Mary Magdalen House Staff
Mary Magdalen House is made up of three 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 is the newest member of the staff, and 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.
Brother Giancarlo Bonutti, SM,
Director of Mary Magdalen House
Giancarlo has worked at Mary Magdalen House for 28 years. He knows our regular guests well; caring for them and their well-being has become his life's work. He is a face of welcome for our guests, calling them by name and anticipating their needs because of his familiarity with their particular challenges. Brother Giancarlo is well-known in the local homeless community, as well as by our non-profit partners who serve a similar population. In addition, he directs all operational aspects of Mary Magdalen House.
Brother Giancarlo is a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists) whose principle missions are to educate youth and minister to the poor. He is also the Mary Magdalen House representative to Cincinnati's Catholics United for the Poor and to the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.
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.
Inside the building you will now find seven showers, five toilets, five sinks, and a phone for guest use. Now our guests are able to come to the House to use the toilet, shower, shave, have clothing laundered, receive clean clothing, and use the telephone.
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 has become outdated and is often crowded; on many days we are unable to keep up with the demand for our services. In order to accommodate more guests, later in 2017, we will move to a new, more modern and efficient space at St. Anthony Center, located at 1629 Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine. More to follow! We are very excited and happy that our reach will expand and we will be able to do more. Please keep us in your prayers as we begin this important endeavor!
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!