‘St. Benedict’s is a beacon of hope for the community’

Tears often well up in James Vinson’s eyes when he talks about St. Benedict’s and the employees who work at the shelter.

They have become an integral part of his new life.  After years of incarceration and homelessness, Vinson has become self-sufficient.  He lives on his own and works for Clark’s Lawnscape as a chemical applicator and irrigation tech.

Now, Vinson dreams of owning a business within 10 years.

He credits the eight months he lived at St. Benedict’s for the big turnaround in his life.  

A few years back, Vinson came to Owensboro from Louisville with a few bucks in his pocket and some clothes.  On the street one day, a man approached him and told him about St. Benedict’s.

After years of incarceration, the shelter’s bunk beds and close quarters made the 64-bed facility feel like a jail at first, Vinson said.  He felt trapped and out of control at times.  He remembered his temper flared.

Instead of rejecting him or telling him to leave — like so many people had before — employees at the shelter showed care and compassion.

“I had days I wanted to give up,” Vinson said. “They showed me something different. They showed me I have a forgiving God who cares about me.”

During Vinson’s eight months at St. Benedict’s, he finally came to grips with the fact that he had been a substance user. Owning up to his past was a big part of his healing process.

“I could never admit that until St. Benedict’s,” Vinson said of abusing drugs in the past. “You could never have told me I was a junkie until the programs at St. Benedict’s.”

Vinson said he has not used hard drugs for four years.  Continuing support from St. Benedict’s employees helps him stay on the right path.

“They are people who care about a person like me,” he said. “St. Benedict’s is a beacon of hope for the community.”