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Free to love: Catholic women vow dedication to poor in Brooklyn

A vibrant hive of young, mostly female missionaries, at St. Michael-St. Edward Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Best of the Web feature.

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St. Michael-St. Edward Church, seemingly shoehorned into the drab brick buildings of the Ingersoll public housing project in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is shuttered and neglected.

But its rectory is a vibrant hive of young, mostly female missionaries who have taken vows - some for a year, some for a lifetime - of celibate dedication to the poor and downtrodden.

Heart's Home, a Roman Catholic organization with centers in some of the poorest slums in the world, opened in the Bronx in 2003 but moved to Brooklyn in 2008 to serve in local housing projects, nursing homes, shelters and streets...

Marian West, 28, from Lancaster, Pa., is winding up a 14-month term in Brooklyn after two years in Manhattan working as a massage therapist and a dancer. "It was all about making the money to pay the rent, and stress, stress, stress," she said.

"One day, I met a woman in the subway feeding the poor and she told me, 'I've sold everything I had and now I'm free to love.' That stuck with me. I wanted the freedom to love."

For the full story:

New York Times

Corey Kilgannon

"Missionaries in Brooklyn"

September 30, 2012


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