For many of our young people who may have faced abuse, neglect, family rejection or homelessness, they must find a way to make peace with their history before they embrace a more hopeful future. The youth who come to us often grapple with crises of the spirit that other people their age have never had to face. Many of our youth find solace and sanctuary in our multi-faith chapel.
“When our young people ask the big questions, they immediately become bigger than their challenges and feelings of brokenness,” Maria, our pastoral minister, explains. “Their questions aren’t about finding all the answers. They are scared that they do not deserve love and they want someone to go with them on what can be a dark and lonely journey to finally discover that they are beautiful and beloved.”
Tragically, homeless youth are far more likely to pass away than their housed peers. In our chapel, we have memorial services and a memorial wall honouring young victims of the street who have passed away. We offer comfort and counsel to grieving friends and staff.
Visiting our chapel is voluntary for our youth. We invite community faith leaders from various traditions to hold services, retreats or discussions for our youth. We also welcome musicians, poets and storytellers to create connecting moments with our youth.
“It has been a privilege to be with youth on their spiritual journeys. I am invited into their sacred space where they are the most open and vulnerable,” Maria shares. “The promise we give young people while they are here is that they will be touched by love and therefore be changed.”
After 12 years, Maria recently embarked on her retirement. Our youth and staff will miss her presence, authentic warmth and unique spirit. We will also remember her eloquent turns of phrase. “I cannot be replaced. Nobody can, because we all bring something special,” she told us. We know it is true.