THE MASSIE HOUSE APARTMENTS – From Crack House to Safe Haven

   In October 2010 the rooming house next door to Quixote House suddenly sported a “For Sale” sign.  The sign was clearly part of our oft-expressed dream, “when Quixote overflows, we’ll rent another house. . .even become a village.”

   Purchased in November 2010, the apartment project took shape. Named after Fr. Brian Massie, SJ, a dedicated prison chaplain and supporter who sadly passed away in 2009, the Massie House Apartments provide a solution to some of the issues facing Quixote House residents.

   Within the context of low vacancy rates for apartments in Winnipeg, the Massie House Apartment Project offers safe haven for those who still feel they need more time and support in establishing themselves financially and emotionally beyond Quixote House.  Conveniently situated next door to Quixote House, this one-time “crack-house” was rebuilt and transformed into four one-bedroom, self-contained apartments.  These are rented at reasonable rates to former Quixote House alumni, all of whom are former participants in the Next Step Program.  Residents maintain some contact with Quixote House and serve as good examples for men newer to the program who may need to see successful models to emulate.

In Memory of a Good Friend

   Fr. Brian once said, “June of ’72 brought two blessings:  ordination and my alcoholism – that which almost killed me in fact has saved my life.”  From 1987 to 1994 Fr. Massie served as chaplain to the inmates on death row at the District Prison in Spanish Town, Jamaica.  He brought all he had learned about suffering and grace, through his own addiction and 18 years of sobriety, to his visits with death row inmates.

   Returning to Canada and taking up parish life at St. Ignatius Parish in Winnipeg, Fr. Massie displayed a desire to help inmates, and often encouraged people to “reach beyond our walls,” affirming that “we are our brother’s brother and sister.”  His efforts to build and live in community with ex-offenders helped to solidify a new community – one based on support and creating circles of social support which encourage healthy living and a new beginning.

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