up and yelled something short and rude. A few days later I answered the knock and met Ruth for the first time through a steel door. She gave me a book and said when you get out of segregation we meet on Monday evenings for Mass. Well. I didn't get out, but for the next 4 months I would listen to the Catholic community sing and pray from my segregation cell. Then I was transferred to a higher security and 6 years later and 64 D reports later I was transferred back to Norfolk. I started going to Mass and met all the volunteers and inmates that changed my life. Ruth and Kathleen provided us with classes and spiritual advisors, Cursillo, and Dominican laity groups. You've never seen any-thing like it..it was like a monastery, except in a level 4 State Prison! You could feel Jesus and his love all around. We were changing like nothing I ever experienced before. There were guys with multiple life sentences, bank robbers, hardened criminals walking around talking about how they are giving up their TV or pillow for lent! These two beautiful loving ladies and the unbelievable team of volunteers helped so many of us find Jesus in our lives. Unlike a lot of prisons, it didn't end there. Thank God they helped us upon their release find housing and jobs, and most importantly, support, love and a family. They have been with me every step of the way. Ruth set up my children's baptisms so that Fr. Wayne and Fr. John could baptize my children with my Bethany community around us. The Bethany community has been right beside me at funerals and baptisms. They have supported me along the way for the past 24 years. And because of that support I can be a loving, caring father, husband, son, brother and friend. I can be the man God wants me to be. When I wake up in the morning I hit my knees to the ground and turn my will over to God. and the last thing I do at night is to thank Him! I owe Bethany House a debt I could never repay." Mike P.
A Note from William "Doc" Miller, A member of Bethany House Ministries Board of Directors
Over twelve years ago, Ruth asked Steve Pope of Boston College and me to teach a six-session course on “Peacemaking” to a group of men in Norfolk State Prison. On the final night of our course, one of the men asked us if we would be willing to continue working with this group. Steve and I looked at each other and then both immediately answered, “Yes.” We have been meeting as a prayer and life reflection group ever since. This group, created and sponsored by Bethany House Ministries, has proved to be one of the most rewarding, life-giving, grace-filled experiences of my life. During our monthly sessions over these many years, I have often wished that the larger world could see the honest, soulful, loving nature of these men.
As we grapple with difficult issues like our past, anger, pain, forgiveness, and reconciliation, one can sense the presence of the Spirit in our midst. It is a grace just to be present as the men honestly open their hearts and minds to each other. In Bethany House Ministries, Ruth, Kathleen, Joli and many others have done a masterful job in creating a welcoming, loving, helpful community that has transformed so many live This includes women and men in and out of prison and numerous volunteers. I am blessed to be a part of this life- giving community.
Thank you, Bethany House Ministries!
On March 1, 2019 I arrived at Bethany House. I was broken into a million pieces, embarrassed, full of guilt and shame, confidence, scared out of my mind, lonely, and dirty with the film of being in a holding prison all over me. I walked up to this beautiful house, with a large backyard and Sisters Kathleen and Ruth welcomed me with open arms, a hug and I had this warm, wonderful, peaceful feeling come over me. I felt this was the place I should be. I looked over and this beautiful yellow Lab came running up to me, Charlie whom I named Miss Charlie. I love dogs and she gave me the best welcome any dog could give. I knew I was home. The Bethany House, Ruth, Joli and Miss Charlie gave me the tools, the resources necessary with no judgement and the time and love to show me how to do the work necessary to make me into a woman of dignity. I can stand tall with my head held high and with confidence today. I cannot count the times that even just a few words from Ruth changed my life..."Don't think, just be." she said and those four words have been so helpful to me that I had them tattooed on my arm. It will forever be with me. I have tried to tell Miss Charlie and Ruth what they have done for me. They comforted me when I needed it and set me straight when I needed it. Ruth came with me when I had to put Mr. Rhet, my German Shepherd down, to my house and was there for me and Jonny. I have to say that Jonny loves both Ruth and Miss Charlie for who they are and how I have changed into the woman I am today. The Bethany House saved my life and set me on my new sober journey. I am forever grateful to them and I will always have them in my life. I visit often and they are in my heart and will always be. I cannot say enough great stuff about my stay there, but I do consider it my home and they have told me that it will always be. Karen F.
Quote from Marina McCoy: Philosophy Professor, Boston College
"I have been volunteering with a group of Lay Dominicans at MCI Norfolk Prison for more than a dozen years. Life in prison is challenging: men and women who are incarcerated struggle with not only personal issures such as mental health or substance abuse challenges, or relationships with family made more difficult by time in prison. They also struggle with social judgment and policies that often do not fully recognize their humanity. Bethany House is a place that embraces the whole human being; they do not just supply the resources for people getting back on their feet after incarceration; they are a community and family for those in need. This commnity also extends to the volunteers. I know what I look forward to opportunities to connect with other volunteers and to be part of a larger caring group that does not measure one another by money, education, social status, or whether one was inside or outside. Bethany House is a place that exhibits Fr. Jean Joseph Lataste OP's vision of a place where all are one in Christ. Thank you Bethany House!"
"When I was given the opportunity to leave prison under parole supervision, The Bethany House of Hope was the only place I applied to because I knew in my heart it would be the best place to go to and start my life over after 12 years of imprisonment. And it was!
Ruth and Joli went above and beyond for me and my daughters.They were more than a program director and house manager. They were hands on in helping me through a really tough transition period called reentry. They showed me unconditional love and support through that transition.They understood the importance of family and allowed me time with my daughters in the house.They helped me get a license. They connected me to Guido Jacques and A & M Tool and Design. And because of that connection I have meaningful employment and housing. They helped me in so many ways I could go on and on but I won't bore you. I will say though that Ruth and Joli are special women.They are my family and if we had more people like them in the world mass incarceration would end today! What these two women have given to me and continue to give me and to every woman who has come through Bethany House is a second chance of life.
A special thank you to the Bethany House Board of Directors and benefactors." Jasmin B.