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.
I wish I would have had the support and knowledge that St. Raymond's Society offers these young mothers when I was younger. I am amazed at what they are able to accomplish and blessed to have been able to help with these young ladies and their babies.
With the encouragement of my Success Coach, I had finally worked up the courage to pursue my dream of becoming an x-ray technician. Then I got the devastating news that I was not eligible for any government assistance to help cover the costs. We looked at every possible option and couldn’t find a solution, so my Success Coach and I made a commitment to pray and ask God to provide a way for me to go to college. And God must have been listening because within 24 hours, a family decided that they would donate the cost of my education to St. Raymond’s. Now I am even more motivated than before to earn my degree, because people who have never even met me believe in me and my future enough to invest in it!
Janey is a perfect representation of the saying: if you think my hands are full you should see my heart . . . . one cannot help but see how full her heart is as she gently cares for her tiny triplets.
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.