Our Foundress

 

Born in 1923, Rose Mary Badami, after achieving her bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of St. Thomas in 1954, went on to gain certification in Special Education, and serve as a teacher for the Harris County School for the Retarded, as a social worker for the Harris County Department of Public Welfare and for the Convent of the Good Shepherd serving pre-delinquent girls, then going on to acheive an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from The University of St. Thomas, 1986.

At midlife, she followed a strong calling to serve homeless women. First founding Santa Maria Hostel, a halfway house for women, with friends in the Catholic Legion of Mary. And then, in 1968, founding Magnificat Houses and serving as it's director through 2014.

Social Worker
Rose Mary Badami
Throughout her life, she credited her vision and her commitment to her grandmother's example. During the Great Depression, when her father was out of work, they lived with her grandmother in Denison, Texas, a railroad crossroads town bringing in scores of homeless men riding the rails in search of work. While most kind homemakers offered a sack lunch or a meal on their back steps, Grandmother Burriesci, a devout Catholic, would have nothing of it, she invited them into her home. Destitute strangers were invited into her kitchen, where they were fed a hot meal in dignity. Rose Mary GrandMother

When walking to mass, her grandmother would say "hello" to the people on the way. RoseMary's aunts would say "mama, why do you talk to them?", to which she would reply, "I'm saluting the Christ within them!". Very young, Rose Mary saw that being homeless or destitute or desperate did not diminish a single person's humanity. She saw the richness of soul that resulted from enduring hardship.

Rose Mary's Plan: Rose Mary envisioned a home for the homeless - not institutions, but homes where residents ate together in community, and shared the housekeeping, as well as taking responsibility for each other's well being and productive future. She drew inspiration from the work of Dorothy Day, Catherine Doherty and Jean Vanier, remarkable champions of the underserved–and she was greatly honored when Day and Doherty, learning of Rose Mary's work, separately visited Magnificat House.

Rose Mary

 

Acknowledged as a visionary, Rose Mary has received many honors and awards. But her truest award, always, was a grateful hug from a resident who found the way back onto his feet and discovered a calling of his own.

 

Among her many accomplishments:

1968:
Received the first Alumnus of the Year Award presented by the Alumni Association of The University of St. Thomas
1970:
National Recognition for Magnificat House from the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Mental Health.
1972:
Awarded the Matrix Award by Theta Sigma Phi, The Houston Chapter, Women in Journalism for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.
1975:
Awarded Recognition by the Theresians of America for Inspiration and Encouragement Giver to Others.
1976:
American Association of University Women, Outstanding Woman Award for Human Services.
1978:
The Jefferson Award of the American Institute for Public Service, in recognition of Outstanding Public Service benefitting communities.
1983:
Awarded “Woman of Valor” by the Jewish National Fund in recognition of the outstanding services to our community. The International Women’s Forest honors women whose lives and deed enhance the image and pride of all womanhood.
1986:
Local Heroes in America - People Magazine December 22.
1991:
“Women Making a Difference” Award; The Women’s Hospital of Texas, Research and Education Foundation.
1992:
The Mickey Leland Center "Distinguished Service Award" presented by Governor Ann Richards and Houston City Councilwoman, Sheila Jackson Lee.
1993:
A state resolution giving admiration and gratitude as an esteemed individual, January 26, by Rodney Ellis and the Texas Senate.
2004:
A Woman lives her Faith; University of St. Thomas "Insider" winter article.
2006:
Local Hero–for dedication and support to making Houston the best it can be; Bank of America - Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Award.
2008:
Magnificat House's 40th Anniversary Mention:
  The Voice of the Lay Dominicans of the Southern Province of St. Martin de Porres
  Making a Difference–Houston Chronicle December 27
2009:
A Luminaria January-March article about Magnificat Houses and the great care given to those who for any number of reasons cannot care for themselves.
2013:
Subject of "The Magnificat House Story," a documentary on Magnificat Houses by filmmaker Casey Kelly.
Dr. William P. "Bill" Gergen PhD -- 2015
  "Every person who aspires to be holy is one who exercises the gifts of faith, hope and charity; if they accept Jesus' words about this path, they believe that the greatest of all these gifts is charity. The work of Rose Mary's 48 years with Magnificat Houses has confirmed that it is truly a benevolent charity, registered by the IRS, the Social Security System of the US government, the State of Texas, Harris County, the City of Houston, the Coalition for the Homeless, MHMRA and HUD. It was founded and is run without religious affiliation. All are welcome to receive benefit and to be benefactors without regard to their beliefs. The principals on which Magnificat House was founded and run are closely aligned with the Catholic Church and through Rose Mary's charism, we have dedicated religious, nuns and priests that work with us."
Rose Mary's Prayer Before Board Meetings

Beloved Lord, bless the Magnificat Houses into which we have entered for the purpose of drawing closer to you and to Mary our Mother.

Teach us to be generous; teach us to serve You as You deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward save that of knowing we are doing your will.

Let us know clearly the work which You are calling us to do in life - and grant us every grace we need to answer Your call with courage and love and lasting dedication to your will - Amen