St. Gianna’s Maternity Home provides love, support and shelter.

St. Gianna’s Maternity Home in Warsaw, North Dakota brings St. Francis’ words to life. For ten years, women facing unplanned pregnancies have come to the tiny town in the Diocese of Fargo. Here, in the Home, they find a welcoming community, offering gentle guidance and the support they need to have their babies.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Hunckler Foundation, Catholic Extension supports St. Gianna’s steadfast ministry. Only a decade ago, the Home was merely a shell of a school building. According to Mary Pat Jahner, director, there was graffiti on the walls, broken windows and even birds flying through the hallways. It takes faith and commitment to see hope and possibility in such a run-down space. But now, St. Gianna’s is a home—warm and inviting, with high ceilings and tall windows that let the sun shine in.

“This is a peaceful place,” said Julia, who, at 21 weeks pregnant, is the Home’s newest guest. Kate, an ex-resident, is the proud mother of her toddler son, Domenic, and a regular presence at the home. A self-proclaimed “wild teen” from Wyoming, Kate found out she was pregnant and became determined to turn her life around. Though she now lives on her own, Kate still considers St. Gianna’s and its residents, her family. 

This feeling of shared love and compassion is one that Jahner cultivates everyday. Guests gather in prayer each night, learn and share parenting skills and even celebrate holidays together.

Since St. Gianna’s Maternity Home opened its doors, 73 babies have been born into this family—a quarter of which were adopted. The rest remain with their mothers.

Through its commitment to those it serves, St. Gianna’s Maternity Home has become a place of hope, where girls are reminded of their own dignity and the dignity of the lives inside them.

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