Most organizations that help single moms don’t start their story with “Two bald guys walk into a restaurant…”, but ours does. Founder Mike Hentges was greatly involved in pro-life activities including the March for Life in Washington D.C. On the bus ride home from that event in 2003, he felt God giving him a very important question to answer. If the law were changed today and abortion was illegal, how many women would need help bringing their child into the world? As the law stands today, how many women need our help now? Mike knew his perspective, and his involvement, in this mission were forever changed.
Over the next few years, these questions lingered in his heart. In 2006, Mike went on the same bus ride and the idea developed into having a house where women could go to get their family on the right track after giving birth. Finally, in 2009, God’s call to do something was undeniable. Mike confided in his friend, Steve Smith, during a lunch prayer meeting and Steve responded with, “What are we waiting for, let’s go!”
For the next year, the two men began contacting local agencies to offer whatever support filled a gap in services. They did everything from fill propane tanks to mentoring. The vision became a reality when the House in Jefferson City opened in 2012, Columbia in 2014 and Rolla in 2016. Due to the transfer of one of our original staff members, a house will open in Concord, CA in 2017. As the organization has grown, there is no doubt that God’s hand has guided it. We are grateful for being trusted with this mission and honored to help many families in the future.
Upon creating the organization, co-founder Mike Hentges considered what to name it. He wanted to honor his parents, Ray and Marilyn, who brought him into the world with love even though he was an unplanned pregnancy. Mike wondered if there ever was a St. Raymond and went to the internet for more information. He discovered that St. Raymond, who lived in the 1200s, is the patron saint of expectant mothers and midwives. And so the organization was named.
The support St. Raymond’s gave me was more than I could ever have asked for
Living at St. Ray’s House was a profound experience for me. I learned so much while living there! My biggest take away was probably in the life skills department, especially time management and self-discipline. The thing I like best about St. Ray’s is that I will always be a part of the St. Raymond’s Society. I still meet with my Success Coaches every week and my Accountability Partner every month. The kids and I are invited to all of the St. Ray’s outings, celebrations and events. The only difference is that I have my own house now so sometimes we meet here.
Faith exemplifies everything St. Raymond’s Society stands for in that Faith is determined be fully present and to do whatever it takes to be the best she can be in every area of her life. I am super proud of this young woman!
I appreciate the resources and services St. Raymond’s Society provides our community’s single mothers and their children. This is an organization that offers a real solution, not just and band aid and I can get behind that. They are creating lasting changes in the lives of families.