Out And About

St. Martin's luncheonI’m so happy to be sharing this photo of me, my mother, and a special soul named Sister Patricia Gamgort of Saint Martin’s Ministries of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

I’m happy because it shows my mom out and about despite serious health issues she’s been dealing with for the past year.  What’s even better, she was out and about doing one of her favorite things, which is helping share the story of The Year of Goodbyes.

I’m happy because the photo is a memento of an outstanding book event in which I participated yesterday, the 16th Annual Authors’ Luncheon benefiting Saint Martin’s.  Held at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club overlooking the bay, it was a splendid affair, thanks to a group of volunteers who really know what they’re doing.  I shared authorial honors with novelist Christopher Tilghman, who talked about his latest novel, The Right-Hand Shore, and journalist Jefferson Morley, who introduced us to Snow-Storm in August, about the forgotten Washington, D.C. race riot of 1835.  I spoke about (and signed and signed and signed!) The Year of Goodbyes.

And I’m happy because now I get to introduce you to St. Martin’s Ministries, of which Sister Patricia is executive director.  Located in Ridgely, Maryland, St. Martin’s provides direct services–food and clothing, as well as money to prevent evictions and electricity cutoffs–to those in need.  It also has a transitional residence that allows homeless  women and their children to get back on their feet, often after physical or substance abuse.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a place of abundant natural beauty, offers less abundance for individuals who face chronic poverty.  Sister Patricia and her colleagues and volunteers spend their days and nights addressing the root problems of poverty and offering assistance in ways that affirm individual dignity.  St. Martin’s was founded by the Benedictine Sisters of Ridgely, but they provide services without regard for religious affiliation or lack of affiliation; the governing board, and the volunteers, are a delightfully ecumenical bunch.  I’m so glad I could be a tiny part of their efforts this weekend.

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