Good Shepherd Gracenter

Winter 2011 Newsletter


Executive Director’s Report

By Sr. Marguerite Bartling, RGS, MSW

reportExcitement is in the air as Good Shepherd Gracenter continues to experience many positive developments during its second year as a Licensed Recovery Residence for Women.

Our most exciting news is that we recently expanded our service, bringing our capacity up to twelve women.  Other expansions include the addition of a new business center with three new computers and printers giving the women the opportunity to write resumes, search for jobs, and do their homework. Quarterly Alumnae Gatherings have also started, and Gracenter was recently featured on Catholic Radio and the television show, Mosaic on KPIX Channel 5!

Most recently, Gracenter welcomed four new members to the Board of Directors, and we have laid the plans for beautiful upgrades to our garden and landscaping around the residence.  And in addition to the updates to the residence and the our promising garden project, this past October 16th, Gracenter recently celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary of it’s building.

We thank God and all of you who have made this possible as we move forward into the future!  We look forward to keeping you updated on what’s coming next for Gracenter!

Volunteer Profile: Patrick Ryan

patrickHailing from Kilkenny, Ireland, soft-spoken Patrick Ryan has been associated with the ministry of the Good Shepherd Sisters since 1961, with over 50 years of service to our mission!
Having been a carpenter in Ireland, Pat joined the Carpenter’s Union Local 22 when he emigrated to the states with his family.  He volunteered to work on the construction of Gracenter’s building when the Union put out the call for volunteers to help build this home for women. Most recently, Pat received his 50 Year Pin from Local 22.

Through the years, Pat Ryan and his wife raised five children in their family home in San Francisco’s Sunset District.  Though he’s officially retired, he is still a familiar face around the residence.  He is also an active member of the Hibernian Club and the Knight’s of St. Cecelia’s Parish. He has also been an excellent mentor to our maintenance man, sharing with him over 50 years of experience!

Gracenter is forever grateful to this quiet, unassuming carpenter who continues to share his valuable time and talents with our organization.  Thank you, Pat Ryan!

Former Resident  Reflections

By: Lisette K.

When I first arrived at Gracenter, I had nothing.  I was released after two years of being incarcerated, left with only the clothes on my back.  During the next year I was unable to find a job, reunite with my family, or build a foundation for a new way of life.  Gracenter gave me the support necessary to move forward with my life and thrive.  A lot has changed since then.

I am now a National Talent Director with one of the world’s largest acting and modeling agencies.  I travel from New York to Hawaii, and when I’m not traveling for work, I’m with my family and my children.  I attend meetings for my recovery and see my sponsor weekly.

Through it all, I never forget where I was just a few years ago and the role Gracenter had in my recovery. Without their love, support and encouragement, I would be in a very different place right now.  I am forever grateful to God for allowing Gracenter to lead this lost sheep home.

Gracenter Garden Project

By Nancy Walter, Board Member

As Gracenter approaches its 50th anniversary, we have taken a fresh look at the land that surrounds our building.  This area has gone through many changes over time.  For the last few years, we have seen much of the land taken over by invasive ivy and blackberry bushes.  Many gophers have also made their homes at Gracenter.

There still exists an old and beautiful rose garden that was lovingly planted by someone.  Thankfully, the landscape is now in the process of being renovated, due to the hard of work of volunteer, Kay Westerberg, Sr. Marguerite and our Gracenter women.

Most of the ivy has been cleared and the twenty-two rose bushes have been pruned and fertilized.  Gracenter saw many beautiful roses this summer.  The women are also in the process of putting in a serenity garden close to the building.  This will complement a simple stone fountain graciously donated by one of our Board Members. The serenity rock garden will be a peaceful area, with succulents, rocks, a ginger stone border, and benches.

We are also working on the installation of a meditative labyrinth, in an area that was little more than weeds.  This will provide a path for the women to slowly and silently walk.  We hope to have the path marked by tiles and surrounded by sweet smelling lavender bushes.

The women have planted a small herb garden just outside the kitchen doors, and it has been thriving in the foggy weather.  We have plans to plant native grasses, California poppies, and other drought tolerant, native plants.  We will be seeking donations from local nurseries through the area, and will attempt to live in peace with the gophers.

The next time you visit Gracenter, we invite you to take your time walking around the grounds and notice the love and care that went into the beautiful landscape around our home.

50 Years of Thanks…

By: Sr. Marguerite Bartling, RGS, MSW

In 1961, the dream to build a transitional home for young women in need was realized.  Wanting to fill this gap in service, the Good Shepherd Sisters reached out to Carpenters Local 22 and Plumbers Local 38 about building a real home for the women that were often left without any support.

For the past fifty years, thanks to their efforts and the community’s generous donations, Gracenter has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of young women.

We continue to offer young women a safe residence, as well the opportunity to further their education, find employment and improve their lives as they recover from the addiction of drugs and alcohol.

We are grateful to you and ask for your support as we celebrate Gracenter’s 50th Anniversary of its building.  You are part of the future!

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