When We Dwell in Compassion

  Sometimes a person we invite to Joseph’s House for shelter longs for a different home. Zoe cannot be comforted. For many years she lived on the streets and for years at a time had no contact with her mother. Dying now, of liver disease, she was referred to Joseph’s House a few months ago for hospice care. Since then Zoe and her …read more »


August is a month of homecomings at Joseph’s House. Actually, it is a month of farewells and homecomings. We begin the month saying final good-byes to our service year volunteers before welcoming back former volunteers and staff who return to help out for a week or two while we are short staffed. We are grateful for their return because we can more …read more »

Dear Amy and Anand

By Neshia Alaovae, 2012-2013 Jesuit Volunteer Corps service volunteer. This entry was originally posted on Neshia's blog: Take Gentle Care: A Service Journey. It had been a full day, this last day. I had woken up that morning in semi-darkness after a night of blessed rest. For weeks, I had not been sleeping well. The DC heat certainly played a …read more »

In Their Words: a Year of Service at Joseph’s House

Our year-long volunteers are finishing up their service at Joseph's House. In these videos, they reflect on their time here, sharing their thoughts on everything from what makes our community life possible and the experience of sitting vigil to the power of laughter in a home that cares for the dying. Neshia Alaovae, Jesuit Volunteer …read more »

Taking Their Places in the World

Amy Chatelaine, Anand Dwivedi and Neshia Alaovae arrived at Joseph’s House last September to serve here for a year, from the heart.  Our welcoming home is perched on the very edge of life and death and it took courage for them to cross the threshold. When they did we asked them for a lot. They gave their all. We asked for their courage to turn …read more »

Endings and Beginnings

By Tina Bolt Tina came to Joseph’s House in the fall of 2011 through the Mennonite Voluntary Service. Following her year as a full-time volunteer, Tina joined the staff as a resident care aide. She’ll be spending the summer with her family in Michigan before heading to Portland, Oregon, for her next adventures. Endings and beginnings are the …read more »

I Still Have Joy

The first week or two that Tony was at Joseph’s House he was always in such a good mood, always so cheerful that I thought, “Is this guy for real?” Turns out, he is. Tony is a chef and from the day he arrived he started cooking for the house, preferring to orchestrate big dinners. His favorite is a feast of fried croaker, steamed clams, greens, …read more »

God Came to Dinner Friday Night

The table was set with one of my favorite meals of quesadillas with lots of fresh toppings and sides. It was a lovely meal, though not too fancy. Some Friday nights we have guests who join for dinner, but tonight it was just “family”—residents, staff and volunteers along with one resident’s mother and another’s close friend. It was a full house and …read more »

A Visit from a Teacher and Friend

“How do you deal with so many losses?” Frank Ostaseski asked a group of Joseph’s House volunteers, residents and staff gathered in our living room on a bright spring morning. Neisha, one of our year-long volunteers, reflected on her cultural tradition of strong connections to the ancestors. It doesn’t stop the pain of loss, she said, but it does …read more »

Lean on Me

Our new blog is named for the Joseph’s House anthem: Lean on Me by Bill Withers. It was over 20 years ago when we first played Lean on Me at the end of a memorial service in the living room at Joseph’s House. After saying the Serenity Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer, everyone put their arms around each and stood in a close circle, the volume was …read more »