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Kip Tiernan and Rosie's Place,

the Nation's First Shelter for Women



Candlewick Press

(pub 3.1.2022) 40 pages

Author: Christine McDonnell

Illustrator: Victoria Tentler-Krylov

Character: Kip Tiernan


"When Kip Tiernan was growing up during the Great Depression, she’d help her granny feed the men who came to their door asking for help. As Kip grew older, and as she continued to serve food to hungry people, she noticed something peculiar: huddled at the back of serving lines were women dressed as men. At the time, it was believed that there were no women experiencing homelessness. And yet Kip would see women sleeping on park benches and searching for food in trash cans.

Kip decided to open the first shelter for women—a shelter with no questions asked, no required chores, just good meals and warm beds. With persistence, Kip took on the city of Boston in her quest to open Rosie's Place, our nation's first shelter for women."

Tantalizing taste:

" At Saint Joseph's house, everyone ate together. Kip looked down the row of people seated at the long table. Individuals struggling with addiction or living with mental illness were among the guests. Sometimes, at dinner, the only sentence she understood was 'Pass the bread, please.' Toward the end of her stay, she decided to turn and touch people's arms, to look into their eyes, to listen to them. She did this for the next three days.

On the fourth day, when she came down to breakfast, guests from dinner had gathered at the foot of the stairs.

'They're waiting for you,' a worker told her.

'Why?' Kip asked, worried that she had done something wrong.

'Because you listened to them,' Dorothy Day said."

And something more: More About Kip Tiernan at the back of the book explains that "A memorial to Kip Tiernan was unveiled in October 2018, near Copley Square, in Boston. Tall arches inscribed with quotations from Kip Tiernan's speeches and writing line the sidewalk. The arches represent doorways, an image that Kip Tiernan frequently used to explain her decision to join the urban ministry at Warwick House: 'I have passed through a door and there is no turning back.'"


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