Winter 2016

An Update from the Executive Director
Dear Mary's Shelter Friends,

Loving Community.  Those are the words that came to mind as we assembled this newsletter.   The loving community of volunteers who made our Arts and Crafts Benefit so successful.  The loving community of service groups, churches, schools, and others who added our moms and children to their Christmas gift list.  The loving community of mentors and doulas that strengthen and support our moms through their pregnancy, baby's birth and after (see below for pictures of the four new beautiful babies at Mary's Shelter!).   We are humbled by and grateful for this loving community. 

We also are so grateful to the loving community of donors who oftentimes give sacrificially to financially support Mary's Shelter.  Your support enables us to maintain our five homes and to expand our outreach to women and children in our community and beyond.  At our last soiree, we shared with you our vision for creating a new program at Mary's Shelter to help even more women and children.  Thanks to your generosity that night and throughout the year, we were able to create the Mary's Shelter Respite Program.  This program is for women who find themselves in an emergency situation who need temporary assistance but do not require a room in one of our maternity homes.  These women and children just need a loving hand, a little time to get things in order, and some financial assistance to move to another location or in with family.  They need to know there is a good, caring community who love them.
We have been able to help many families.  We assisted one young mom who was in an abusive relationship for years, lived in a tent with her five children and saw no way out.  With your support we were able to assist this woman for a few months with a new place to live, as well as bedding, clothing, and food for her children and her.  This short-term assistance gave her the stability to get a job so that she can provide for her family.  Her children are now in school and daycare and they live in a safe location free of abuse. This family is one of the many we have helped.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.  We see babies saved, lives changed and children thrive because of your love, generosity and prayers.

God Bless,

Kathleen Wilson
Executive Director

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Mother Teresa



Mary's Shelter

10 Year Anniversary Celebration


Saturday, August 13, 2016


Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center



More details to follow soon!



2015 Arts and Crafts Benefit a Great Success

Thank you so much for helping make the 2015 Arts and Crafts Benefit such a huge success.  Under the joyful leadership of our outstanding volunteer, Adele Anderson, we raised nearly $6,000 on one beautiful November day!   A record number of generous bakers, artists, and crafters shared their talents to make this day so successful and memorable. 
We also were blessed with tremendous volunteers at the benefit who cashiered, greeted and served guests, decorated, set up and cleaned up, among other duties.  We especially are grateful to all the teens who willingly gave up their Saturday to serve others.  Your contagious smiles and selflessness are truly inspirational. 

We also had a first this year -- live music!  The Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians (FAYM) Concert Choir greeted our guests with beautiful Christmas carols, and at noon the coffee house rang out with the seasonal music of the "High IQ" quartet, made up of young local musicians.
Thank you to all who contributed to this success.  We are humbled once again at the generosity of our community! 

Our New Babies!


Starasia's Baby  




   Baby Abraham

Resident Interview:  Jessica
How did you find out about Mary's Shelter?

I found out about Mary's Shelter through the INova Pregnancy Center in Fairfax, VA.  I was currently living with my parents because my husband had literally abandoned my son and I, who was 4 at the time in El Paso, TX.  So, I drove all the way from TX to VA with my son and everything that I could fit in my car. I literally had nowhere to go.  Thankfully, my parents let me stay with them temporarily until I could find somewhere else to live because they had no extra room in their house for us.  When I found out I was pregnant I was completely devastated and I had no idea what I was going to do or where I was going to go.  I was so scared and I just thought to myself there is no way I could bring another child into this world, especially with my circumstances and the fact that the father wasn't going to help at all.  When I went to the Pregnancy Center I wanted to find out my options and I was honestly considering an abortion.  They told me about Mary's Shelter and gave me the contact information.  They told me to call right away and how they might have an opening.   So I contacted them right away and thank God, Ms. Kathleen told me they had a room for my son and I.  We were able to move in within 2 weeks.

Please tell us what your life would have been like had you not come to Mary's Shelter.
I do not know what I would have done without Mary's Shelter.  This shelter was truly a blessing to my kids and I.  I don't know where I would have gone or lived and I was terrified I would have ended up on the streets or some of the horrible shelters that you hear about.

How would you describe your life growing up?

I didn't have the best upbringing.  I lived with my biological mother and 2 brothers until the age of 8.  We were taken from her by CPS because of abandonment, neglect and abuse.  My mother was a schitzophrenic and heavily into drugs and alcohol.  Our case was opened for 5 years and during that time my brother and I moved to several foster homes while we still maintained weekly supervised visits with our mom at the government center.  Our case was finally closed after 5 years and we were adopted when I was 13.  The parents who adopted my brother and I also adopted 6 other kids and have 3 biological.  We were blessed to be adopted by such a nice and caring family.

Please tell us about your children.

I have a son named Tristen, who is 5.  He is my first born.  He is an amazing little boy who is so energetic and fun to be around.  He is fun and creative and so caring and loving.  He has endured alot at a young age but has such a positive attitude.  My little Leah is my 9 month old daughter and she was such a surprise but definitely a blessing and now I could never imagine my life, or my little family without her.  She is absolutely beautiful and such a happy little girl.  Both of my kids are my heart and soul and their smiles light up every room and brighten all of my darkest days!!

