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History

The following is a short history of the House of Bread and Peace written by founder Sister Joanna Trainer. She lived with her homeless friends at the house for 21 years and provided loving concern and care for hundreds of women and children who shared her home. She is retired and living with her Sisters in Ferdinand, IN.

Clark Field and I were the co-founders of the House of Bread and Peace. It all started when we prepared a Christmas dinner for the poor in 1979.

I was very concerned about the hunger the poor people experienced. At the end of the meal they wanted all our leftovers. That really bothered me. So, I went to Clark and talked to him about my concern. He said, "Let's start a Catholic Worker house." I replied, "Let's do it." I don't think he really thought I meant it, but I was ready and sincere.

We asked a couple of ladies to pray with us for about a year in 1980. Then, in 1981, Clark and I went to the downtown churches to ask the pastors if they thought a soup kitchen would be needed. Of course, the answer was yes. However, it took us a while to find the pastor who was brave enough to allow the House of Bread and Peace to use their kitchen. St. Paul's Episcopal Church was the generous one. So, on November 14, 1982, we opened the soup kitchen on Saturdays. I worked in the soup kitchen every Saturday feeding the very poor for two and half years.

Finally, I went to Clark again to finalize our plans to open a Home for Homeless Women and Children. I was determined to find someone who could live with me. We had said we eventually would open a home for homeless people, and I wanted to carry out our goal.

I found Sister Sharon Fitzpatrick, a Franciscan, who was interested in living with me for a few years. For one year, Sister Sharon and I looked for a decent house for the homeless women and children.

On August 29, 1984, we, with donations, bought the house for $8,500 from Permanent Federal Bank. After much discussion and organization, it was decided by a group of eight persons to establish the rules and guidelines for accepting homeless women and children. It was decided in this manner because the Rescue Mission accepted only men. After many renovations done by my relatives and friend volunteers, we opened the House of Bread and Peace at 516 Adams Street on January 14, 1985.

In 1998, I received a call from the Department of Metropolitan Development asking if we would be interested in some land to build a new House of Bread and Pace home. I said yes very definitely because we needed more room. It took about a year for the process, and we were able to buy the land for $1. The land is on Chandler and Line Streets. Don Gore and his son, Chris, built our new home with help from many resources, volunteers, and donations. We opened our doors for the homeless women and children at 250 E. Chandler in August 2000. I worked as director of the House of Bread and Peace for 21 years. I loved every minute!