Registration for 2016 St. Charles Labor Day 5k is open

Labor Day is a little more than three months away, which means it’s time to pencil the annual St. Charles 5K race onto your calendar. I’m a walker myself, so racing is optional. 5 kilometers = 3.1 miles = basically a walk in the park. See you at Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth on September 5.

This isn’t just any old 5k. It’s the 20th anniversary of the St. Charles Children’s Home 5K, and that’s worth celebrating. Registration is now open. I’m told that the first 800 registrants get t-shirts (although sizes are limited), so get cracking.

For online registration, use this link.  If you’d rather go old-school and mail in a paper registration, you can print and fill out this form and mail it to the address on the form.

Race sponsors are welcome, too! Whether you can support the race with a cash donation, a promotional item for the runners’ swag bags, or something for the raffle, you’ll be helping the kids who depend on the St. Charles Home.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of the work done by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love in Rochester, New Hampshire. At the St. Charles Home, these women work one-on-one with children who have behavioral challenges. A couple of decades ago, the Sisters discovered that running helped some of the children in their care. Some of the Sisters began running with the kids, and the women in their habits and running shoes became familiar sights at area 5k races.

The first  St. Charles 5K I signed up for was held at Spaulding High in Rochester, where I finished 21st out 22nd in my age group. The event has grown a lot since then, and now the annual race is on the grounds of the Pease International Tradeport. It’s a great family event with a cookout, raffles, and a mini-race for the littlest runners. I’m still one of the slowest people out there, and I always have a good time.

It’s a New Hampshire pro-life tradition. Come support the kids and the Sisters who care for them. The race’s landmark anniversary will be something to celebrate.

Look ahead to Labor Day: St. Charles 5k

photo courtesy
photo courtesy

A note for readers within reasonable distance of Portsmouth, New Hampshire: mark your calendar for the annual St. Charles Children’s Home 5k road race on Labor Day. Runners and walkers are welcome – I’ll be among the walkers – and the course is pleasant and flat along the streets of Pease Tradeport. Proceeds go to the St. Charles Children’s Home, where the Daughters of Mary Mother of Healing Love (AKA the Running Nuns) provide behavioral treatment for troubled kids referred by area school districts.

This will be the nineteenth year for the race, and I’ve participated in most of them. It’s a great event for kids and families, and it’s perfect for serious runners looking to set a 5k personal best. It’s a fun event for a great cause.

About the race

About St. Charles Home

About the Running Nuns

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“Do yourself no harm, for we are all here”: the Lifeline Against Suicide Team

Another small project affirming life is underway. I hope it grows into a big one.

The title of this post quotes Paul’s reassuring words to his suicidal jailer, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Those are the words that helped inspire earlier this year the formation of LAST, the Lifeline Against Suicide Team. It’s not a crisis line; those already exist. Instead, LAST is about daily prayer devoted to particular intentions: preventing suicide, praying for those already lost to suicide, and praying for the surviving families and friends left to cope with grief.

A spiritual work of mercy, in other words. The world could use more of that.

This sounds a very personal chord inside me. I lost my sister to suicide sixteen years ago. The anguish she unwittingly left behind is still with me, to say nothing of what my parents endured. To this day, it hurts to contemplate the pain she must have been in as she took her life thinking no one could help her.

LAST is a ministry of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love, known for caring for troubled children at the St. Charles Home in Rochester, New Hampshire. In the introductory blog post about LAST, the sisters have written
LAST is for all people not just for Catholics. Please unite with people all over the world who are praying for these people who are suffering so grievously. Your prayers will help to open the door to God’s overflowing love and mercy!

So how about it? Calling for mercy and consolation in union with people from all over the world is surely a life-affirming act. Check out the blog at If you’d like to join the effort, send an email to Sister Mary Rose at

One more thing I want to add – again, very personal: suicide carries a stigma, even these days. I remember my mother’s distress at the prospect of the word “suicide” being used on my sister’s death certificate. (Mom fought that, and by ways known only to her she prevailed, at least on the document I saw.) There was a time when some thought the jaws of Hell stood open to receive the souls of those who had taken their own lives. Enough already. “God’s overflowing love and mercy,” as the Sisters say, is surely the best way to counter such a despairing belief. Show that love and mercy to the survivors, too. Believe me, it helps.