For almost 800 years St. Francis has been honored in every culture and every religion as a true mirror of the Jesus we find in the Gospels. His simplicity, his love of the poor and his self sacrifice remains a real example of brotherhood to all men and women of good will. St. Francis loved the beauty of all God’s creation and in His honor I would like to share with you the story of one of our newest tenants, another lover of beauty, at St. Francis Residence 1. We will call him George.

George is now 57 years old. He was born in California, had a normal childhood, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. After school he joined the Army and served for six years. During that time of service he began to have emotional difficulties. With an honorable discharge he found work as a counselor, a job’s trainer and a security guard. But in 1993, as his health deteriorated, he came to New York and quickly became homeless.

For 14 years he lived on the streets practicing his one great love – art. He drew on anything he could find and hid away his art all around town. His eyes began to fail him because of severe cataracts and he would ask people to look at his art because he could no longer see. Finally George was hospitalized, had his eyes and his mind treated and came to us. Now he is the star of our art program and his room is filled with his pictures and his pride.

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 that live with us at the three Residences.

In the spirit of St. Francis, who so loved God’s creation, I confidently ask your continued generosity. Any gift, no matter what the size, is greatly appreciated.

Father John M. Felice, OFM