March 9, 2011 // Local

Rose Home an oasis for recovering women

Rose Home in Fort Wayne was established in 2002 to aid women in recovery from substance abuse.

By Kay Cozad

FORT WAYNE — The women of Rose Home welcomed Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades with open arms during a pastoral visit he made on Tuesday, March 1. During his visit Bishop Rhoades extended a special blessing on the home and its staff and residents with holy words and holy water. Following the ceremony those in attendance, including past and current Rose Home directors, benefactors and residents, enjoyed a reception where they visited personally with Bishop Rhoades.

Rose Home, located at 2208 Wayne Trace in Fort Wayne, has been a safe haven for women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction since April of 2002. The beautiful old Victorian-style house was purchased through the generosity of Vince Tippmann, current Rose Home executive board member, and pledged for use as a house for up to 10 recovering women at any given time. The home offers room and board along with a stringent program through which the women work to become responsible, clean and sober members of society.

The residents, many of whom come through the drug court system, are interviewed for acceptance into the program.

According to Sister Rose Claire Ehrlich, a Sister of St. Agnes and founding director and current executive board member, the women, who must be 18 years or older, must show a sincere desire to work toward recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction and be clean — free of substance abuse — for two weeks before they enter the home. Each woman is asked to make a six-month commitment to the program, though reaching official graduation from the program typically requires eight to 12 months. Children are not permitted to live with the women during their stay.

Each woman enters the home with no privileges. As she works through each of the five levels she earns more privileges, including day passes and driving privileges, which further develop her independence.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades extends a special blessing on the Rose Home and its staff and residents during a pastoral visit there on March 1. Sister Rose Claire Ehrlich, founding director, stands to the left of Bishop Rhoades.

A commitment to work with an appointed case worker on assignments designed to build self esteem and provide anger management and relapse prevention coincides with each of the five levels. The residents must make a commitment to work through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program by attending AA meetings and working with a sponsor as well. The combination of requirements offers tools to create a whole and healthy lifestyle as the five levels pertain to action and the 12-step program focuses on inner formation.

Each resident is responsible for completing household chores including cooking, cleaning, paying toward room and board, and seeking and maintaining employment. The women rise at 6:30 a.m. for morning prayer time. Though the Rose Home is ecumenical in nature it emphasizes Christian values. Church attendance is encouraged but not required.

Deb Burton, current director of Rose Home, says, “The mission here is to help women who come to us to find a better way of life, help them come to a relationship with the God of their understanding, and to help them grow spiritually and gain tools to lead a clean and sober life again.” According to Burton, 64 women have gone through the program in the two years that she has been director there.

The home is always in need of volunteers. Skilled workers or handymen are needed for home repairs and maintenance. Volunteers to drive the residents to appointments, job interviews and shopping trips are needed as well. Also needed are volunteers to share their spiritual experiences with the residents.

“These women have been separated from their faith or come with no background in faith. They’re reluctant and timid to opening to their spiritual strength,” says Burton.

Additionally, donations of new or gently-used casual business women’s apparel is always welcome, as well as cleaning supplies and paper goods for the home.

The Rose Home is one of the “best kept secrets in Fort Wayne” and holds a unique place in community support of these recovering women. Burton offers, “We are smaller and we do have a more personal approach to helping the women live their spirituality,”

Recovering women in the Syracuse area are supported by a second Rose Home directed by Kim Kelly.

For more information or to donate call (260) 424-1600.

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