About Us


The mission of the Catherine McAuley Center is to meet the housing needs of women. In particular, we provide temporary shelter for women and children in crisis and assist women to obtain safe, affordable, permanent housing. Our individualized case management provides women support services leading to self-reliance and links individuals and families to community resources not supplied by the center.


The Catherine McAuley Center traces its origins to a group of dedicated members of the Sisters of Mercy Community, led by foundress Sr. Anne Paye, RSM, who first identified the crisis in housing for women and children in Scranton in 1979.
By 1983 Sister Anne, Sister Dorothy McLaughlin and Sister Elizabeth Brandreth began reaching out to local women in need by sharing the extra bedrooms in their convent, the former St. Joseph Lithuanian Convent in North Scranton. The first woman to be accepted into the Convent as a guest was welcomed on Sept. 1, 1984. The ministry was formally incorporated as the Catherine McAuley Center in 1985, and would go on to hold its first board meeting on July 31, 1986.
In the several decades since, the Center has exapanded to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving population of homeless women and children, extending its services to include scattered site rapid rehousing and transitional housing for women and children, some fleeing domestic violence; women who have been incarcerated in the Lackawanna County Prison; and chronically homeless adults and families with mental health and other disabilities.
Beyond the shelter of a roof and walls, our wide range of supportive services help individuals and families overcome the trauma of homelessness through education, counseling, life skills, and access to employment and training opportunities. All services are provided free of charge and 100 percent of those served are living at or below the federal poverty level. 


Born into a wealthy family in Dublin, Ireland, Catherine McAuley's comfortable early life turned upside down when her father died in 1783. She was only five-years-old. Catherine's mother managed to maintain a home of relative affluence for her three children by slowly selling off parcels of land, but she too would pass in 1798. Catherine went to live at first an impoverished uncle and later cousins with whom Catherine clashed over religious convictions. When her mother's wealthy relatives William and Catherine Callaghan returned from India in 1803, Catherine gladly moved in to manage their elegant home. She lived there for nearly 20 years, providing religious instructions to the Catholic servants and village children and helping the less-privleged in the community find resources to improve their lives.

When William Callaghan passed in 1822, he named Catherine McAuley as his sole heir. She used her inheritance to establish a 'House of Mercy' on Baggot Street in September 1827. There, she and several companions provided food, clothing, housing, medical care, and education for many of Dublin's poor women and young girls. At first, Catherine distinguished herself from nuns and their convents, but in time she came to realize that in order for her work to continue, the House of Mercy would need to become a convent. In 1831, with the approval of Archbishop Daniel Murray, the congregation of Sisters of Mercy was founded, with the Baggot Street house serving as its first convent.
On December 12 of that year, the first Sisters of Mercy took vows of povery, chastity, obedience and service. The Mercy Rule, approved by Rome, gave them the freedom to move beyond the  convent to wherever the poor, sick, and uneducated needed help. People in Dublin would call them the "walking nuns."


Individuals and organizations are invited for tours of the Catherine McAuley Center and our facilities. The Center serves as a host site for membership meetings of local school groups, as well as civic and business associations that are interested in learning more about our programs and services. The Center seeks to promote active community involvement through volunteerism, contributions, and participation in special events. 

Catherine McAuley Center BOARD OF DIRECTORS FY 2018/19

Mary Griffin Cummings, Esq., Chair
JoAnn Jones, Treasurer

Sally Alinikoff
Sr. Mary Ellen Brody, RSM
Judith Burkavage
Stephen H. Franko
Anne Paone Gallagher
Sr. Dorothy Hagan, RSM
Julie Jordan
Sr. Angela Kim, IHM
Cheryl McCann
Patrick McMahon
Barbara O'Donnell
Krista Somers
Carlie Wetzel 

Catherine McAuley Center staff

Krista Somers   Executive Director
Sr. Susan Hadzima, IHM
Program Director
Sr. Kathleen Smith, RSM   Mission Coordinator
Jenny Blanchard

Development Coordinator

Tara Gillick
  Case Manager, Rapid ReHousing Program
Sr. Rose Gregorio    Case Manager, Single Room Occupancy (Anne's House and Frances Warde House)
Brooke Grunza
  Case Manager, Rapid ReHousing Program
Nicole Guzenski   Case Manager, Permanent Supportive Housing
Tara Joyce   Case Manager, Emergency Shelter (Scranton) / Prison Program 
Eileen King   Case Manager, Permanent Supportive Housing Program for Families
Alicia Grega    Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Lisa Heim  
Finance Office
Barbara Zigmont    Finance Office
OPEN   Maintenance

Diane Matteo   Outreach Coordinator
Emilia Rosas 
Caseworker, Plymouth Shelter
Sandra Bonawit    Housekeeper, Plymouth Shelter
Helene Elko
  Overnights, Plymouth Shelter