Early every Thursday morning in Christiansted, Srs. Digna Rivas and Judy Mannix are up and at it, cooking breakfast for people in need.
The sisters, members of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, have been operating Victoria’s Kitchen since August 2011 in the Good Shepherd Center on Company Street in St. Croix. The cheery open-air eating area is adjacent to a meditation garden. The guests are treated with respect and seated at tables that are covered with bright colored table cloths. The hearty breakfast is served on reusable plastic plates and cups. The atmosphere is one of trust and community, where everyone is valued and made to feel special.
Cedric Miller, a recent guest at breakfast, said he feels blessed and gives thanks for the sisters and the meal they provide.
“When we started we didn’t know if it would work and if people would even come for breakfast,” Sr. Judy said.
“We had never opened a kitchen before. But we said we can do this. This project is God’s work. God put it in action and sustains it,” she said.
The sisters have a cadre of volunteers who help them in the kitchen and in other outreach programs at the Youth Rehabilitation Center and Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility. They also conduct classes at the Good Shepherd Center for undocumented immigrants from the Dominican Republic, including classes in computer basics, English, mathematics and literacy.
Sr. Digna said the Good Shepherd outreach programs are a step to helping people have a better life. She and Sr. Judy attribute the success of their ministry to the mercy of God and the volunteers and benefactors who help sustain the programs.