Sr. Carol Weber, Director
Questions provide important direction in my life. I ask questions often and I appreciate it when others ask them also. These questions have taken me on my life’s journey.
As a high school senior, the principal, Sr. Barbara Hegesbach, asked me if I had ever considered becoming a sister. This was the foundation for many additional questions that led me to the Adrian Dominicans and later professing final vows as an Adrian Dominican Sister.
During those years I taught elementary school, directed religious education programs for children and adults, directed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and was Pastoral Coordinator of a Parish, and then was asked, “Carol, would you join our formation team and develop a process for women entering the Adrian Dominican’s based on the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adult?” The answer, yes, led me to the Dominican Republic to help create this program on the island. While there many questions arose, and I noticed that the women here on the island are meeting together and faith sharing among themselves, building trust and community, could we not do the same for the women in the United States?
After completing my years in formation work for my Adrian Dominican Sisters, I worked with Sr. Judy Blake and the parishioners of St. Luke Catholic Church doing street ministry in Flint, Michigan. Our street ministry set up a flea market, taking used clothing and meals to those in need and during this time we heard many stories of the plight of the women and children in the City of Flint. The questions began to form, “What can we do for these women to make their lives less desperate?” “What can we offer that will help grow their spirit?”
Though these experiences we found our mission to help at-risk women and St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center was created to help those in need.
Sr. Judy Blake, Co-Director
Many years ago as a small child, my grandmother taught me by example, how to care for others. She never passed by a Salvation Army bell ringer without emptying her change purse in the bucket. She never walked past a Veteran begging on the streets post WWII. The Old Newsboys were also on her list of favorite charities and when we got a new couch she called the Purple Heart group to pick up our used one. As a result she left me as her inheritance to me a compassionate heart.
We were poor growing up. Mom was a single parent mom. We had a father who abandoned us. My brother, mom and me lived with my grandmother and uncle. Mom got a small job whenever possible to help pay the bills. She was on ADC (aid to dependent children) and we were occasionally gifted during Christmas by the Old Newsboy. My mom felt the indignity of being on any kind of assistance. One year as we stood in line at the Old Newsboys I could feel her shaking as she held my hand. This was not the way she wanted us to live. Eventually she got a GED and a permanent good paying job. She gave back by supporting the same charities grandma did.
As one of the founders and co-director of the St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, Inc, those memories are forever with me. People come to the Center for all kinds of help and they’re broken in spirit, they’ve lost their self esteem, and sometimes wanting to give up and die. I understand where they’re coming from and I’m here because God trained me for this ministry beginning at a very young age.
I am educator, a parish minister, a pastoral coordinator with a master’s and doctoral degree in ministry. I am a Sister of St. Joseph who is very grateful to my religious community for the educational opportunities and funding assistance for my ministry.
We started a street ministry in the late 90’s which became the catalyst that moved us to start the N.E.W. life center. Women and children homeless, living in abandoned buildings, women delivering babies by themselves in those buildings made it critical for use to help change their lives. We had to assist these single parent moms to become self sufficient providers for their families.
We opened the N.E.W. Life Center in 2002. Thousands have come through these doors for help and I’m so grateful to be of service to them.