35 Years of Hope: Carmen Pappas

Carmen Pappas played the harp professionally for 61 years, working at weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, theaters and restaurants throughout the Midwest before settling in Chicago. Now retired, she lives near her daughter in San Antonio, Texas.

Carmen Pappas

Carmen first visited St. Martin de Porres House of Hope when Srs. Connie and Therese were transforming an abandoned corner drugstore into a homeless shelter for women and children. She had attended a luncheon where Sr. Connie was a guest speaker, and wanted to see firsthand what the nuns were doing. “I couldn’t believe they had that many beds in such a small place. Shortly after that, they moved across the street to the abandoned school,” Carmen says. She performed a concert for the staff and residents at St. Martins, most of whom had never experienced a live harp performance. “I lived on the north side so I couldn’t help much except for money. Each month, I sent a modest amount and a letter. They were doing amazing things down there. I saw their vision.”

Today, more than 33 years later, Carmen continues to send a monthly check and a letter to St. Martin’s.  “When you give to St. Martin de Porres, you know where your money is going,” she says. “You know it’s helping people who need help. I’m so glad to be able to do it.”