Esther Residence

Esther Residence is a transitional program for women who are leaving incarceration.

In 1850, a home was opened in Quebec City to welcome women leaving prison, and... the Good Shepherd Community was born. In 2004, the need for a transitional house for women leaving incarceration was seen, and... Esther Residence was born in Saco, Maine.

Here at Esther Residence, women are welcomed and assisted in adjusting to living “outside”, supported in their goal of staying sober, guided in learning new skills, and invited to new recreational activities.

They cook, clean, relax, have fun, get a job, learn how to budget, pay rent and plan for their next step. Daily reflection time provides additional support and encouragement.

Religious and lay women contribute their time as staff or volunteers and many friends and parishioners join our community effort and help to finance and support this needed and welcomed ministry.

Would you like to join us in this ministry?

Read about the experience of some of our residents and what Esther Residence did for them.

"I have had a very nice experience at the Esther Residence. I have... experienced a lot! I have met all the goals that I set for myself except one and I am working on it. The residence is a very helpful place and the staff help with everything they know and if they don’t know, they find the answer for you. I have been sober and have my kids back in my life and it is wonderful! I learned how to quilt and have done a lot of very “adventurous” things. I’m loving the “new me” and the sober life. It’s a lot of hard work but so worth it!!"

- Tina

"I am 25 years old and I was released from the Florida state prison...after serving 2 years.  When I first moved into Esther Residence, I was insecure about being able to interact with other people, worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a job, and grieving over the loss of my mother. I don’t think I can adequately put into words all that living here has done for me. The Sisters here have loved, supported, guided, encouraged, and nurtured me when I was unable to do those things for myself. It is wonderful to be a part of, and live in a place that is safe and people are non-judgmental. As I continue my stay here at Esther Residence I hope that I can help someone else, with what has so freely been given to me."

- Mary

"I am 27 years old. I’m currently staying at the Esther Residence. I have been here for about 6 months. Let me tell you a little about my story. I have been in and out of jail and prison since the age of 19. I have a serious addiction to drugs that I was never able to get a hold of. I got out of prison into home confinement...after being in 3 years. Getting out and back into the real world was a little scary. I overcame that fear by doing the right thing and coming to the Esther Residence instead of doing my prison sentence, and getting out and going back to my old ways. I truly believe in my heart the only reason I have made it this far, is because I came to stay at the Esther Residence. I thank God and the sisters for allowing me into their home. Since being here, I have learned a great amount. I had a hard time communicating correctly, but the sisters have taught me new skills. I knew how to bake before I came here, but never cooked. I can now cook and serve a full course meal. I have learned and now know how to hem, and put buttons on by hand. I never worked a real job or paid my own bills. The sisters have taught me independence so that I am able to do both. I am now working a 40-hour job; I’m tired but feel great because I’m accomplished now. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity of being in this house. Whenever I have something I want to talk to, no matter if the sisters are busy or not, they take the time out of their busy schedule to sit and talk. I am a completely different woman than I was a few years ago. I am the young woman that I was before drugs ever became a part of my life. The three sisters that live at the Esther Residence with us are amazing, understanding, loving, and caring. I don’t think I can put into words how much I appreciate them and this house."

- Cindy