Women's Group Ministers in Harlem

By Dr. Alexis Vien, wife of seminarian Brad Vien 

View the photo gallery by Leanne Parrott Photography

The Women's Group consists of seminarian wives and students; we meet several times a month for community–building activities. The first Saturday in November, we participated in the weekly food distribution at the Emmaus House in Harlem, a hospitality house inAssembling toiletry kits on campusAssembling toiletry kits on campus the Eastern Christian tradition whose mission for many years has been to serve the poor in the surrounding community.

After collecting food and toiletry items from people at St. Vladimir's, four of us traveled to the Emmaus House in New York City, where we assisted in making over 100 lunches. We then distributed the food and other donated items to people who live in the neighborhood of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The Emmaus House Facebook page dubbed us "The Real Housewives of St. Vladimir's" and said, "Many of the people we serve at this location on Saturday are on the street most of the time, often in the throes of addiction, and not connected to the resources available to them. This is a hard and important work, and one which is in keeping with the priorities of the Emmaus movement which is to serve those who suffer most. Thank you, the Real Housewives of St. Vladimir's, for your outstanding work and service to the community!" 

We were also able to tour the House with one of the directors, Michael Taylor, and learn about the many ministries offered by its dedicated staff. The Emmaus House fulfills its mission to serve the poor in its community in many different ways. We saw their thrift store, sidewalk sale, and food market in action on the day of our visit, and learned about the ESL, SSL and GED classes they sponsor throughout the week. We often receive a lot of help and support from others as seminarian families, and so it was a blessing to be able to give to others who need help as well.

As we made the sandwiches, a passage from Matthew 25:35-40 posted on the wall Distributing food and supplies in HarlemDistributing food and supplies in Harlemabove our heads reminded us of Christ's words: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I wasEmmaus House is warm and inviting; here, clothing awaits distributionEmmaus House is warm and inviting; here, clothing awaits distribution naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?" And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."