Inspirational Stories

Davon’s Story

Told by Msgr. Patrick Brown:

On Friday, April 17th, after 4:30 pm, when most employees of Catholic Family and Community Services would be getting ready to leave, Mr. Davon LeGrier, a social worker, here, who grew-up in the city of Paterson came to me and asked me to come with him into the kitchen on the lower level of our building on DeGrasse St. in Paterson. In the kitchen was a young lady named Sofia with her small daughter of 2 ½ years. Sofia and her daughter were in a difficult dilemma as Sofia had completed 9 months in her pregnancy with the expectation that at any moment she would give birth, but had no place to live. For the last seven days Sofia and her daughter were living on the streets of Paterson. Two nights they slept in an abandoned car. Their clothes were worn and dirty.

One of our shining lights at the agency, Mr. Davon LeGrier, was exemplifying our Catholic social values as he was most accommodating to Sofia and her daughter and showed them a sincere and charitable heart. He gave the little girl some juice and cookies and Sofia accepted water. He invited me, as a priest, into this moment of service with the hope that I could help in some way, since mother and child were both homeless and had no place to stay that night. Spiritually, how could I turn this mother and daughter away, when our own Lord and his mother, Mary, were in the same situation?

I accompanied Davon to Eva’s Village, where my good friend, Donna, arranged a room for them in the old Dean McNulty residence for mothers and children. We would then work to secure Sofia and her daughter permanent residence along with food and clothing. After having settled them into a room, Davon picked-up clothes from our Boutique at the Father English Community Center so that both mother and child could have a chance to wash and put on some clean clothes. Other women who lived at the Dean McNulty residence, themselves the recipients of charity, offered the food they had prepared for their families to Sofia and her daughter. Throughout this moment of service Davon’s kind manner brought a level of peacefulness and the spirit of the Holy Scriptures, “Do Not Be Afraid”, to Sofia and her daughter.

The following day, on Saturday, April 18th, Sofia entered St. Joseph’s Hospital and delivered a baby boy, with a challenge to live. The baby entered the pediatric care center of our Catholic hospital in Paterson. The little girl was placed in temporary foster care until her mother, Sofia, was released from the hospital with a place to live arranged for by Catholic Family and Community Services.

I visited the baby and Sofia twice when they were still at St. Joseph’s Hospital. As a Catholic priest, believing in the gift of life, I was so proud to work with Davon, who made no judgments, but simply walked the streets like Jesus to find a solution for this homeless family. I also commend Archie Burrell, who spoke first to Sofia and encouraged Davon to do whatever he could to be of assistance. Maria Sobieska, at Catholic Family and Community Services, helped with the referral information and added a special loving presence to a very frightened young girl ready to give birth.

This is why Catholic Family and Community Services, a Catholic Charities Agency of the Diocese of Paterson, under the strong leadership of Ms. Diane Silbernagel and Bob Jacob, is an extraordinary place of hope and truly lives the Catholic social teachings that all life is precious. Bishop Serratelli has sought to make evangelization the cornerstone of all that we do in the Diocese of Paterson. True evangelization occurred this day, because not only did we teach the ineffable dignity and value of human life, but also we sought to make sure that a person in a difficult situation was able to follow through on that teaching, we put faith into action!