SCRANTON — A gathering at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel this week will honor a longtime nonprofit leader for her service to the community.
Sister Therese Marques has served as executive director of the Catherine McAuley Center for 24 years.
The organization provides housing and supportive services for homeless women and children in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.
Thursday’s joyous event also comes as the McAuley Center mourns the recent death of board member Janet Elizabeth Flack.
The Catherine McAuley Center was formally incorporated in 1985 and is a sponsored work of the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community. Facility locations now include Wilkes-Barre, North Scranton, South Scranton, Green Ridge, West Scranton, and the Bellevue Section of Lackawanna County. The Catherine McAuley House, a transitional living facility, is located in Plymouth.
Under the guidance and leadership of Sister Therese, the Catherine McAuley Center has expanded its services to meet the needs of a growing population of homeless women and children.
During the past year alone, officials said, the Center served 2,978 individuals and families through housing and family support programs.
Sister Therese also “has touched countless lives with her warm and compassionate spirit, giving hope to homeless families seeking shelter, and inspiring the many staff, volunteers, and members of the community who seek to follow her example,” according to a release from the center.
Beyond the shelter of a roof and walls, the Catherine McAuley Center helps families overcome the trauma of homelessness through education, counseling, life skills, and access to health care and employment opportunities. Those who are welcomed into its emergency shelters find a place of safety and warmth where they regain dignity and hope.
Flack, better known as “Jefie,” passed away Sept. 16 at her home in Dallas after a long and courageous battle with cancer, center officials said. She was 69.
“Janet thrived on community service, and most dear to her heart was her work with the Catherine McAuley Center,” according to a release.
In the early 1990s, Flack adopted a family for Christmas through the Center. While processing the paperwork, she mentioned that her interior design firm might be able to help by donating design services.
Soon after, Flack was invited to serve on the center’s board, in which role she initiated and managed a number of fundraising projects, where she donated all design fees and services for building renovations.
In 2005, she was named the “Mercy Woman of the Year.”
Upon acceptance of the award she said, “My invitation to join the Catherine McAuley Board has been a great gift of invaluable evolving friendships that touch so many institutions blessed by the work of the Sisters of Mercy.”
“Janet shared her artistry and talent as an interior designer with the families of the Catherine McAuley Center, creating lovely rooms in our residences for homeless women and children,” the statement added. “Her generosity and thoughtfulness brought beauty and dignity to their lives, and she will be deeply missed by all of us at the Catherine McAuley Center.”
All proceeds from Thursday’s event will support Therese’s Home and the Catherine McAuley House, its emergency shelter residences in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties.
For information on purchasing tickets for A Tribute to Sr. Therese Marques, call the Catherine McAuley Center at 570-342-1342.