November 20, 2019

Families are regular guests at Rose Haven in Portland, OR, which offers a clothes closet, a food pantry and a noontime meal Mondays through Fridays. Guests have access to private showers and programs for children, including an annual back-to-school fair that provides school supplies and a holiday gathering that distributes brand-new gifts to children.

Like many other U.S. cities, Portland, OR is facing a housing crisis. Amid the dark clouds of homelessness, there exists a light of hope and help. Rose Haven, started in 1997 by Good Shepherd Sister Cathie Boerboom, provides a day shelter and community center for women and children experiencing poverty, trauma, and mental and physical health challenges.

From nearly the beginning, Holy Names Sister Judy Bertoli was a weekly volunteer. She spent several hours most Tuesdays as a welcoming presence of hospitality among Rose Haven guests, listening to their stories with a willing ear, enjoying their company with a gracious smile, and being a spiritual companion with a loving heart. Traveling an hour each way by bus into Northwest Portland, she brought a one-of-kind healing energy to guests and staff alike.

As a regular volunteer, Sister Judy saw the impact of Rose Haven’s ID Replacement Program and secured a grant from the SNJM Ministry Fund to support it. The women and children who frequent Rose Haven are among the most disenfranchised in the city. They experience isolation and invisibility on a daily basis. Lack of proper identification makes their problems worse.

Rose Haven guest Lynne knows first-hand how important the ID program is. Living outside, her possessions have been stolen, sometimes repeatedly. Without ID, she could not check into night shelter, utilize community clinic services or access the food bank. It is a challenge to replace identification, and the fees are more than a person experiencing poverty can afford.

Rose Haven helps guests like Lynne replace lost or stolen ID. The reinstatement of her ID quite literally reaffirmed her existence and transformed her life.

Thanks to the Sisters of the Holy Names and the support of donors to the SNJM Ministry Fund, Rose Haven provided 194 IDs or vital records in 2018 for women and children experiencing homelessness or abuse.

Sister Judy’s impact is felt by the women who can take their rightful place in society thanks to the center and its ID replacement program.


Sister Judy Bertoli has been sowing the seeds of hospitality and welcome at Rose Haven from its early days.