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Good Counsel at 36

Christopher Bell
Christopher Bell
March 10, 2021

Rich in Mercy.

This is what the Lord has certainly taught me over and over again in these 36 years since Good Counsel began.

God is rich in mercy, revealed by Jesus Christ as Father. Remember when Philip, one of the twelve Apostles, turned to Christ and said: "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied," and Jesus replied, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me...? He who has seen me has seen the Father."

When I first read St. John Paul II’s encyclical letter Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), which I paraphrased in the first paragraph above, I never thought then, back in 1980, about starting a home for mothers and babies. Yet in many ways before and after, God’s mercy was copious in my life. Mercy led me toward starting this home for mothers, and I know better every day that mercy is a gift that is best understood when it is given and when it is received.

At Good Counsel homes, where thousands of women and children have come to live since March 10, 1985, it is God’s mercy that compels us to do more and do better.

I recall one young mother, early after opening our home, let's call her Agnes, who was working at a restaurant. She had to commute to work by train, then walk past a park where she’d see a homeless woman. Agnes said, “I asked the restaurant owner if I could bring her food and he allowed me to give her a plate.” Then Agnes asked me, “Could she come to our dinner?”

Since the beginning, Good Counsel has all the moms prepare and eat dinner together, like a family.

“Of course,” I said to Agnes. “Bring your friend.”

Agnes recognized this woman, too, was in need. She saw in this woman another person to come to know, love and offer whatever she could. Agnes’ own needs, as a young single woman with a child, did not blind her to the needs of another.

The Lord has always given me more than I could ask. I know I could never and have never been as charitable and merciful as the Lord is to me, and that is my daily challenge.

I remember one pilgrimage to Lourdes with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, a few years after Good Counsel had opened. During Mass at the Grotto, I had an incredible epiphany. Just a few years earlier Fr. Benedict and I had started Good Counsel and now we had 3 homes helping more than 100 women and children a year. Yet, I realized, nothing I could ever do, no matter how many women and children I could help; no matter how many people I could bring to the faith; no matter how much I could ever sacrifice for the Lord, could repay or come close to what the Lord God has given to me.

There is nothing that is not a gift. I would not be alive if it were not for God’s Love and Mercy. Mercy is the greatest gifts we can ask for.

God bless you.


Chris Bell


Christopher Bell
President & Co-Founder
Good Counsel

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