Stories From The Archives: There's Always Room For One More

Project HOME
Sister Mary and others look at stained glass mural

During our 35th anniversary year, we are digging into our deep archives to share stories from our past that highlight some of the many milestones we have celebrated over our nearly four decades of service to Philadelphia. 

This piece from 2013 celebrates the first anniversary of our Connelly House residence and shares remarks Emily Riley, a former Project HOME trustee and long-time supporter. 

Artist Meg Saligman would create several more art installations at JBJ Soul Homes, Stephen Klein Wellness Center, and Ruth Williams House at the Gene and Marlene Epstein Building, among others. See Related News below for more.


Last Friday was the first anniversary of the grand opening of our Connelly House residence in Center City. One of the many highlights of that beautiful building is a stunning stained glass mural by prominent Philadelphia artist Meg Saligman. Meg is currently working with us again, to create artwork for JBJ Soul Homes and for our 25th anniversary in 2014. 

Below are remarks from Emily Riley, Executive Vice President of the Connelly Foundation and a Trustee of Project HOME, at last year’s grand opening, in which she describes Meg’s beautiful mural and how it functions to honor the Connelly Family, whose foundation has been a major partner of Project HOME for many years.

A group of people standing in front of stained glass mural
Emily Riley, fourth from right, standing before the stained glass mural.

When you enter its doors you will be greeted by a magnificent stained glass mural created by Meg Saligman entitled “There’s Always Room For One More” (a favorite expression of my father’s). It was commissioned and underwritten by loyal and generous friends of Project HOME.

Meg Saligman is not only a gifted artist, but she is an ingenious communicator who poses thoughtful questions, gleans unexpected bits of information, listens carefully, and transforms grey, cerebral musings into a vibrant, inspiring work of art.

Artist Meg Saligman stands in front of mural
Artist Meg Saligman, left, stands in front of her stained glass mural.

As you will see, the mural is a metaphor bringing together the ideas, affections, and concerns of residents, donors, staff, and all those who have dreamed of a better future plus memories of objects and people who influenced their lives. Look closely and you will see the water of the Well of Bethesda continuing to provide sustenance, a treasure book, a patterned blanket giving warmth, a solitary chair awaiting a tired body, and a long line of men and women perhaps seeking shelter or leaving, having been refreshed.

Surrounding the mural is a sparkling frame of icons: a Star of David, a Mercy Cross, a lucky horseshoe, an Irish harp, a St. Joseph’s University “hawk,” a “Jimmy coin” (recognizing courage), profiles of residents, a sedakah (Jewish symbol of charity), and Native American feathers from a resident’s door … symbols of the many people of various backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities who have given their time and resources to make Connelly House a home.

Josephine and John Connelly have a place of honor in the mural. My mother was gracious – full of life and good humor, and she is placed among the gardenias that were her favorite flowers. John Connelly, who was direct, never petty, generous and energetic, is accompanied by the Connelly Containers water tower, and Crown Cork & Seal cans and crowns that were symbols of his successful business career.

They were on their honeymoon in 1938 – releasing pigeons in St. Mark’s Square, Venice. We like to think that this image represents the open hand, hearts, and wallets that enabled them later to touch so many lives.

The Connelly family, children and grandchildren, plus the Board of Trustees of the Connelly Foundation, were unanimous in agreement over the name of Connelly House because the leaders of these collaborating organization share the same moral strength, business acumen, and “hard to define” leadership qualities that our parents possessed.

Leaders are individuals who make what may seem impossible…a reality.

To close with a quote from John Quincy Adams:  “If your actions inspire others to dream learn more…to do more…and to become more…then you are a leader.”

Related news

The Mural of the Story

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Weaving Us Whole

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None of us are home until all of us are home®