Mary Magdalen House Staff
Mary Magdalen House is made up of four full-time and five part-time staff, and many volunteers. The volunteers provide critical support and much-needed help to the staff in their work for the poor. Mary Magdalen House depends heavily on its volunteers; we could not provide the services we do without their important assistance.
Executive Director of Mary Magdalen House
The Executive Director of Mary Magdalen House is Cary Powell. Cary joined the House after serving for many years as Executive Director of Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund. Cary works directly with our guests, providing for their needs. In addition, she works to increase awareness of Mary Magdalen House in the Cincinnati community, and ensure that the House has the resources it needs to continue its mission. Cary is a proud Cincinnati native and UC grad and serves on the Advisory Board of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at UC.
Merci’ Cannon is the new Case Manager at Mary Magdalen House. As a former outreach worker to the homeless, she is very familiar with the many challenges our guests face each day. Merci’ has worked with the homeless community for nine years, and is eager to assist our guests right here in Over-the-Rhine, the neighborhood in which she grew up. Merci’ works with clients to refer them to agencies that can assist them with whatever needs they may have, then follows up to see that they continue to do well.
Before joining Mary Magdalen House as the Assistant Director, Jenny became familiar with the OTR community while working at an area nonprofit. She is a Graduate of Cincinnati Christian University in Price Hill, and in her spare time enjoys playing trombone and volunteering with musical ensembles around greater Cincinnati.
A resident of our immediate area and known by many homeless on the streets of Over-the-Rhine as “Brother” Jerry Sedgwick, he has been the backbone of Mary Magdalen House for almost thirty years. Jerry asks to be acknowledged here simply as “one of God's helpers.” Like Brother Giancarlo, he is a face of welcome to the guests at Mary Magdalen House, and knows the community well.
About Mary Magdalen House
In 1985, Reverend Dohrman Byers, of Old St. Mary's Church, and his parishioners began examining ways to help the people living in the neighborhood around the Church. Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk provided encouragement; it was clear that there was need---the parish wanted to determine the best way to help.
Reverend Byers met with interested parishioners to discern the best course of action. Mrs. Mary Heller and Jim and Joan Gardner led the effort. As they observed the needs of the people in the area, it became clear that a bath house would fill a critical void. The Gardners generously committed to providing the funds to purchase a building for this purpose, and set about finding a suitable one. Many sites were considered. A building very near the Church was for sale, but required extensive renovation. After examining many options, they did purchase the nearby building, at 1221-1223 Main Street. Remodeling began in late 1985 and on March 25, 1988, Mary Magdalen House opened. We haven't lacked for guests ever since.
During his lifetime, Jim Gardner's passion for the work of Mary Magdalen House never wavered. He and the Gardner family provided critical financial support and guidance, championing its work throughout the Cincinnati community. Since Mr. Gardner's passing in 2013, his family has continued his legacy of devotion to the House and its guests.
The story of Mary Magdalen House continues. Our small facility on Main Street became outdated and was often crowded; on many days we were unable to keep up with the demand for our services. In order to accommodate more guests, on November 4, 2017, Mary Magdalen House opened in its new location at St. Anthony Center, located at 1629 Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine!
How is Mary Magdalen House funded? Who operates it?
The Mary Magdalen House Foundation, a non-profit corporation chartered in the State of Ohio, operates Mary Magdalen House. Originally the Foundation was formed by a Board of Directors, comprised for the most part of parishioners of Old St. Mary's Church, including members of the Gardner family. This Board committed itself to meeting the personal needs of the homeless, and to helping them regain a sense of dignity. Today, some twenty years later, members of the Gardner family and others continue the work of the Board with new commitment and excitement as they look forward to serving more guests, more thoroughly and efficiently, at our new location!
Brother Giancarlo Bonutti, SM,
Brother Giancarlo worked at Mary Magdalen House for 28 years! He ran the House for most of those years; caring for our guests was his life's work. Always a face of welcome, he knew our guests by name and anticipated their needs because of his familiarity with their particular challenges.
Currently, Brother Gian is on very well-deserved sabbatical; we miss him a great deal, and pray for his refreshment and renewal. Best wishes to you, Brother Gian!
Brother Giancarlo is a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists) whose principle missions are to educate youth and minister to the poor.