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Spirit of Hope at St. Martin's

By Angie Chinn-Peterson, St. Martin de Porres Shelter

"Genesis" by Ray

Painting by a former resident, I. James, featured in the Shelter’s front room

Not long ago, homeless people were facing piercing cold winds and snow on Seattle’s streets. Days were bleak and dreary. Yet, life inside St. Martin’s seems to transform these dark days. Stories of men moving into their own apartments; residents’ artwork displayed in the Shelter; and spring flowers blooming in our garden all help to brighten the days. A spirit of hope and renewal prevails this Spring.

Over the years some of our residents have beautifully captured the spirit of the spring season through their artwork. Former resident Ray believes beauty is needed everywhere. He created a colorful and intricate pencil sketch made on a concrete wall of an exit ramp leading off Highway 99. It is an interesting place to find beauty.

Ray’s drawing entitled Genesis depicts plant, animal, and human forms intertwined as one representing the creation of this world. It symbolizes the wonder of rebirth. Other works illustrate life and the wonder of nature.

Ray has dedicated much of his work to the Shelter including a piece he drew for our chapel. He says that the gifts of compassion and respect were daily bestowed upon him at St. Martin de Porres Shelter by the staff and volunteers.  Drawings allow him to give something back to all of us.

Several of the resident artists, whose works are represented throughout St. Martin's, have left the Shelter to their own places in permanent housing. But, their spirit of giving and compassion lives on.

This Spring, we celebrate these men who have moved out of homelessness. We celebrate the 10 men who have found permanent housing in the first quarter of this year; we celebrate all of our friends who faithfully help to keep our shelter open; and we celebrate the spirit of new beginnings.

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