What are your hopes for your children?

My hopes for my children are that they grow up to be good people and make good decisions.  I hope they are ultimately healthy and happy and succeed in all their endevours.  I would love for them to stay in school and go to college and get degrees.  I hope they grow up to have a strong relationship with God and they will have strong and loving relationships with me and ultimately find significant others and have a family of their own.

What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced?

The greatest challenges I have faced were going through foster care at such a young age and being separated from my biological mother and siblings.  It was hard moving so many times and living with so many different families.  Saying goodbye to my biological mother at 13 was also very hard.  Also, this past marriage of 7 years and having two kids with a man who ultimately turned out to be completely different than what I thought and abandoning his kids and family was obviously heart breaking and very traumatic.  Another challenging hardship was going through this last pregnancy alone and moving to Fredericksburg and living in a shelter with my kids.  I have definitely been through a lot in life but I like to think I have overcome every challenge I have been faced with the best way I could.

What have you found helpful about Mary's Shelter?

Mary's Shelter has helped me in so many ways.  They have not only provided me with a place that I can call a home and a roof over my head but they have also helped out with baby clothes, toys, toiletries, and food.  They were also able to help me go back to college and get a Clinical Medical Certificate, which is an opportunity I probably would have never gotten anywhere else.

Are there things about living at Mary's Shelter that you find difficult?

There are some strict rules at Mary's Shelter such as curfews and chores but it is not really difficult to abide by the rules or do the chores because they are very reasonable.  Also they don't expect anything from you that you wouldn't have to do in the outside world living on your own.  The only thing that can be kind of difficult is living with strangers and adapting to different women from different backgrounds and trying to all get along.  When there are so many different personalities and so many women who come and go it can get emotionally draining trying to readjust over and over again....but if you just keep focus on yourself and your kids again, it is really not that hard.

What place does God have in your life?

I am Catholic and I do believe in God and that he led me to Mary's Shelter.  My faith is still growing and I am in the process now of still getting to know God and finding a good church in the area for my kids and I.  I hope that my faith with God will only grow stronger as the time goes on.

Volunteer Spotlight - Adele Anderson 

My husband Ryan and I have been married for 27 years and have been blessed with eight children. When we were first married, Ryan bought me a huge encyclopedia of knitting. It usually remained on the shelf as I raised and taught the kids, but periodically it would be dusted off and I would learn a new stitch. Over time, I've grown to love wool, knitting, spinning, weaving...all things fiber.

 I first heard about Mary's Shelter through the members of my homeschooling group who courageously took in the first family who was in need. As Mary's Shelter grew and more families were housed, I became more aware of this gift from God. So I used my fiber skills to make and sell hand knitted items, with the proceeds going to Mary's Shelter. But God wasn't done yet.
One day in my hearing, a young teen mentioned how she wished that she could use her jewelry-making talent for charity. God used her selflessness to plant the seed for an annual pro-life benefit. Each fall since then, an email goes out to friends of Mary's Shelter asking for artisans, crafters, and bakers to donate their time and talent to hand-craft items that can be sold at the benefit.

 Last year's benefit, our seventh one, was filled with joy as donors, customers, and volunteers gathered to share their gifts. We even had live music provided by Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians (FAYM). When given a cause as beautiful as Mary's Shelter, people simply want to give.
Initially, God used a teen to inspire the idea of an arts and crafts benefit to help support Mary's Shelter. God has continued to use teens, my own as well as many others, to set up, donate, sell, and serve during each of the benefits. I think the pro-life movement is alive and well and its future is bright. And yes, a 2016 Mary's Shelter Arts and Crafts Benefit is in the works!"

Our Volunteers are a very important, integral part of this ministry.  If you are interested in volunteering, or looking for information about volunteer opportunities, please email Theresa, our Volunteer Coordinator, at:

Thank You!
Once again, the Fredericksburg community showed so much kindness to our moms and children.  Christmas was a joyful celebration for our Mary's Shelter families because of the generosity of so many.  We are so thankful to the following:

CCM Homeschooling Group
Fredericksburg Mom's Group
Girl Scout Troop 430
Holy Cross Academy
Knights of Columbus Fredericksburg Council 4034
Knights of Columbus Father Widmer Council and Margaret Ladies Auxiliary
Marine Memorial Chapel
Project Linus
St. Anne's Sisters in Faith
St. Francis of Assisi,  Mrs. Herrmann's Class
St. Jude Catholic Church
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
St. Matthew Catholic Church
St. Patrick Catholic Church

Thank you also to those who have dropped donations of clothing, baby supplies and so much more off at our homes.  We love the donations and seeing you!

Our Wish List!
If you'd like to make a donation of material goods to Mary's Shelter, here is a list of our current needs: 
If you find it in your heart to host a baby shower or conduct a drive for us, please email Anne in the office at
Fulfill the Promise Campaign
Are you a part of the Mary's Shelter family? Our Fulfill the Promise campaign asks for just a small monthly donation. Could you commit to $20 a month to fund Mary's Shelter?