She’s Tough – But Loving

She’s Tough – But Loving

Sister Connie Driscoll is a nun who is working miracles among the drug- and alcohol-addicted homeless in Chicago. Her program keeps 95% of her formerly homeless clients from ever returning to the streets. Her cost is about $7.35 per person per day.

How? She starts with a 7:30 p.m. curfew and a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call. She also includes periodic shake-downs and drug tests. She holds each of the residents accountable for their own behavior and performance. Her facility is St. Martin de Poores House of Hope, where "tough love" really does mean tough.

Sister Connie is a Korean War veteran who grew up on a farm where she was no stranger to manual labor. Sledge hammers in hand, she and colleague Sister Therese smashed through a few brick walls in their decrepit, donated building which they soon filled with homeless women and children. Some of her tenants complained about the food and others refused to make their beds or used drugs on the premises. They even said, "I don't have to sweep the floor, because I have the right." At this point, Sister Connie simply said, "Nope." She began searching under toilet seats and lifting mattresses, looking for drugs. She called in a police SWAT team for a seven a.m. drug raid on her residence. She means business. Residents subject themselves to this treatment because they know that it is their last hope to escape the misery which has become a part of their lives.

Twelve-step Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous sessions are mandatory, as are high school equivalency classes and sessions in child care, housekeeping and preparing for job interviews. Staff members teach the women comparison shopping and check-book balancing. Sister Connie knows that for most of her clients the chief problem is not lack of money, but lack of personal responsibility. She tells the women, "No matter who caused your problems, only you can solve them." Wouldn't it be neat if we had a Sister Connie with her staff of committed people who work for virtually nothing and give it their all in places all over the country? If we did, we'd see those people AT THE TOP, as well.

Zig Ziglar is known as America’s Motivator. He authored 33 books and produced numerous training programs. He will be remembered as a man who lived out his faith daily.