The June 2018 Ministry Stories feature Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women and show how it is a home dedicated to safety and dignity for a diverse community of women where they can begin new and productive lives.

Support Sarah’s by attending the Breakfast Buffet and Benefit!

A Relationship Built on Trust


At the age of 20, Mandesa* learned she would never see her mother alive again after the terrorists raided her small home town not far from the East African coast. For Mandesa, this was only the latest in a series of painful events that shaped a life of constant movement and fear. Mandesa was first raped at the age of 13 by a government soldier. Her only brother, just a kid, was brutally beaten and abducted into a child army. She never slept through the night without waking in a panic. Never satisfied with their conquests, she understood the young men with fatigues and machine guns would eventually reach her wherever she went.

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A Relationship Built on Trust At the age of 20, Mandesa* learned she would never see her mother alive again after the terrorists raided her small home town not far from the East African coast. For Mandesa, this was only the latest in a series of painful events that shaped a life of constant movement and fear. Mandesa was first raped at the age of 13 by a government soldier. Her only brother, just a kid, was brutally beaten and abducted into a child army. She never slept through the night without waking in a panic. Never satisfied with their conquests, she understood the young men with fatigues and machine guns would eventually reach her wherever she went. [showhide type="9" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] With determination and cunning, Mandesa escaped and is now one of the approximately 500,000 survivors of torture and war-related trauma living in the United States. Like the majority of torture survivors, Mandesa carries around deep physical and psychological wounds.  Even without these profound challenges, Mandesa needed to find a way to survive without money, support from family or friends, or even the benefit of speaking English. As an asylum seeker, Mandesa was barred from accessing public housing or financial emergency services from both county and federal sources. Not eligible to work, she could not afford food and basic health care. A crippling fear of being returned to her oppressors through deportation and a post-traumatic fear of institutional detention made it nearly impossible for her to seek help. Without support, Mandesa’s only choice was a homeless shelter where she was at risk for abuse or violence. Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women provides women fleeing abuse and torture with a safe and comfortable home where they can recover and get help to resume their lives. Twenty years ago,...

The Impact of Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women


As Sarah’s enters its 23rd year of ministry, it’s important to pause and reflect on the depth and breadth of Sarah’s impact in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and the world. 
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The Impact of Sarah’s… an Oasis for Women As Sarah’s enters its 23rd year of ministry, it’s important to pause and reflect on the depth and breadth of Sarah’s impact in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and the world.  [showhide type="20" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] There are numerous transitional housing programs located in the Twin Cities that serve specific populations. Examples include domestic violence shelters, homes for the elderly and/or disabled, homes for HIV-positive persons, and programs for homeless teen-agers. Few however are suitable for immigrant women who lack access to these and other public programs and resources. Adding to the complications are language and cultural barriers, misogyny, racism, and untreated trauma resulting from torture, discrimination, war and other types of abuse. Sarah’s holds a unique place as a one-of-a-kind transitional home in Minnesota serving primarily immigrant women who are struggling to become established in the USA. Housing women who face similar challenges allows Sarah’s to tailor its community-based service model toward the needs of residents. The women of Sarah’s find strength and resilience living in a community of women who are going through comparable experiences. During 2017-2018, Sarah served 43 unique women. Of those 43: 13 moved on to permanent housing 18 secured employment (full or part-time) 22 furthered their education (high school, ELL, college); and 4 gained permanent residency or begin the U.S. citizenship process. Sarah’s occupancy is limited to 32 residents. All 43 unique women experienced healing, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Sarah’s has served over 650 women from 70 different nations and stands as a testament to the impact of the CSJ mission: always moving toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction. Your support and gifts of time, talent, and treasure are needed now more than ever. With this in mind, Sarah’s extends deep...

Women of Substance


Two weeks ago, a group of women from Sarah’s and I went to a Lizzo concert at St. Catherine’s University during their Women of Substance Festival which seeks to bring empowering and inspirational women to campus for a beautiful week of events. 
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Women of Substance Two weeks ago, a group of women from Sarah’s and I went to a Lizzo concert at St. Catherine’s University during their Women of Substance Festival which seeks to bring empowering and inspirational women to campus for a beautiful week of events. [showhide type="20" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] It was a beautiful spring night and the ladies of Sarah’s were dressed to impress in each of her own ways varying from our sister from Kenya in her habit to our younger resident in ripped jeans and Nike’s. Going to a concert is a rare occasion for the women of Sarah’s let alone a hip hop concert, so needless to say this was a big event.  I mean, Lizzo is famous. In my endeavor to round up concert-goers, I learned that the women of Sarah’s love experience.  When our sister in-residence came to me asking if she could go see Lizzo, I honestly laughed.  The image of risque lyrics referencing butts shaking and the dance moves on stage to match in front of her very eyes made me anxious and giddy all at once.  Since when do sisters like hip hop I thought?  So, I reminded her “It’s a hip hop concert, Sister.  Very loud and very…different”.  And all she replied with was, “I know, so can I go”?  I was floored. How ready she was! By the end of the day, we had two of your youngest residents, a woman who is highly religious in practice but loves to get down, and a sister all excited to attend the concert. In our mini-van, we drove off to St. Kate’s double-checking we all had our tickets and talking about who the opener for Lizzo would be.  I gave the women a “pep-talk” in case I was still right about being hesitant to bring some to the...