Camp Maria’s Compassion

Posted by Ava Culver

January 9, 2024

During the first week of this new year, Camp Maria Retreat Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Southern Maryland, became a place of respite and warmth for those who are experiencing homelessness. They do so in collaboration with a program known as WARM – Wrapping Arms Around Many. Each evening volunteers from several local parishes came to Camp Maria to welcome, prepare meals, and share conversation and activities with men and women who may otherwise be sleeping out in the cold.

This is the seventh year that Ann Kovalcik, SCNA and Director of Camp Maria, has coordinated the WARM program at Camp Maria during the holiday season. Every evening before the thirteen guests arrived, Ann offered a prayer over each bed asking that God’s grace and blessing be on this place and upon each person… may nothing but goodness come from this place.

This year Sister Chris Kunze was able to be present and help with the program. A special part of her time with the guests was offering foot care to those who desired a foot soak, massage, and nail trimming. She says, “It is a profound privilege to be here and encounter such beautiful people in both the guests and volunteers. What a blessing to end one year and begin another in this sacred way.”

The guests have now moved to another location and other local churches/organizations will continue to provide a place for unhoused persons in St. Mary’s County during the cold months. Together let us continue to pray for all in our world who do not have a warm, dry, and safe place to call home.


  1. Mary Gene Frank

    KUDOS to all who participated and donated to project WARM.
    Touches the heart
    Great admiration for the footcare

    • Carlette Gentle

      Great work and dedication. Thank you all.

  2. Ann Kovalcik

    We are grateful to all who monitored, prepared/served meals, provided supplies and participated in site set up, site breakdown and laundry. Approximately 95 volunteers contributed to this 7 day effort. Special thanks to Mary McGlinn, Vice President of the St. John’s Charitable Society for sharing the site coordinator’s responsibilities as well as providing much care and on the ground support. Sunshine Catering for it’s welcoming display and delicious meals, St. Mary’s County Detention Center for laundry services. Lastly thanks to the Camp Maria staff for providing the needed staffing and services in support of WARM and to S. Chris and to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth for supporting WARM at Camp Maria.

  3. Linda Soltis, SCN

    I am so happy that Camp Maria opened its doors to the homeless population during these cold winter days. Chris, it was so good that you could be there offering the gift of footcare. It seems like a small thing, but really makes a difference in people’s lives.

  4. Maria Brocato

    So beautiful a ministry is WARM! Thank you for offering it to our brothers and sisters in need.

  5. Christine Beckett

    I am deeply moved reading this special outreach and welcome to those in Southern, MD—thank you Camp Maria and volunteers for this special time. So grateful, too, that Chris could be there!

    • Brenda Gonzales

      This is a real blessing for those who are houseless. I spent Christmas Eve several years ago with WARM at Camp Maria. Thank you Ann for opening the doors during the holidays to those in need. New Year blessings.

    • Tess Browne

      I am touched by the tenderness and loving care through WARM, for our siblings who are roofless. Thank you Ann, Chris, volunteers and all.💞

      • JC McBride

        I found Sister Chris Kunze’s gift of foot care to be the gift so many who experience homelessness to not receive. Foot care is a true gift of warmth, tenderness and touch. Bless you, Sister for following Jesus example on Holy Thursday.

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