Sister Mary Ann Vogel, CHM would never claim the title “Founder” of Humility of Mary Housing, Inc., but she helped birth the agency. And, she has served in a wide variety of roles throughout the agency’s twenty-five year history. On Sunday, September 20, HMHI will honor Sister Mary Ann for her contributions throughout the years at the sixth annual benefit Jazz Brunch.
During the 1980’s, Sister Mary Ann participated in the original “Dream Team,” with other members of the Congregation of Humility of Mary. For three years, the group explored unmet needs in the Quad Cities. They learned that the greatest need was affordable housing, particularly for the elderly and for single parents. The sisters chose to focus on single parents who were homeless. From the start, their goal was to create change in those parents’ lives.
“We’re serving two generations at once,” Sister Mary Ann is fond of saying. Ask her to explain, and she’ll tell you about Connie, HMHI’s first participant in 1990. Connie was beginning her senior year at St Ambrose University and had just given birth to a baby girl but had no place to live. Connie finished her degree, eventually married and had two other children. Today, she’s employed in management at ALCOA.
Even better: that baby girl who came with Connie 25 years ago eventually graduated from college with honors herself. She now teaches at an inner city Head Start program, and she purchased her first home last year. Connie credits Humility of Mary Housing for their family’s success, saying, “This program not only gave us a roof over our heads but the foundation under our feet upon which we build the rest of our lives.” Those words are painted on HMHI’s office walls.
Sister Mary Ann has contributed in several important roles at HMHI. She served as a site manager at a building complex for single parents recovering from addictions. There, she lived among the families to provide extra support and stability as they strove toward housing security. For years, she volunteered to provide childcare for the program’s children while their parents attended group meetings. She served as HMHI’s Finance Director for 15 years, relinquishing that title only recently, while still offering support to the Finance Department. She served on the agency’s initial Board of Directors, and she coordinated agency volunteers. Sister Mary Ann also convened and headed HMHI’s Development Committee.
It was an easy decision to single her out for recognition at the Jazz Brunch, according to Sandi Burrichter. “Sister Mary Ann and the “Dream Team”–along with the other sisters of the Congregation of Humility of Mary order–sought and undertook a project that would serve a need in the Quad Cities. They decided to assist and empower single parents and their children while the family worked toward goals that would enable them to live independent, self-sufficient lives. The end result was Humility of Mary Housing.”
Sister Mary Ann never wavered in this commitment. Sandi continued:
“She has made Humility of Mary Housing her mission for the past 25 years–leading the agency and staff to provide immediate, vital assistance directly to homeless, single parents.”
Reservations for the Jazz Brunch may be made by contacting the Humility of Mary Housing office at 563/326-1330.