Home At Last

The greatest Feast of our faith commemorates the Resurrection of Christ and the triumph of life over death- That triumph is a gift to each one of us who put our faith in the Risen Lord. I would like to share with you the story of one of these little “triumphs’ we have had at St. Francis Residence H. His name was Charlie.

Charlie died on December 9, 2009 at the age of 85. He was the youngest of five brothers and the last of his family. Charlie was a veteran of World War II with the rank of Naval Seaman 2nd Class. He was one of those Vets who never quite made it all the way home, life had mental and emotional problems that landed him in and out of hospitals and often homeless.

He came to us in 1985 and, for the next twenty years, lived happily at St. Francis Residence II. la 2005 when he became too physically ill to remain with us we placed him in a nursing facility with which we have a long standing relationship.

Father Tom Walters is health care proxy for many of our tenants and regularly visits men at this facility to celebrate birthdays and holidays throughout the year. As is often the case there is no family but us so, when Father Tom was informed of Charlie’s death, he contacted our local funeral director to plan for the burial As a veteran Charlie was eligible for a military funeral.

On a cold winter morning, Fr. Tom and the funeral director drove the casket out to Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island. He was greeted there by a Naval Officer and, after the prayers, was handed a neatly folded flag with the traditional words, “On behalf of the President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to this country and a grateful navy.” Fr, Tom told the officer that Charlie was proud of his service and the Officer said in reply *we are proud of him.”

I share this simple human story with you as an example of the depth of our commitment to the hundreds of men and women we are privileged to serve at our three Residences. We could do none of this without your support. You help make the promise of Easter a reality for people who long ago gave up any hope of a decent life.