A Sign of Hope: Renae’s Story

By Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor

Renae has always been fiercely independent, and she takes pride in her ability to take care of herself, but life can throw unexpected challenges our way. Renae had been working for a real estate company, juggling her job along with community initiatives in the city she calls home. However, her life took an unexpected turn when she injured her foot while working.

“I’ve always been so self-sufficient, probably too independent, but life happens,” Renae recounted in an interview. “I worked a lot, so it started as stress fractures, and I didn’t take off the time that was needed for them to heal. The reason I didn’t was because I felt like I couldn’t afford to.”

As time went on, her injuries worsened, and she found herself in a dire situation. “I refractured my foot, two bones in my foot. It wasn’t a question of whether I could afford to or not; I had to. You don’t plan on breaking your foot or your arm or whatever the case may be,” she explained. “You just need someone to give you a helping hand to get you through.”

Renae was faced with a situation she never imagined. She had worked hard all her life, and the thought of being homeless at the age of 60 was not something she ever anticipated. “People don’t grow up and say that by the time I get to 60 years old, I have to be living in a homeless shelter or sleeping on the street,” she said.

Determined to find a way out of her predicament, Renee turned to Catholic Charities. She began attending the day program at Rachel’s Women’s Center, finding solace in the services they provided. She later applied for housing through Rachel’s Night Shelter.

“Catholic Charities is a blessing in so many ways, particularly at Rachel’s,” Renee noted. “The things that they offer, from meals to helping people and all kinds of services that are available, are incredible.”


Renae shared an emotional experience she witnessed at the center. “To see the faces of people coming off the street and that they are excited about having a bed, number one, and to go to the bathroom and have showers, to have shampoo and conditioner and all the things that girls like. To see them come out of the shower with tears in their eyes because they haven’t had a shower in so long that’s a blessing.”

She firmly believes that Catholic Charities answers prayers in unique ways, providing hope to those who have fallen on hard times. “None of us sign up for the hardships. None of us set a meter on how bad it gets or when it gets better, but you need an organization like Catholic Charities.”

Renae’s journey with Catholic Charities didn’t end at Rachel’s. She was able to sign up for the EBT SNAP program to further improve her situation. “What looked like a really bad situation is that Catholic Charities took what was going on and made it better. They couldn’t heal my foot, but they made it easier for my foot to heal.” She expressed her gratitude for the hotel-motel voucher that Catholic Charities provided.

“The days and times I have been here have been a blessing for me. I didn’t realize how tired I was because I worked two jobs. I’m starting my life over, and it’s been a blessing to experience what Catholic Charities has to offer.”

Renae appreciated the support that allowed her to focus on healing.

“It’s been a blessing for me to know that for a week and then another week, I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to do for the necessities of life. I could literally lay on this bed, prop my foot up, take the necessary medicine, and heal.”


Renae’s story exemplified the invaluable role that Catholic Charities played in providing support, hope, and assistance to individuals facing unexpected hardships. It was through our compassionate services that she found a renewed sense of security and the opportunity to rebuild her life.


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