For almost 800 years St Francis has been known 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 shone like the sun. In his honor I would like to tell you another story of a tenant who recently moved into St. Francis Residence II. He is a man, I believe, St Francis would have particularly loved because of his simplicity of heart. We will call him Andy.
Andy was born in Brooklyn in 1965. The oldest of four children, his father worked for the gas company and his mother was an elder care worker. When he was fourteen the family moved to South Carolina where he completed High School, Soon after graduation Andy began having a series of mental difficulties. For a while he tried working on an assembly line putting motors together and, being tall and handsome, he found work as a waiter. A few years later he moved back to New York.
He became progressively sick and wound up homeless and on the streets with occasional visits to the hospital. When you first meet Andy you are taken back by his good looks and demeanor. But when you speak to him you quickly discover he has the mind of a ten year old. There is an innocence of heart to him that is reflective of the simplicity of St.. Francis. No one needed a loving home more than Andy and, because of you, he has finally found one.
There would be no St. Francis Residences and no ‘happy endings’ 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 St. 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 Sf. Francis Father John McVean, OFM, Father Thomas Walters, OFM 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,
Father John M. Felice, OFM