New 26

Joseph House Community Gala (Save the Date)

Please join us for drinks and hors d’oeuvres on Friday December 2nd at FSU’s Turnbull Center in Tallahassee for the 4th Annual Joseph House Family Gathering.
This event begins at 6:00 with heavy hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. Our featured speaker is bestselling author, Anthony Ray Hinton.
Mr. Hinton spent 30 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. His book, The Sun Does Shine was a NY Times Bestseller.
Mr. Hinton represents the Equal Justice Initiative founded by Bryan Stevenson. EJI is an amazing organization and partner of Joseph House.
Join the Joseph House Community and Mr. Hinton to learn how you can be a part of our journey of restoration.

Event Date: December 2nd, 2022
Event Time: 6:00 pm through 8:30 pm
Event Location: FSU Turnbell Center

Anthony Ray Hinton – Biography

Anthony Ray Hinton survived for 30 years on Alabama’s death row. His story is a decades-long journey to exoneration and freedom.

In 1985, Mr. Hinton was convicted of the unsolved murders of two fast-food restaurant managers based on the testimony of ballistics experts for the State who claimed that the crime bullets came from a dusty revolver found in Mr. Hinton’s mother’s closet. Without the benefit of a competent expert to challenge the State’s theory (Mr. Hinton’s lawyer hired a ballistics expert who was blind in one eye), an all-white jury convicted Mr. Hinton and he was sentenced to death.

After years of petitioning to have the revolver re-analyzed, three independent experts concluded that the bullets could not have been fired from his mother’s revolver. With the assistance of the Equal Justice Initiative, led by attorney Bryan Stevenson, Mr. Hinton was freed in 2015.

Since his release, Mr. Hinton has traveled the world sharing his
story and discussing the changes that need to be made to prevent similar injustices from happening to other people. In 2018, Mr. Hinton published The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and is a New York Times bestseller. In 2019, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Bonaventure University.

New 27

Tallahassee Beer Festival (Tickets Now Available)

It’s time for the 4th Annual Tallahassee Beer Festival, scheduled to take place September 10, 2022 at the Civic Center. This event benefits UPHS Human Service Agencies and your ticket purchase will directly help Joseph House. Join us for Great Beer, Great Causes, and a Great Event.

  • Event Date: Sat, Sept-10-2022
  • Event Time: 2:00 pm through 6pm
  • Event Location: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center

How do I purchase tickets?

Tickets are available now and can be directly from the Civic Center’s website by clicking here. Use promo code JOSEPH to purchase your ticket and give credit to Joseph House.

Tallahassee Beer Festival (Tickets Now Available) 1

How much do tickets cost?

VIP Admission – $92.00 (plus fees)

  • Early access starting at 1:00pm
  • VIP special (purchased) beer
  • Food samples served throughout the event
  • VIP room with Shift 8 and Tony Demma taking turns playing music
  • Click here to purchase your tickets and add promo code JOSEPH

Standard Admission – $42.00 (plus fees)

  • Access from 2:00pm-6:00pm
  • Unlimited samples
  • Click here to purchase your tickets and add promo code JOSEPH

Teachers and First Responders – $72.00 and $22.00 

  • (available at the Tucker Center Box Office only)

Designated Driver – $12.00 (plus fees)

  • Click here to purchase your tickets and add promo code JOSEPH

How do I learn more about the event?

Last year, the TLH Beer Festival netted more than $48,000 for participating UPHS member agencies. This year, Joseph House is proud to be a participating member and will benefit from your attendance. To learn more about the work of United Partners for Human Services, please click here.

This popular event has sold out three years in a row! This year they expect 70+ home brewers and breweries with close to 200 different beers to sample. There will be food available for purchase, live music to enjoy, and of course, you’re benefiting us by your attendance. To read all the details of the event, please click here.

New 28

Here are Some of Our Dreams Realized

By now most of you know we take dreams seriously at Joseph House. We believe a meaningful life must tap into dreams. Joseph House was founded on the story of dreams coming true. We listen to the dreams of people and work with them to make them come about. We believe our world expands more and more the more we dare to take our dreams seriously. Here are a few dreams being realized in our house.

