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A Home Built by Angels! Wichita Falls October, 2007

Feature Story by Terrie Vacek

Home Dedication

Karen Lewis, the recipient of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas (CDA) Habitat for Humanity build in Wichita Falls, warmed the hearts of guests attending the dedication of her new home stating, "it was a home built by angels." Working over 300 hours in habitat homes herself, Ms. Lewis emotionally stated that, "As they built my house, God was building my heart. I have the prosperity of a new home and the love of CDA Angels."

Special Guests attending the blessing of the home and dedication were National CDA officers Libby Ramirez, National Regent Elect, Victoria, Texas and Shirley Seyfried, National Secretary-Treasurer, Battle Lake, Minnesota, and the Rev. Hoa Nugyen, Court Chaplain, Wichita Falls.

Texas State officers attending the blessing and dedication hosted by Our Lady of Good Counsel Court #309, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Wichita Falls were Carolyn Bachmann, State Regent, Scotland; Sheila Martinka, First Vice State Regent, Pasadena; Carolyn Malik, Second Vice State Regent, Shiner; Peggy Rosales, State Secretary, Austin; Eve Trevino, State Treasurer, Corpus Christi; Olga Samaniego, Immediate Past State Regent, El Paso. Also attending was Terrie Vacek, State Public Relations and Scrapbook chairman, Willis; Kathleen Taylor, District Deputy #38, Houston; along with Catholic Daughter members from the Houston area.

Susan R. Walton, Wichita Falls Habitat chairman for the Catholic Daughter-sponsored women’s blitz build expressed her gratitude to the many volunteers that came from all over Texas; Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Denton, Houston, Huntsville, Houston, East Bernard, El Campo, El Paso, Ennis, Nocona, Olney, Pasadena, Richmond/Rosenberg, Scotland, Shiner, Victoria, Windthorst, Wichita Falls, and Willis. She was extremely appreciative of her daughters who arranged for all the volunteer meals.

But not only did ladies from Texas participate in this build, Shirley Seyfried, National officer and National Habitat Chairman spent an entire day painting in the Lewis home. She informed guests at the dedication that this house is only one of the four homes to receive the $25,000.00 National CDA Habitat grants. The other CDA Habitat builds for 2007 include Virginia, Minnesota and Louisiana. Seyfried encouraged guests to participate in the Lent 2008 Habitat builds where CDA members will build forty homes in forty days! The Texas CDA Court will sponsor a build just outside Mexico City (with a total cost of $8,000.00). She concluded her dedication message with the recitation of "It’s a Wonderful World" poem … "it’s a wonderful world if we keep our eyes open and focused to see the wonderful things people are capable of when their hearts are open to God and His love." Libby Ramirez, National Regent Elect worked in the "soon to be yard" clearing concrete and stones from the fill dirt, raking, planting trees and sowing grass. Even after that, she still had enough energy lift over to move a little paint around on the interior walls! In sharing a message from National at the dedication, Ramirez stated that "CDA members have hearts as big as the state of Texas and they give others the gifts that our Lord gave us."

The frequent weekend volunteers one hot Saturday experienced this sharing of self. It was like a boost of energy when a large group of "Hog" AA members appear with their husbands on motorcycles; the men dropped off the women and returned a few hours later with food to feed the entire volunteer staff at all three of the habitat homes in the Grant Gill cul-de-sac.

While painting in the Lewis house, Vacek was approached by Shirlena Springmeyer of Wichita Falls. She was sent an article that Vacek had placed in newspapers throughout Texas about the CDA Habitat ground breaking and 5 week women’s build. Her mother, Debra Pruter of Conroe (not a member of CDA) sent the clipping from the Conroe Courier Newspaper to her daughter in hopes that she would reach out and help someone obtain their goal of home ownership. The simple act of sharing a clipping brought this young lady out to at the site a couple of days.

State Regent, Carolyn Bachmann, worked on site several days. At the dedication she thanked each business and named the many merchants who generously donated food and supplies to feed volunteers. The humanitarian care for others continued; left over food was taken to the Faith Mission for the homeless. Bachmann expressed sincere appreciation to the faithful volunteers themselves. The success of this all women’s build was not only the work completed on the CDA sponsored Lewis home, but the arm of love was extended by the volunteers numbering as many as 69 on one given day, That day they were actually farmed out and worked on neighboring homes.

Reverend Hoa Nugyen presided over the blessing of the home prior the dedication. Serving as Court Chaplain for the Wichita Falls court he expressed "thanksgiving for keeping volunteers safe as they did the work of our Lord for another sister, for it was done for the glory of God."

Immediate Past State Regent Olga Samaniego, who is also State Spiritual Enhancement/Retreats and Out Reach Chairman, participated in the joint build of two state regents (herself and Carolyn Bachmann). She stated that she was "honored, pleased and proud of both the 2005 and 2007 state boards. Through their cooperation and with the help of the Texas courts working together in Unity, they were truly able to make a difference. As for this house, there is nothing left to do except to step back so that Ms. Lewis can make it a home!"

Mike Davis, Wichita Falls Habitat for Humanity Director expressed his gratitude to the Catholic Daughters of the Americas for sponsoring the Lewis Build. "Habitat for Humanity and the Catholic Daughters have, by their faith, become a match made in Heaven!"

Bachmann in her closing comments quoted a conversation Christ had with Peter, "Upon this rock, you are to build my Church." Adding that, "We as Christians are a part of this church. We have to answer the call of Our Lord. He has called us to build a foundation, and together upon this foundation, many hands united came to build a home. A home built with love, a home built primarily by women with strength, knowledge, and determination. It is the seed of reality. Together we are strong!"