Where her heart belongs

Overrun by regulations and misfortune, one woman’s perseverance and positive outlook took her from the unbelievable reality of living inside her car for over five years to coming home again. A place just out of arm’s reach.

Mary’s Story

Eric Shelburne is the 5th District Magistrate in Nelson County, Kentucky near Nazareth. He connected with Luke Boiarski, SCN, to ask if the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth could help a woman in the local area.

Eric remembers first hearing about Mary, a resident in his district. “A lady that lives in Chaplin got in touch with me and told me the story about Mary, living in her car up here. She said, ‘She has a mobile home there but she can’t move in it because she is restricted by some local ordinances that wouldn’t allow her to live in it. She is living in her car and has been living in it for a long time.’”

It was very cold on the day that Eric met Mary. Everything he had heard was true. When he arrived, there she was, parked alone in front of her home, living in the cramped car. “It all seemed so unbelievable,” he says.

Luke Boiarski, SCN, visited Mary to see how she was progressing in her home and to offer the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth’s encouragement and support.

Mary is from New Haven, Kentucky. She moved to Chaplin, Kentucky, when she was 16-years-old and has lived there for most of her life. For the past five and a half years she has been living in her car, trying to get back into her home.

“In the summertime, it was pick a spot if you could find a shady spot, but there wasn’t much because most of the shade trees were taken down with the old house,” says Mary.

Sister Luke met with Mary and asked about what she did in the winter. Mary joked that her car has good insulation because of all of the stuff she has inside. “I got used to it. I would have loved to have lights or running water so I didn’t have to run and pack my water or turn my headlights on every now and then to see what’s going on out here. Outside of that I got used to it,” she shares.

In June of this year, Eric called the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to collaborate in helping Mary. The Sisters recognized Mary’s desperate need to get back into her home. They worked with the district magistrate to help with the expenses related to meeting the ordinances so she could move back into her trailer on the land that she loves. “A place where she feels her heart is supposed to be,” Eric explains.

Eric feels touched by the whole situation, “I do feel like this is a God-led moment. I believe that Mary saying those prayers in that car has brought me here, has brought the Sisters here, to give her mercy.”

Through the help of her community, Mary is back in her home in accordance with all county regulations and now working to prepare the home for the winter months.

Mary is happy to be back in her home and is very grateful to all who have helped her along the way. She says she is blessed, “God has done a lot of wonderful things for me and I can’t say that I actually deserve them, but I feel really good.”