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Building a Legacy

As I sit here writing this update in my office at our transitional home, Teresita House, I am reminded of the incredible legacy of Sister Teresita Hinnegan, MMS.

While I never had the pleasure of meeting Sister Teresita, I feel as if I know her will after hearing all the stories about her passion for working with those living on the margins, especially the women at Dawn’s Place. As one of the original founders, Sister Teresita shared a vision for a house where women could come and escape the trauma of commercial sexual exploitation and/or sex trafficking. As I follow in her footsteps and enjoy the legacy of the other sisters who have served as Executive Director, I am deeply grateful to minister at Dawn’s Place.

Sister Teresita Hinnegan, MMS at dawn.
Sister Teresita Hinnegan, MMS

Since my arrival in February, I have learned so many things about myself, about the courage of women trying to reclaim their lives after the trauma of being sexually exploited, and about the joys and challenges of working at a small non-profit.

Both the holiday season and the memory of Sister Teresita make me especially grateful for:

  • our staff, who have chosen to minister at Dawn’s Place and who bring their expertise and experience to help us all adapt to the times;

  • our residents, those who have graduated and those currently living here, who allow themselves to be vulnerable in order to grow and develop into the women they want to be;

  • our volunteers, whose commitment knows no bounds and who are willing to help in ways large and small;

  • our donors, whose financial support and generosity allow us to continue to provide a safe space for so many women as they begin to rebuild their lives;

  • our Board of Directors, past and present, whose dedication to Dawn’s Place over the years has helped us define our program and who keep us aligned with our mission;

  • our previous Executive Directors and staff, who laid the foundation for this amazing program.

Dawn’s Place has already captured a large space in my heart as I know it has in yours, as well. Every day, when I come to work, I am lucky enough to see how your financial contributions help our residents. Watching them work through their trauma, laugh while sitting around the dining room table playing games, and express their hopes for the future are some of the reasons why I love my job.

Thank you so much for your continued support of Dawn’s Place. Thank you for helping us provide a home for our residents so that they can do the work they need to do in a safe space without worrying about whether they can meet their basic needs.

Thank you, Sister Teresita and all who have helped Dawn’s Place become what it is today—a safe haven. I hope that you will enjoy this threshold to a new year knowing that we are grateful for your generosity.

Sr. Meaghan Patterson, SSJ, M.Ed. MSW

Executive Director

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