Caring Given and Received

The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua is the anniversary of the death of this simple, humble friar whose preaching, love of the poor and miraculous powers have touched the lives of countless men and women all over the world. He is known to help find things that are lost. In honor of his Feast I would like to tell you another story of one of his ‘little lost ones’ who lives with us at St. Francis Residence II. We will call her Maureen.
Maureen was born in 1938 here in New York City. She attended Catholic schools and went on to college to become a Registered Nurse. For nine years she was head nurse in OB-GYN at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. When her mother became ill she went to Florida to care for her. In 1980 her mother died and Maureen’s life began to fall apart.

She came back to New York and, confused and disorientated, became homeless. She lived at Penn Station and believed that one day the loud speaker there would call her name to claim luggage she thought she lost five years before. Increasingly ill, she had a confrontation with the police and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

After ten years on and off the streets she finally came to us at St. Francis Residence II. She has never lost her nurse’s heart with her quiet, gentle presence at the Residence. Maureen sought to dedicate her life to the service of others but fate turned the tables on her. She remains one of the most beloved women at the Residence by both the tenants and staff.

Maureen’s story is just one of hundreds of men and women at our three St. Francis Residences. It is through your remarkable kindness that we have been able to find so many of these ‘little lost ones’ and give them back their humanity and dignity.

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony this year we confidently ask your continued help for this needed work. The greatest honor your can pay to St. Anthony is to help keep alive his love for the poor in our own day and age. Please be assured that Father John McVean, O.F.M., Father Thomas Walters, O.F.M. and I will keep you and your loved ones in our Masses and prayers on this Feast Day.

Sincerely in St. Francis,