In 1991, Canon O’Conner was being inundated with people coming to his door for refreshment and financial help. He asked Sr. Pauline Gaughan if she could help him address a low profile but important challenge, the growing number of single adults, mainly men, homeless or without a settled address, penniless, hungry and adrift in the city centre. With a task force of highly motivated and resourceful women and men, and a porta-cabin donated by St. Bede’s College, they decided to set up a small café at the back of St. Augustine’s Parish Church in All Saints to give a sandwich, drink and time to chat to these people.
Thus, Cornerstone was born with the experience of the Joseph Cox Charity gained from setting up the Morning Star Hostel and Mary and Joseph House, the resources of Kennedy Construction. The apostolic drive of the Daughters of Charity, particularly the person of Sr. Pauline Gaughan, and the inspiration of the Divine Word elaborated in Chapter 25 of St. Matthew’s Gospel. It leapt from the notional half sheet of foolscap to a living and breathing mission within a matter of months.
Later, as the service developed, the operation was moved to the current location on Denmark Road. Sr. Lucy Dunne has been now in charge since 2002, sharing time and caring for each individual on a personal basis.
There have been enormous growth and changes over the last few years. We have seen lives changed and miracles taking place. Our outreach team supports people in the community, and people are loved as family.
From the beginning of providing a sandwich, drink and time, Cornerstone has developed into something we could never have imagined it would become, serving hundreds of clients daily with the loyal support from around 150 volunteers, donations from all sorts of individuals, schools, churches, charities, religious groups and commercial organisations. It exists today because of the kindness and support of so many, and will keep on serving, trusting that God will, as ever, provide.