Debra, right, with Carole Meekins at St. Catherine’s 125th Anniversary celebration.

Not Once, But Twice

Debra is a former resident of Mercy Housing’s St. Catherine Residence, a community for women in need. This home made a big impact on her life, not once but twice.

In the late 1990s, Debra struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. Through a church program, Debra was able to begin recovery and received a referral to St. Catherine’s.


“St. Catherine’s fed me, clothed me, sheltered me, gave me wise counsel, strengthened me, they empowered me, and motivated me to see that there was something inside worth saving. They let me know that I did matter.”

After finding solace and shelter at St. Catherine Residence, Debra moved out, but she was plagued with hardships later in her life after her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. When she fell on hard times, St. Catherine’s was there again to provide the strength she needed to recover. “They were my beacon of light.”

Her second time living at St. Catherine’s was a defining moment in Debra’s life, giving her the courage to break out of a cycle of despair.

Debra lived at St. Catherine’s until she met her husband, John. She recently got a college degree from Midwest Bible College and has plans to pursue her master’s degree. She still feels the positive, long-term impact of her time at St. Catherine’s.

“St. Catherine’s let me know that I have something inside of me that needs to be shared, that needs to be told. It’s my responsibility, now that I have risen, to help someone else rise from the ashes.” Debra found hope with Mercy Housing when she needed it most. “I’m not even supposed to be standing here,” Debra said. “But God said he wasn’t ready for me yet.” Her story is a testament to the success that Mercy Housing’s supporters create daily.