2023 Reflection - Empowered with Hope 



2023 Reflection - Empowered with Hope 

Given the current climate of war in Israel right now, it is hard to believe that I was there back in January. This holiday season, I am spending time reflecting on that trip. One of the most powerful places I visited was the community of Magdala, a recently excavated archeological site that contains the remains of a first-century synagogue where Jesus would have taught. Today, Magdala is best known as the hometown of Mary Magdalene — for whom Magdalena House is named. I had a quiet, holy experience thinking of Mary while I was there. Her story is one of transformation: first coming on the scene with “seven demons,” experiencing healing at the hands of Jesus, following him, and later witnessing and telling others about the resurrection. Mary was a woman who was well acquainted with suffering, pain, and powerlessness. She knew what it was like to be discounted, abused, and pushed aside.

When families come to Magdalena House, their experiences are not too different from Mary Magdalene’s. They too have been constricted and burdened by the heavy weights of trauma and abuse. They have known what it’s like to suffer violence, flee home, and start over again with nothing. In the latest available data from 2021, the San Antonio Police Department received over 119,000 calls related to family violence. Statistics show that over half of domestic violence related incidents are not reported. Getting out of the dangerous situation is only the beginning of the work, but thankfully, Magdalena House exists to support and empower families trapped in cycles of violence and poverty.

At Magdalena House, families begin the long journey toward healing and freedom. They experience safety and support, practice healthy relationships, and return to school. Mothers are , that same potent gift that Mary Magdalene received all those years ago. With hope, mothers and children set their eyes on a future of possibility and daringly make it a reality. As with Mary Magdalene, this hope is transformative and liberating. It is you, our faithful partners and supporters, who make the mission of Magdalena House possible.

From the families, staff, and Board of Directors, we wish you a season filled to the brim with hope and joy!

Grace and peace,

Rev. Becca McNitzky, Executive Director


Resident Story 

I want to open my heart and share the profound impact that becoming part of this loving community has had on my life.

My story begins within the embrace of a military family. From the outside it may have resembled any other, yet beneath the veneer of normalcy, an undercurrent flowed through our lives – a complex tapestry woven with threads of mental illness, unhealed trauma, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Childhood, for me, unfolded against a backdrop of instability and chaos. During those formative years, I found myself navigating a world where survival meant self-preservation, and I coped the only way I knew how – by self-medicating to escape.

Becoming a mother at the age of 17 was a turning point in my life. I made a solemn promise to myself that my children would not have to endure the pain and struggles that had been my childhood. Summoning every ounce of strength, I cleaned up my act and married my high school sweetheart. Little did I know that our own unaddressed traumas, mental health, and struggles with substance abuse would continue the vicious cycles I had grown up witnessing.

I took a leap of faith, that was fueled by desperation and hope for change. I decided not to go back to the abusive relationship and instead sought refuge. The staff at Magdalena House welcomed us with open arms and provided us with everything we needed to settle in, from the essentials to a nurturing environment.

Yet, despite the warmth and support that surrounded us, I found myself initially overwhelmed. For so long, I had been accustomed to doing everything on my own, navigating life’s challenges with little to no help, and never truly having my basic needs met. I attempted to put on a brave face and pretend that I had everything figured out. Yet the truth was I did not know how to ask for help, let alone accept it when it was offered.

Returning to school after more than two decades tested my resilience. My first semester back was particularly challenging, and in those moments of struggle, I found myself overwhelmed with doubt. I began to believe that I had failed even before I began, that I did not deserve this beautiful opportunity.

In the darkest moments of my journey, I finally found the courage to confide in the staff at Magdalena House. I shared my feelings of defeat, my thoughts of leaving, and my uncertainty about our future. They did not try to convince me to stay, nor did they turn their backs on us. Instead, they demonstrated genuine love and concern for our well-being. It was a pivotal moment for me, as I realized I did not have to pretend to have it all figured out. I could trust that they genuinely cared about our success and happiness.

Their refusal to abandon us ignited a fire within me. I realized I had not come this far just to give up on myself. I began asking for help, prioritizing my healing being a vital piece to my recovery, I reached out to my school advisor to confront the challenges head-on. Through unwavering determination, I completed two flex semesters and, achieving As and Bs, finally gained some momentum.

This is a living testament to the incredible impact that love, support, and community can have on someone’s life.