Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Good Shepherd Sisters ‘witness miracles every day’ with women helped at Gracenter

04 Mercy SF Yearbook Award PAGEPRIZE WINNING: Mercy High School, San Francisco has been named a 2017 National Yearbook Program of Excellence by yearbook publishers Jostens. Jostens said in a statement that the yearbook team created “an exceptional yearbook for their school and community.” Pictured from left: sophomore Elise Lieva, junior Kamille Fernando, senior Emily Lee; yearbook adviser Karen Vanuska, juniors Shakira Garcia and Nyla Moore, freshmen Esmy Ramirez, Jordan Whitecrane, and Alisson Bones, and sophomore Angelica Colmenares.

November 16, 2017
Tom Burke

04 Bartling THUMBThe Good Shepherd Sisters are celebrating 85 years of service to San Francisco in 2017. Sister Marguerite Bartling is executive director of the congregation’s Good Shepherd Gracenter, “a unique program to help women without resources during the critical period when they are first coming out of primary treatment” for addiction and alcoholism, Sister Marguerite said. “The Good Shepherd Sisters’ primary charism is to bring the merciful love of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to all, awakening in them their sense of worth and dignity as children of God.”

Gracenter is a path to recovery from addiction and to community reintegration that addresses the major barriers to success including homelessness, lack of employment, inadequate education, and involvement with the criminal justice system. It offers a home to approximately 33 women every year while providing recovery support to women who have taken the program, and referral services to women who call for help.

“The positive impact of Good Shepherd Gracenter on the city of San Francisco is significant,” Sister Marguerite said. “Becoming productive citizens once more, the women no longer represent a drain on taxpayers. A sustainable, long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction empowers the women to move from homelessness to stable housing, improve their overall health, achieve employment and an income, reduce their recidivism, and obtain higher education.”

The program emphasizes mentoring, strong community bonds, and health and wellness in assisting women to shape new horizons for themselves.

A true spirit of family pervades Gracenter especially at the holidays. “It is a time for the women to cook their favorite dishes, get together in a family-like atmosphere, enjoy decorating the residence for Christmas and, of course, having a tree with brightly colored packages under it – just for them!” Sister Marguerite said.

The first thing others can do for Gracenter is pray, Sister Marguerite said. Next, monetary support is greatly welcomed.

Donors can sponsor a resident for a month for $1,000 or donate items such towels, twin-bed sheets, and gift cards to Target or Payless Shoes. The third way a person can make a difference in the lives of the women at Gracenter is volunteering in areas including computer help, hair-stylist, and facility repairs.

“We are called to live in union with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and bring the good news of God’s mercy to others, particularly to those most wounded and in need of hearing that message of God’s unconditional love and graces that are available to them,” Sister Marguerite said “We witness miracles every day of courage, determination, strength and resiliency, through the workings of those graces as these women achieve remarkable success that continues long after they leave Gracenter.”

Sister Marguerite holds a graduate degree in social work from San Francisco State University and is a credentialed and certified addiction treatment counselor. Gracenter is a Licensed Recovery Residence. www.gsgracenter.org.


04 Aviannah White HALFGIANT SALES: Aviannah White, seen here with the San Francisco Giants’ Lou Seal, is a first grader at Immaculate Conception-St. Anthony School and top seller in its chocolate sale that raised $34,000 for the San Francisco school. “Lou visited our top sellers for a pizza lunch and for photos,” the school said. “He seems to like bling - look at the size of those World Series rings!”


04 EZappia THUMBALL HATS OFF: Though often not seen or known by name chancery grunts help panel the annals of archdiocesan history with their efforts every day. On the Pastoral Center detail for more than 20 years was Evelyn Zappia, who died Oct. 14. Ev, an original member of the Catholic San Francisco staff, left the chancery for other pursuits about 10 years ago but is well remembered for her writing and photography in CSF. Born and raised in the Richmond, Ev is a Star of the Sea High School alumna where she was on the volleyball and drill teams. Ev’s family said in a program for her funeral on Nov. 2, that her passions included art and she “will be painting God’s garden now.”


Email items and electronic pictures – hi-res jpegs - to burket@sfarch.org or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. Reach me at (415) 614-5634; email burket@sfarch.org.

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