Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

Prayer service for death of homeless woman

First slide

Nearly 25 students from The Catholic University of America in Washington gathered last month in prayer to remember the death of a homeless friend, Ms. Bobbie, whom the students met and befriended while participating in the Office of Campus Ministry’s weekly homeless food runs. The service took place at the K Street underpass, where Ms. Bobbie lived for five of her nine years of homelessness, on the same day that residents of the encampment there were forced by the Washington government to vacate the area and relocate permanently elsewhere.

Many of the former encampment residents have nowhere else to go, said Amanda Martin, a senior who has participated in the homeless food runs for most of her college career.

“It felt like divine providence that we were able to be down there the day that everyone was moved,” Martin said. “It was the least we could do to try to honor (Ms. Bobbie).”

While participating in the food runs, Martin and senior Katie Connolly befriended several members of the homeless community. Planning the prayer vigil for Ms. Bobbie was important to Martin and Connolly as a way to show support and dignity for the homeless community.

“She was a very strong woman and a proud woman and she was a support system for a lot of the other people on K Street,” said Martin, who remembers Ms. Bobbie as a “tough gal” who “didn’t always accept our sandwiches, but was always very gracious and kind.”

During her time volunteering with the homeless food runs, Martin said she was inspired to get to know members of the homeless population and learn from their life experiences.

“As students, we go down there every week, we give sandwiches and we have conversations, but we can’t fix the bigger problems that these people are facing,” she said. “This was a beautiful way to go a little bit further, to love Ms. Bobbie in this way and to recognize her story, her name, and honor her as a person.”

As part of the vigil, students were led in prayer by Father Jude DeAngelo, university chaplain. Connolly and Martin shared memories of Ms. Bobbie, as did Mike, a member of the K Street community. Together, the group read Scriptures and sang, “Amazing Grace.”

“Ms. Bobbie didn’t have what most people would consider to be a beautiful life,” Martin said. “The least we could give her was a beautiful way to be remembered after death.”

Bahr is assistant director of communications and media relations at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Watch the video

To watch a video on the homeless food run program, go to vimeo.com/377826849.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020