A Ray of Hope

For eight centuries St. Francis of Assisi has been honored in every culture and in every religion as the "Father of the Poor". In the simplicity of his heart he saw all of us as brothers and sisters and, no matter how damaged or bruised we were by life, in his eyes we were all God's beloved children. In his honor I would like to tell you the remarkable story of another one of our tenants at St. Francis Residence Ill. His gentleness of heart reminds me of St. Francis. We will call him Leonard.

Leonard is now 65 years old. He was born in Queens, New York and grew up with one older sister. After High School he went to Long Island University and earned a degree in biology. He then went on to medical school and studied to become a doctor. In his third year of residency he married a fellow medical student. But by his fourth year of study his world began to unravel.

Mental illness forced him to leave medical school and ultimately ended his marriage. After a stint in the army he was only able to find part-time jobs as a dish washer or security guard. As his illness progressed he lost his housing and became homeless spending his time in parks and riding the Staten Island Ferry.

After several hospitalizations he came to St. Francis Residence III. For all his sad history and loss he has kept a sharp and intelligent mind. But what remains most remarkable about Leonard is his warmth, gentleness and sense of humor. He has regained his humanity and all because of you.

There would be no St. Francis Residences without your kindness. God alone knows the good you are helping to achieve for almost 300 of these least of our brothers and sisters at our three St. Francis Residences. In the spirit of S1. Francis, who so loved the poor of his day, I confidently ask your continued generosity. Any gift, no matter what the size, is greatly appreciated.

Please know that on this Feast of S1. Francis Father John Mc Vean, O.F .M., Father Thomas Walters, O.F.M. and I will remember you and your loved ones in our Masses and prayers. May the Lord continue to grant you all the blessings promised to the compassionate.

Sincerely in St. Francis,