The Five Women of Angels' Place
Over 20 years ago, two moms, who were also nurses, sat across from each other in the Beaumont Hospital cafeteria and ventured into a conversation that would change not only their lives, but the lives of many.
I think God brought Loretta, Annemarie, Peggy, Margaret, and I together, so He could use us as instruments to start Angels’ Place for his beloved disabled ones.
From the first meeting I had with Loretta and Anne Marie at our kitchen table, we were filled with the Holy Spirit. The process of planning for our first group home was filled with faith and action. Never once did we waiver and say to ourselves that this project would not come about. We were determined and kept moving forward and learning what it would take to see our dream come true.
I made the call to Cardinal Maida, who was good enough to invite us to his home for a meeting. We talked with him about our hopes and dreams of serving those in need through Angels’ Place. At the end of our meeting, he gave us his blessing on the project and said we could use his name throughout the community to help develop the support needed to implement our plans. From there the circle of love opened; more and more people were called to help. The seeds we sowed have developed into a beautiful Christian community of homes honoring our Lord Jesus. I am extremely humbled to have played a part in the formation of Angels’ Place.
When State institutions closed, there was a real shortage of quality housing for persons with developmental disabilities. Parents were told that it would be years before service would be available unless there was a death of both parents. My husband Ray and I worried about what would happen to our daughter Charlotte when we were gone.
I met Loretta Nagle while working as a nurse at Beaumont hospital. I explained the needs in the community and my thoughts and vision for a residential service organization. And so our work began. Our mission is and has always been to provide real, comfortable homes to persons with developmental disabilities. Our residents are treated as unique individuals, are respected for who they are, and are encouraged to develop to their fullest abilities.
This is done within a Christian environment that permeates their lives and impacts the lives of the staff, volunteers and Board Members. When Angels’ Place accepts a person into one of our homes, we commit to that person for the rest of their life. We are addressing aging issues and working with families to determine end of life issues. People associated with the Angels’ Place family have a valuable part to play in the organization.
In Loving Memory.
By the grace of God, I met Rosemary Kelly when I was looking for a home in Oakland County for my daughter Mary Anne. She told me about Annemarie and Loretta and their hope to establish homes for the developmentally disabled. I joined them with Peggy Prentice around various kitchen tables and Angels’ Place began to evolve. It was hard to imagine that Angels’ Place would grow into the organization that it has become today. I monitor several homes and it is a joy to see the residents so happy. We are grateful to all the people involved with Angels’ Place who have brought it to what it is today.
I hope and pray that we will be able to continue to help all those who need a place to live in a home-like environment. I also hope that as our residents age, we will be able to care for their special needs. Angels’ Place has come so far and my five sons, Mary Anne & myself will be eternally grateful that I was asked to join the group around the kitchen table in 1992.
In Loving Memory.
Peggy’s involvement in the founding of Angels’ Place began forty-seven years ago, with the birth of her third son, Matthew. After a few months, it became apparent that his development rate was well below normal. Following a few evaluations, it was determined that he was severely retarded, a condition we now recognize as Developmentally Disabled.
Following Matthew’s graduation from the Special Education program at Cloverdale School in Farmington in 1978, Peggy turned to the Macomb Oakland Regional Center for assistance in selecting a good group home and workshop. His first two placements were marginal, at best, with no religious component whatsoever. It was the awareness of these types of situations that led Peggy to join with Ann Marie Lopez, Margaret Maxwell and Loretta Nagle to set the course that led to the formation of Angels’ Place. Their persistence, of course, paid off in the opening of the first Angels’ Place home in 1992.
Eventually, after several meetings, they were even able to get Cardinal Maida to provide assistance and strong encouragement for the program that will soon proudly boast of sixteen thriving homes with inherent Christian principles. Peggy was very excited and proud of the rapid progress of the organization and was disappointed that her health kept her from participating in its continued growth over the past few years.
In Loving Memory.
Working as a nurse at Beaumont Hospital, I met Annemarie Lopez, another nurse, for breakfast one morning. She told me about Charlotte, her daughter with a profound disability, and how worried she was about what would happen to her when she was no longer here to take care of her. She said she’d like to open Christian homes for people like Charlotte as there was a waiting list of over 1,000 in Oakland County alone.
As I was talking to her I thought about my very good friend, Rosemary Kelly, who was opening Rose Hill, serving those with mental Illness. Rosemary came over the very next day with 2 big bouquets of pink carnations for Annemarie and I and told us we could do this!
The Myrtle Hess Foundation gave us our first grant of $10,000 dollars; Crossreach Ministry and Ford Motor Company each gave $25,000. Jim & I went to buy our first house Saddlewood! It has been a wonderful journey. Angels’ Place has a life of its own. We five women realize now that God will use anyone who is willing. The Lord allowed Angels’ Place to develop and grow.
Our residents accept us unconditionally. The face of Jesus is evident on each and every one. It has been a joy to be a part of their lives. They have given me so much more than I could ever give to them. I thank God daily that I can be a part of His work here on earth.
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