Here are Some of Our Dreams Realized 8

Our brother Pre was invited to speak and share his journey as well as his perspective on the injustices in our criminal justice system at the inaugural conference on Catholic Criminal Justice Reform Network at Georgetown University in DC. Having spent over ten years in solitary confinement, Pre speaks with incredible authority on the abuses in our prisons while also sharing stories of exceptional human resilience among the incarcerated. Pre shared his witness with judges, legal scholars, bishops, lawyers, and other formerly incarcerated individuals.

Here are Some of Our Dreams Realized 9

Our brother Lamaar has created his own landscaping business, Blue Landscaping, to fulfill the dream of owning his own business and spending as much time possible outdoors amidst God’s creation. His masterful landscaping was on display this past week at the Maclay Tour of Gardens.

Here are Some of Our Dreams Realized 10

And then there’s Chad, our dear brother who just recently left Joseph House to create a new home with his family. This was a big moment not only for Chad and his family but also for our community at Joseph House. Our aim is that the idea of home will be something our residents can imitate when they leave us. We dare to dream big because we know the our dreams help us create a more beautiful world for others too!

And from all of us at JH, we hope all you moms, grandma’s, godmama’s, had a good feast with family. Let’s pray for all those separated from their moms, and moms separated from their children. May we bring those dreadful walls that separate families down so that love may reign!

Here are Some of Our Dreams Realized 11
New 29

2022 Tour of Gardens

We are thrilled that Joseph House has been invited by the Friends of Maclay Gardens to feature our garden in their 2022 Tour of Gardens on Friday May 13th & Saturday 14th.

Starting from a clean slate 4 years ago, we created a garden for peace and serenity for our House. Our Gazebo, in our mediation area, features a spectacular mosaic done by a local artist. The front and back yard landscape has flowers and greenery for the birds and year-round pleasure for all.

Our brother, Lamaar, has maintained our beautiful gardens at Joseph House. While with us in our community, Lamaar has come to discover a great passion for the outdoors and landscaping. His vision is to bring artistry and design to the spaces we inhabit. This vision has led him to create his own business, Blue Landscaping, LLC. We encourage you to reach out to him for any landscaping needs you may have. Contact Blue Landscaping at 850-317-0270!

2022 Tour of Gardens 14

New 30

We’ve hit our goal!

Dear Family and Friends:

The NYC Half Marathon was Sunday and it was an honor to run for Joseph House. I want to send a big thank you to everyone for their amazing support, which has led to us exceeding our goal! As of last night, with the matching funds, we’ve raised $29,196.82. It’s all thanks to you.

We've hit our goal! 15

These funds will be of enormous significance to Joseph House, which will be able to increase capacity and assist more incredible and resilient people re-entering society.

We've hit our goal! 16

Given my glacial pace, I should probably not quit my day job, but it was wonderful to run for reentry and to complete the race. (I also apparently don’t know how to run in a straight line and ran 13.9 miles according to my running app.)

We've hit our goal! 17

With lots of love and gratitude,

A friend of Joseph House

New 31

Bryan Stevenson Interview at New York Encounter

Fr. Dustin and 3 of our residents attended the NY Encounter this past weekend. Bryan Stevenson was one of the keynote speakers and our residents and Fr. Dustin had front row seats for his presentation.

Bryan formally recognized Joe Sullivan and the work we do at Joseph House.  At the end of his talk, he actually came down off the stage to give Joe Sullivan a hug!  It was a great moment for Joseph House and we wanted to share the entire video with you.

Without truth, there is no reconciliation

Bryan Stevenson

What is the New York Encounter?

The New York Encounter is an annual three-day public cultural event in the heart of New York City, offering opportunities for education, dialogue, and friendship. (source, YouTube video description)

What is this conversation about?

“The individual is more than the worst act he/she committed.” This is one of Mr. Stevenson’s most famous and challenging statements.

