Margaret is already decorating her future apartment, if only in her mind.
“I want beige furniture and mirrors on the wall so I can look at myself,” she says with a big smile on her face.
Margaret likely won’t have an apartment of her own for about six months, but for now she is quite content to dream from her room at Catholic Charities’ Mary Hall. For it is at Mary Hall that Margaret got her life back.
“What I came from is hell,” Margaret said. “This is the place that opened up a new door for me.”
When Margaret first came through the doors at Catholic Charities’ Dorothy Day Center in 2012, her number one priority was alcohol.
“I was something ugly. These people, they work with you. They give you chances and chances. They’re the most important people in my life,” she said, tearing up before naming off Catholic Charities staff she calls her ‘miracle workers.’
“If it wasn’t for Dorothy Day Center, I’d probably still be drinking,” she said.
Margaret was able to get treatment for her addiction and has been sober for 18 months.
Having a place to call home at Mary Hall helps Margaret keep her goals on track. She even attends AA meetings right in the building.
“When I moved in here, it felt so good to me. I was in heaven. I took a shower when I wanted, cooked when I wanted,” she said, enjoying the routine things that are a luxury after experiencing homelessness. “This place is a wonderful place.”
While Mary Hall gave her a home and the stability she needed, it also gave her voice. She sings in the Dorothy Day Choir project. Each Thursday, she takes the short walk to Catholic Charities’ St. Paul Office for choir practice. She even performed at the groundbreaking ceremony for Higher Ground Saint Paul and at Catholic Charities’ Saint Nicholas Annual Dinner.
“When we had the standing ovation, I started crying. When we got to put the shovels in the dirt, I started crying. It was something I never expected I’d be doing,” she said. “It made me feel good and it lifted me; right now I could do anything. It really helped me get my self esteem back.”
Having her moment in the sun made moving forward easier, but Margaret is working hard on her own to make a better life.
“You gotta get up and put your foot forward,” she said.