Starting afresh from turmoil

Tuesday 27 September 2022

“I was tired all the time from being in fight or flight.”

For years, Wendy craved the stability most people take for granted.

Growing up under fraught and, at times, volatile circumstances where the influences of aggression and alcohol were prevalent, the chance to rest and reset arrived with the support of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Coming into contact with the Society after fleeing an abusive partner in Western Australia, the staff at Vincentian House helped Wendy and her son begin the process of starting afresh following years of turmoil.

Arriving in Australia mere months after being born, as a result of her mother escaping a violent relationship back in New Zealand, Wendy says she was “born into the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness.”

Wendy says that from a very young age, she was determined that she would break that cycle.

“That was not the journey or not the path that I wanted to go on.”

Spending her formative years across the Tasman for periods at a time, the guidance provided by older relatives and religion offered a reprieve of stability during time spent living with her grandparents in Burwood.

Eventually reuniting with her mother, younger siblings and new stepfather, periods of homelessness ensued before a newly developed property in Glebe was made available through public housing.

In adulthood, Wendy found herself fleeing with her son from a violent relationship.

Initially staying at a refuge before returning nearer to family in Sydney, a call to Link2Home connected Wendy with Vincentian House. It was there she found a sense of healing and could begin to re-take control of her own life.

“When I arrived here, I just felt at peace.”

“Just to be able to have my own space. Have a unit that was fully furnished, right down to cutlery. I can cook, I can clean… everything was provided.

“It just gave me a sense of hope and I could actually rest.”

The staff at Vincentian House have recently been able to help Wendy find long-term accommodation but she still keeps in touch.

She is profoundly grateful for the impact they have made on her life.

“I didn’t trust anyone, but their [the staff’s] kindness just won me over; their patience, they’re professional, they’re caring.

“They’ve got heart.”

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Vincentian House is a crisis accommodation service supporting families and women located in the City of Sydney. The service offers a range of programs including on-site case management to help identify the needs of residents and achieve their goals, community outreach to assist people over the longer-term, and V4You helping children and young people to engage in education and overcome social disadvantage.

With your support, Vinnies is able to offer a hand up for women and families, like Wendy, in their time of need through services such as Vincentian House.