Catholic Charities Newsletter

October 2018

From the Director’s Desk

October has arrived, bringing with it once again beautiful colors, crisp, cool air and as observed annually by the Catholic Church, Respect Life Month.  Not only in October, but throughout each day of every month of the year, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, not only from the very beginning of life until its end, but each moment in between.   
Especially now, with feelings of such unrest, as children of God we are personally called to reflect His love onto all others, for each and every person is sacred and has the right to be honored with dignity.  Life and Dignity of the Human Person is the foundation of all the principles of the Catholic social teachings.
As you will witness from the articles and stories below, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque is committed to respecting the life of every person and shining God’s grace and mercy on all.  Every person is precious. Because the human life and dignity of the poor are most at risk, giving priority concern to the poor and the vulnerable strengthens the health of the whole community.  
Thank you for your support of Catholic Charities in our vision to advocate for and serve these individuals who are most in need. For additional resources and information regarding Respect Life Month, click here.

For more information about Catholic Charities’ please visit our website.
God Bless,
Tracy Morrison, Executive Director


Being the daughter of a Baptist Minister, Michelle was very involved in her church, spending much of her time there while growing up. 

Michelle reflects, “Having such a happy childhood,I guess I was sheltered from the outside world, so much so that I didn’t realize there was bad in it.”

“You hear people saying they hit rock bottom, but I think there was a basement to my rock bottom.” As an adult, Michelle not only learned about the “bad in the world” she endured it as she found herself in multiple abusive relationships beyond what many can imagine. Michelle, like many victims, felt there wasn’t an
other option due to her circumstances. Michelle had recently been diagnosed with Central Pain Sensitization Disorder, leaving her unable to work to support herself or her children. At times, Michelle wondered if death were a better option than living.
Yet, the day came when Michelle found her courage. She and her daughters made it to a domestic abuse shelter where they resided for four and a half months. During this time, Michelle applied for housing with Catholic Charities, even though there were no vacant apartments at the time. Michelle was desperate to get a home for her children and ended up moving into a dilapidated house that she tried to make a home. That was until Catholic Charities called with an opening.
“This apartment has allowed me and my daughters a place to grow, feel safe, and start living.” Michelle’s daughters had been struggling to catch up in school, but today they are doing well and excelling in their extra curricula’s. Michelle, along with other tenants in her apartment building have planted a community garden. When Michelle plants the tiny seeds, she finds herself thinking, “These seeds are like my kids, I now get to water them with positive and watch them grow.”
“It is very hard to leave when you go through impossible situations but never give up HOPE. Fear is real, but so is hope.” Michelle also attributes her strong faith as what helped her through, stating “God provides.”
“I’ve spent 22 years of my life on parole,” Nick revealed. “I don’t want to be looking out the window from the inside anymore.”


Nick first heard of Catholic Charities Jail & Prison Ministry while in prison from a friend, also doing time.  He states that once he made it to the Correctional Facility (halfway house), he made a point to reach out.  Nick states, “I believed that they would help, but I didn’t know how.” Nick was connected with the Jail and Prison Ministry Program, who matched him with a “Mentor” and a “Circle of Support.”   
Nick states that he is still figuring out his “faith journey” but states that has never been an issue to his circle members. He states, “My mentor once told me, we’re just good people trying to make the world a better place.”

Nick meets with his Circle of Support every couple of weeks and states he is very appreciative, stating “The more conversations I have with them, the more advice and support I receive.”  Nick began meeting with his Circle while still residing in the Work Release Facility. He is now residing in the community, working a full-time job in concrete construction, attending Drug Court weekly, and meeting the requirements of his parole.
Through a vast network of volunteer mentors and support groups, Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry program strives to prepare and support ex-offenders as they work toward positive re-entry into family and community life.

Due to the overwhelming need for immigration legal services across the Archdiocese, Catholic Charities has responded.  These last couple of months have been an exciting time at Catholic Charities with the addition of two Immigration Attorneys, Ry Meyer and Denise (Dee) Patters, along with two bilingual (Spanish) legal assistants, Catherine Clark and Claudia Rodriguez De Nunez. 

Immigration Legal Services Team, left to right: Miryam Antunez De Mayolo, Dee Patters, Yer Vang, Ellen Blocker, Claudia Rodriguez De Nunez, Catherine Clark & Ry Meyer

Our newest attorneys, Ry and Dee, between them both have years of  legal experience, along with their many accomplishments, they have both previously spent time as County Attorneys in Northeast Iowa. With these new staff additions, Catholic Charities currently has full-time a Immigration Attorney in the Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Dubuque office locations.
Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services continues to provide affordable, quality immigration legal services to help reunite families by assisting them in navigating the immigration system and advocating on their behalf. Catholic Charities assists with paperwork for green card and citizenship applications, family based visas, deferred action for childhood arrivals, temporary protected status, violence against women act, and other humanitarian immigration legal services. For more information, call 319-364-7121.

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

By Lisa Turner, L.M.F.T.
Mental Health Counselor
What should one look for in a healthy relationship, and what makes a person healthy? According to Paul in his letter to the Romans: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; if it is possible, as much as it depends on your, live peaceably with all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 9, 10, 18, 21 NKJV) October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and with that in mind, it is important to review some healthy characteristics of any God-honoring relationship.
  • A desire for closeness and connecting and that is more than superficial, charming, or physical; ability to feel empathy, and an ability to act on empathy;

  • A level of comfort with separateness and individuality
  • Being comfortable ENOUGH with confrontation that small and large issues do not get swept under the rug;
  • An capability to forgive others and yourself;
  • The aptitude to be an adult, and relate like an adult in adult relationships, and not revert to childish behaviors;
  • Possessing the skill to be stable and consistent in behaviors and emotions;
  • A wish to be a positive influence for your partner; and
  • The capacity to keep confidences.
In the current culture in which we live, we sometimes find ourselves in the awkward situation of having to either confront unhealthy relationship behaviors, or report them. What should you do if you suspect someone is in a relationship that is unsafe? According to the National Domestic Violence Helpline:
  • Express concern for his/her safety. Try to be direct and perhaps start with, “I’m worried about you because…” or “I’m concerned about your safety…”  
  • Listen without making judgments. Acknowledge her strengths and remind her that she is coping with a challenging and stressful situation.  
  • Tell victims that they are not alone. Encourage him/her to contact a local domestic violence agency.  
  • Tell her/him that the violence is not their fault, she/he does not deserve to be abused and that only her/his abuser can stop the abuse, and that there is no excuse for intimate partner violence.  
  • Do not tell her to leave or criticize her for staying.
  • Offer further assistance if you are able. Help with a safety plan.   
  • Be patient. Recognizing the problem is an important first step.
For full article, click here for the Catholic Charities’ Mental Health Resource page. 

Disaster Assistance 

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued disaster proclamations for several counties in Iowa in response to severe weather that has taken place the past few months. Once this occurs, the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program is activated for qualifying residents, along with the Disaster Case Management Program. If you know someone who has been affected by the storms or flooding and wants more information, please visit this website to access those counties eligible, the grant application and application deadline dates for each county.
We are also praying for all those affected by Hurricane Michael. Catholic Charities USA is the official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church and is providing immediate aid. CCUSA deploys disaster response experts to  provide direct assistance to affected communities and identify long term recovery needs. If you would like to Support CCUSA’s disaster relief effort today, please click here. 100% of funds raised go directly to those affected.