City officials — who did not return my calls for comment — are trying to stop street-feeding programs. Due to zoning restrictions imposed by the city, the relocated Camillus House, also near Jackson, is no longer able to feed people who just knock on the door unless they are registered clients.
That leaves the homeless with basically two options to eat: the Miami Rescue Mission, whose numbers of diners has doubled, and the Missionaries of Charity, besides a handful of churches that host random feeding programs.
Thomas Greer, a blond, blue-eyed cook from Arkansas, is one of the regular diners at the convent. He ended up on the streets five years ago after a divorce and loss of employment. He suffers from depression and acknowledges he just does not know how to move on with his life.
“This place has kept me alive for five years,” said Greer, 58. “I don’t have to steal food or eat from a trash can.”
He said that finding a bed under a roof is not as easy as it seems. At Camillus House, there is a waiting list now and it only has a few shelter beds to begin with. The Homeless Assistance Center (HAC) is almost always full. Homeless people also don’t want to leave Miami because of the weather, therefore county and city officials should work collaboratively to address the issue of sufficient shelter beds and appropriate feeding programs.
The nuns’ convent, which also serves as a shelter for women with children, is one of 710 centers administered by the Missionaries of Charity in 130 countries. It was on a train ride in 1946 from Calcutta to Darjeeling, that Gonxha Bojaxhiu, the future Mother Teresa, received her inspiration to work for the needy, which she later described as a “call within a call.” Four years later, the Society of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established.
She was a living witness to the love of God, and millions of people in the world have felt touched by her, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity.
Exactly one day before the Miami inspector issued the violation notice to the sisters, Pope Francis marked the beginning of his pontifical commission calling on society to work especially with the poor.
Miami politicians should listen to the pope and, instead of harassing Mother Teresa’s ambassadors, help them.