On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis declared a Holy Year of Mercy, and called on the faithful to live this year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’ (Lk 6:36)
In honor of this Holy Year of Mercy, Saint Bede has renamed our outreach center the Williamsburg House of Mercy.
In the 1960’s, Sister Berenice Eltz of the Sisters of Mercy left teaching at Walsingham Academy to go into social ministry at Saint Bede. Often called the “Mother Teresa of Williamsburg”, Sister Berenice touched the lives of countless souls in the Williamsburg community. Saint Bede’s social ministry has seen many faces and changes over the years, but Sister Berenice’s legacy of mercy and service to the poor remains. The Saint Bede Outreach Center, now Williamsburg House of Mercy, is known throughout the community as a place where the struggling can come for assistance.
Williamsburg House of Mercy is our area's only complete care center for the homeless. Dedicated and trained, staff and volunteers work daily to meet the needs of the homeless and struggling in our community through financial assistance, permanent housing assistance, access to medical care and mental health services, food, transportation, and so much more.
Centrally located in downtown Williamsburg, our proximity to area transportation makes us uniquely accessible to the unsheltered homeless in the community. In 2013, we expanded our hours of operation and suddenly began to see an increase in the number of unsheltered homeless in need of a warm meal and a place to shower. We all agree that our lives were forever changed late one spring day in 2013, when a homeless man walked in with a backpack and requested food. The notion of unsheltered homeless in Williamsburg became real to us, and from that moment forward, our day center for the homeless was born. In 2013, we began to provide warm meals, showers, and a place of respite for the unsheltered homeless upon request.
We now have the unique opportunity to engage the area homeless in targeted way to provide them with supportive services, access to medical and mental health services, access to computers and jobs, and assistance with housing. Once housed, they are case managed by our Housing Office until they achieve stability.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Williamsburg House of Mercy, we have opportunities to serve in almost any area! We are currently recruiting for client advocates, food pantry volunteers, housing office assistants, and furniture movers to name a few. If you are interested in serving, contact Ellen Boyko at email@example.com.