What journey brought him to this conclusion? Why would it be true and what implications would it have on the judicial system? What can facilitate a similar journey, especially for young people? What is the relationship between individual and structural or systemic changes in society? What comes first and why? These are some of the questions that will be addressed during the conversation. (source, YouTube video description)

New 32

Joseph House at the NY Encounter with Bryan Stevenson

One of our dreams at JH was to visit with the man whose witness and mission sowed the seeds of our mission at the very beginning. A few of us met with Bryan Stevenson at the NY Encounter. It was for us a kind of homecoming. There was so much love in that room! We were honored as he started his talk by saying “there are folks who are my people in this space, there is a group of people called Joseph House, they are people who know firsthand the problems created by our criminal justice system.” We are so grateful that one of our close friends, Alberto, invited us to this event. We will share more about this event and Bryan’s talk here soon!

Joseph House at the NY Encounter with Bryan Stevenson 18

A word from Chad Grady

Two of my brothers – Fr. Dustin and Pre – and I had a been invited to share the mission of Joseph House on a panel on criminal justice system at the United States Catholic Conference. Pre shared passionately about solitary confinement in regard to his own experiences and what he faced and dealt with: the grim reality of being inside of Florida’s prisons and its challenges. This also gave me the opportunity to talk about my re-entry experience and how having a community such as Joseph House makes such a profound difference in a person’s outlook on his life after being incarcerated. Each day of incarceration takes something from you. From positive attributes about yourself to what you think about the world around you, it gets altered and it’s very difficult to come out of such a horrific trance. A darkness where light doesn’t dare shine.

But needless to say, while we are deemed “worst of the worst” in society by many in our state’s justice system, here we are at Joseph House living in peace together. We live as a family. We motivate one another, uplift one another, give each other guidance as well as just have fun.  As a result of the blessing we are inspired to let our stories be known so that others can be aware of changes that still need to be made in the justice system, as knowing that there is another Chad out there, another Pre out there, and is looking for that one person to say “hey we are here for you, and we want you to succeed.” It’s communities like that which I believe has the potential to change another person’s life. It definitely changed mine!

A beautiful addition to our house

Our brother Lamaar created a beautiful stone pathway in our meditation garden. Thanks Lamaar!

Joseph House at the NY Encounter with Bryan Stevenson 19

Blue Landscaping, LLC

Please do not hesitate to give out brother Lamaar a call for all your landscaping needs. He shows great enthusiasm for this. HE LOVES IT. Landscaping is his gift and his dream.

Joseph House at the NY Encounter with Bryan Stevenson 20

He can provide you with lawn services to keep your yards groomed, gutters/roofs cleaned, and can also plant flowers, trees and shrubs. He has a green thumb!

New 33

Never Abandoned by Patrick Lambert

Patrick’s visit to the Joseph House provokes him to return to teaching changed.

Through baptism each child is inserted into a gathering of friends who never abandon him in life or in death because the companions are God’s family, which in itself bears the promise of eternity.

Pope Benedict XVI

“But Mr. Lambert, why doesn’t this exist in the real world?” For the past two years I have taught a high school course on Catholic Social Teaching and this question has haunted me on a daily basis. Facing the multifarious issues of our society, my students view the Church’s social teaching as yet another theoretical idea in the vast marketplace of ideologies which are all doomed to never exist in the real world. This latent concern of mine instantly disappeared the moment I walked into the Joseph House.

Joseph House is a community in Tallahassee started by Father Dustin Feddon that offers shelter, food, education, and most importantly friendship and community to men leaving prison. I found myself there because the parents of my friend Desa were visiting from Italy and he invited us for dinner to meet them and his friends who live at the Joseph House. So, after driving six hours to spend the week with friends in Miramar Beach, I instantly jumped on the opportunity to drive an extra two hours with some friends to spend the evening with Desa, his parents, and the guys at Joseph House.

