One Saint Leonard’s for Life

This newsletter was sent to our Saint Leonard’s community email subscribers on May 9, 2024. If you would like to receive future news from Saint Leonard’s, join us and subscribe to receive email updates.

With graduation season upon us, we’re thinking about a phrase that often resonates in this community:

“One Saint Leonard’s For Life.”

You may wonder what that means.

When somebody celebrates a program graduation, completes a skills-based class or transitions to independent living – they are always welcome back on our campus. For any reason.

They can return any time. And they do.

We proudly foster an environment of learning that creates a sense of belonging and personal connection. The moments in between can be intense and powerful as people travel the journey to find out who they are and what they can do.

One Saint Leonard’s For Life also recognizes that we support people with – and through – a community. For all of the educational and social programs we offer, the most important part is building this sense of community where people feel they are accepted.

We lead with “one” because we are a single community thriving with a holistic approach that is unified, integrated and connected. All of our different programs work together to fulfill the big picture.

We conclude with “for life” because that’s what we literally mean. And these words and phrases are nothing new. In 1969, our founder Father James Jones told the Chicago Tribune: “Upon successfully leaving Saint Leonard’s House, you become what is known as a ‘Leonardite.’ You are always welcome to come back and visit, to use our facilities recreationally and to join us at our table.”

As you can see, the words have changed but the meaning remains the same.

You’ll also hear us talk a lot about asking residents and program participants to slow down. It’s crucial that people realize they are not in a rush to get everything done right away. We’re going to be with them for the long term.

And when Saint Leonard’s alumni return, they enjoy remembering the days of their journey; they share their experience with those who are walking the path today; and they remind us of the reason why we choose this work.

When alumni speak, advocate and mentor – people see that. Current residents and program participants start to believe that they are part of something bigger than any individual. They start to trust the process. Their minds travel beyond shame and judgement to live in the present and truly flourish.

Seventy years ago, we opened our doors as a housing program. Today, we’re still that and so much more.

And for whoever needs it, we will always be home.

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