By: Kerry Garrett
At 7 p.m. on Sept. 29, many St. Margaret’s House supporters and associates gathered in the IU South Bend auditorium in collaboration with the IU South Bend Honors Program to commemorate its accomplishments, perseverance and community. Eight women from St. Margaret’s House, all with unique stories and origins with the organization, spoke about their beginnings, connections and experiences with the community.
St. Margaret’s House has been providing meals, clothing, and support – physical and emotional – to countless women and children since the early 1990s, and their legacy is only growing.
Throughout the event, the stories wildly ranged from humorous to somber, factual to artistic. The event was opened by a recitation of a poem by Dora Leonardo, written in inspiration of her sense of community at St. Margaret’s, and leading to a very diverse, colorful variation of opinions and perspectives. Lenora Lloyd shared an intensely emotional speech about loss, servitude and community, while Gini Bertoni detailed a humorous story about her beginnings as a cook, where she accidentally tried to cook a farm-fresh chicken without first removing its innards.
Each perspective offered something entirely new, an experience entirely unique. The turnout to this event, with the auditorium being virtually full, bodes very well for future events like these where more stories are told and more people are enlightened by this organization and the help that it has given to those in need. The ticket proceeds will benefit St. Margaret’s House.
“This was the inaugural event, the first time we’ve done this, so we’re thrilled,” Katie Elliot, executive director of St. Margaret’s House, said. “We could not have done this without all the ways that IUSB supported us in this, and it seems to be well received. I’m so proud of the women that told their stories tonight, and the diversity of the women that are representatives of St. Margaret’s House.”
Through events like the Common Thread, not only are more people educated on the organization and ways that they, too, can help, but they are also creating a sense of empathy that can only be achieved through the vulnerability and transparency of storytellers. In human connection, storytelling is not a medium, it is the medium.