The Mission of the MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary
We create a daytime sanctuary and multi-resource center for homeless and at-risk individuals with core values of healing, spirituality, recovery, peer empowerment, dignity, nonviolence, advocacy, voice, sustainability and mutual transformation. This sanctuary is a place to be, belong and become within a transformational solidarity community--interfaith, nonpartisan, intercultural, and noncanonical--a racially and economically diverse family of hope. We seek to strengthen Milwaukee’s overwhelmed safety net.
Sister MacCanon Brown: President and CEO
MacCanon Brown was born into a family of generational protestant clergy in Central Iowa. She grew up with the example of her faith-filled parents' ministerial commitments. They treated all people with love and respect.
Brown attended Otterbein College, Westerville, Ohio, majoring in Music and Social Studies. She also participated in Black Studies and interracial dialogue, did inner-city neighborhood work, and attended civil rights events in nearby Columbus during the peak of the civil rights movement.
In 1986, after 18 years as a rural homemaker, newspaper reporter, and literary artist-in-the-schools for the Iowa Arts Council, MacCanon Brown moved to Milwaukee. In 1991, while participating in the Benedict Institute for Urban Ministry, she vowed to help homeless people and converted to Catholicism.
Since that time, she has lived in Milwaukee’s central city and dedicated her life to homeless outreach and advocacy. Brown was invited to be part of the founding group of Repairers of the Breach in late 1991 and became Executive Director in 1995. Under Brown’s 22 years of executive leadership, the needs of thousands of homeless individuals were addressed, creating a comprehensive and effective “one-stop shop” daytime resource center which included a free medical clinic.
In 2013 Sister MacCanon left Repairers, and with a team of long-time supporters and friends founded MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary (MBHS). Sister MacCanon objected to the eponymous name but was overruled by the team. They began with no funds, but they did have four bags of donated clothing, which they distributed to residents of 53206. Using her experience of developing an organization, leading a team of volunteers, and serving the homeless, she led her team in growing MBHS into what it is today.
In 2014 MacCanon Brown was invited to affiliate with the Sisters for Christian Community. She took her vows in a ceremony on July 25, 2015. Additionally, in December of 2020 she achieved Associate status with School Sisters of Notre Dame. Ultimately, the central dynamic of Brown’s work is to bring persons with widely divergent lifestyles into connectedness, into mutual transformation, and into unity in creating solutions. She believes, “There are no throwaway people.”
2020 Best Community Advocate, MKE Lifestyle Magazine
2021 Senior of the Year, Positively Milwaukee
2022 Inspiration of the Year, Positively Milwaukee