L.I.’s homeless & mentally ill publish ‘Through Their Eyes’



Sister Pat Griffith said she wanted to put together a journal of essays and artwork from residents at Mercy Haven to show that — even though they may suffer from mental illness and poverty — they’re not so different from the rest of us across Long Island.

“My whole hope was to get people to see what we have in common with each other,” said Sister Pat, Mercy Haven’s executive director. “And it was a very nice, humbling experience for me.”

She described the book’s feel as “a creative tension between heartbreak and healing.”

About 50 Mercy Haven residents contributed work to “Through Their Eyes,” including five children.

Six pages from the journal appear below.

Mercy Haven provides housing and support services for people who are homeless or living with mental illness. The group currently has 266 residents, including 57 children and operates 105 units of housing. 

Seven of those units are in Patchogue, which 27 Mercy Haven residents call home.

The journal was also a way of marking the Long Island-wide nonprofit group’s 30th anniversary.

Sister Pat, who co-founded Mercy Haven in 1985, said she didn’t give the residents any direction — other than saying they could talk about their experiences in life and the program.

“They just loved it,” she said. “I think it would be good to do annually with them.”

Anyone looking for a copy of the journal should email and include their address.