On Register Radio this week, I spoke with Kathy DiFiore, the founder of Several Sources Shelters, homes for pregnant women in crisis.  This woman’s remarkable story is part of the inspiration of the Hollywood film, Gimme Shelter, which premiers in theaters nationwide Jan. 24. It’s a film well worth seeing.

More than 30 years ago Kathy found herself in crisis with nowhere to go. She had just escaped her abusive husband and she was on the streets. Eventually she rebuilt her life. Her simply prayer throughout this time was that of St. Francis of Assisi: “Lord make me a instrument of your peace…”

Indeed, she became just such an instrument. Shortly after settling into a new life in a new house, she opened her home to a pregnant mother and thus began a journey that would lead to the founding of five homes in New Jersey (four for pregnant mothers and one for homeless women). The establishment of these homes wasn’t easy and in the early years Kathy got help from none other than a saint — Mother Theresa.  

Gimme Shelter, directed by Ron Krauss, is based on the life of a pregnant teenager who escapes from an abusive mother and lives on the streets until she eventually reaches rock bottom. Through the help of a priest she finds her way to Several Sources Shelter, Kathy’s motherly care, and other women similar to herself that become like family.  In the film, the teenager is played by Vanessa Hudgens, the abusive mother by Rosario Dawson, the priest by James Earl Jones, and Kathy by Ann Dowd.

Listen to the radio interview to hear Kathy DiFiore’s powerful story of bringing hope and restoration to the lives of these young women. To find out how to help start a shelter for pregnant women, click here. There are only 550 shelters  like this in the country, so many more are needed.


Prayer and Peace

This week Dan Burke spoke with French priest Father Jacques Philippe, the author of more than five books on Catholic spirituality, including Time for God, Interior Freedom, and Searching for and Maintaining Peace.

Father Jacques speaks of the need that every human heart has for true peace and recognizes that his book simply provides an answer to that need based on the Gospel and in a way that has been nourished by the spiritual tradition of the Church through saints like Francis De Sales, Therese of Lisieux and others.

Peace is not important only because we want to be comfortable, said Father Jacques. “But the more … we try to keep our inner peace, the more we are open to the work of God and we can listen to him.”

“The more I am in peace, the more I can help people do good, and receive and communicate the grace of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

Dan and Father Jacques spoke about the difficulties of maintaining peace in our busy and often complicated lives.

Said Father Jacques, “In a practical way, it is very important to pray… the peace we need, we can find this peace not by ourselves but in God. God is the God of Peace.

“Each time we offer a moment of prayer, true sincere prayer, in a desire to meet God, when we are open to the presence of God in a simple and confident way, I think a part of the peace of God is given to us.”

In the interview, Father Jacques goes on to describe how to find and keep this peace which we all long for and which our world desperately needs. Listen to the interview to hear more.