While we were eating dinner together, one resident named Pre told us his story of ending up living at the Joseph House. After being incarcerated for twenty-two years, Pre found himself at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution: one of the worst of Florida’s prisons. He was distraught to spend the last period of his time in abject accommodations, cruelty, and loneliness. Sunlight began to break through those clouds when Pre’s cellmate said “The Pope is coming to visit today, don’t you want to go?” “The ‘Pope’? There’s no way that’s Father Dustin!” Pre thought to himself. Pre had befriended Father Dustin a few years before when visits from the chaplain were still not restricted due to Covid, and hadn’t seen him since. Just the possibility that “The Pope” visiting the prison might be Father Dustin filled Pre with a great hope that seemed almost too good to be true: “It’s hard to trust my own heart after all these years of people letting me down.” Yet, even considerably cautious, Pre said that he thought, “If that ‘Pope guy’ is Father Dustin, then I’m in this place (referring to the worst prison!) so that I can meet him again.” What a miracle to have this gaze on his life, to be certain despite all of the unfavorable circumstances that Someone always has him in mind.

All the moderation he had tried holding over his heart was thrown away the second the steel door opened and he saw Father Dustin waiting for him in the meeting room. Pre shared that he was filled with a flurry of questions at the sight of Father Dustin, the first of which was whether or not he had finally realized his dream of opening a house for former inmates. Together, they celebrated the fact that Father Dustin had opened Joseph House, caught up on each other’s lives, and made plans for the future. Knowing that he would be able to see Father Dustin and to have somewhere to go when he got out of prison made his last six months in prison livable.

Amidst the thousands of superficial differences between Pre’s story and my own I couldn’t help but realize that in the end we have experienced the same thing. In the Church I’ve met a companionship bigger than the scope of anything I could’ve imagined or created for myself. I, too, find it hard to trust my heart and the depths of my desire, but my friends enter into that darkness in the same way “Pope” Dustin entered the dingy meeting room of that prison. It is with gratitude and wonder for this friendship, this friendship that also includes Pre, that I can go back to my high school students and say with certainty that this life proposed by Christ is not a utopia, but is actually the most real thing.

Patrick, Tampa, FL

This article originally appeared on CL Newsletter and is reproduced with permission.

New 34

Joseph House Gala with Sr. Helen Prejean

We would like to invite you to our 2021 Joseph House Gala on Friday, November 5th, 2021, 6:30-8:30PM. Our theme for this special night is: Learning To Dream!

Keynote speaker via Zoom: Sr. Helen Prejean will share her witness and testimony on creating justice through accompanying the least among us. She is the author of the #1 New York Times Best Seller Dead Man Walking.

A plated dinner will be served in the Magnolia Room at the Capital City Country Club on 1601 Golf Terrace Dr. Tallahassee, FL 32301. Masks are required.

Other speakers include Bishop William Wack and a former resident of Joseph House Chad Grady.

New 35

Affirming Life & Reading MLK at JH

Lillies of the Field, Birds of the Air

Every now and then it helps to remind ourselves what our most basic values are in life. How we choose to live our lives. As I write this, I’m reflecting again on our most basic value at Joseph House. I can’t think of a better articulation of this then what a beloved mentor of mine, David Kangas, taught me through reading philosophy: the labor of existence is to to affirm our existence in the world we live in. This work resits all the ways we think reality should be or how our lives should look (so often compared with false ideals). Instead, as David said, our great work is to become pliant to the reality given us today.

Affirming Life & Reading MLK at JH 23

Often we think our projects, our successes or our failures, our ideals or wishes define us and give us meaning. Jobs matter. Skills matter. Accomplishments matter. Finances matter. But none of these determines our dignity – our dignity is the sheer fact we exist. We at Joseph House attend to the basic values in this life, to reflect on what it means to flourish. We labor to discover how exhilarating life is. After all, it takes work to be attentive to life and its wonder. And when at times we stumble or find our vision clouded, we pick each other up and continue the journey together.

Affirming Life & Reading MLK at JH 24

Recently a few of us at JH started an online reading circle every Sunday at 3pm (ETA). We’ve started with a reading of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Affirming Life & Reading MLK at JH 25

If you have free time on Sunday afternoons then please read with us! For a copy of the text please email sonyaw@josephhouseus.org. You may use this zoom link to join the conversation: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84070654560?pwd=emhRdlFUV2tJRXp0QkpqSjhvZnZPZz09

Thank you for reading!
– Fr. Dustin Feddon