A future Catholic maternity home in the Portland area is inching closer to its grand opening.
St. Maria’s Maternity Home is not in existence yet — but its founder is full of vision. Marie Barzen ran the Beaverton 40 Days for Life campaign for several years. During that time, she met a pregnant woman who desperately needed housing. Local services, however, quoted a three-month wait.
Barzen, a devout Catholic, began praying. “Why are there no Catholic maternity homes?” she asked God. The answer she received: “Because you haven’t started one yet.”
“Honestly, I became frustrated when I found out that while there is some financial aid to pregnant moms in crisis, there are no Catholic homes in our metro area,” Barzen said. “We Catholics can and must do better.”
Barzen began pulling together a team, including a board of directors, and researching successful maternity homes around the nation and in Oregon (including Road 2 Hope in Beaverton). St. Maria’s Maternity Home is now officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is gearing up for its first building campaign. 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit has already agreed to be the keynote speaker for the home’s first online fundraiser.
The home, which they plan to open somewhere in Portland or Beaverton, will focus on pregnant mothers in crisis who do not struggle with addiction — a group largely ignored by government social services.
“We hope to provide a long-term path to success for these families and integration into society,” says Claire Anctil Cathey, a St. Maria’s supporter. On that note, their model will allow mothers and children to stay up to three years.
“In that time, the moms are supported in becoming healthy, independent, self-sufficient mothers,” Cathey explains. “This is our goal here in Portland, to offer women and their children this kind of true support and care. They are so worth it!”