Ann Rotermund — Joy Is All We Have

Ann Rotermund draws on twenty-nine years working at the Saint Patrick Center in Saint Louis, Missouri to give a voice to the men and women who experience homelessness and to share the life lessons of resiliance and joy taught to her by the people she helped.

Homelessness is often a symptom of other issues that might not have been addressed, such as mental illness, substance abuse, lack of an education, lack of a stable home life or a long stay in prison. Just giving someone a home doesn’t take care of those other issues, That is why St. Patrick Center has been so successful

In 1985, when Rotermund began working as an intake counselor, the St. Patrick Center’s program was in its infancy. “A lot of the programs were innovative but we didn’t know that. We just responded to what clients needed.” However, the cutting edge approach, focussed on addressing the clients’ issues, has paid off over the years; when St. Patrick Center’s clients are helped to become housed and stable, they put their talents to use, pay taxes and become part of society again.

Rotermund shares what she has learned here, showing how the people she helped overcame adversity and sickness in their search for better health. At times, they failed or disappeared from the center, not to be seen again. But at other times, Rotermund experienced transformative moments, like getting someone who really didn’t have the right words to find another way to communicate.

Stories are universal, and if we milk the meaning from Rotermund’s stories, maybe we can all increase our compassion and awareness.

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