A Life of Institutional “Care”

The celebration of Easter, the greatest Feast of our faith, celebrates the Resurrection of Christ and the conquest of death. Out of the tragedy of the cross comes the triumph of life, and life in the full. The tenants at out three St. Francis Residences all come with sad and sometimes tragic stories. But they all share the same ‘little resurrections’ of a second chance. I would like to tell another story of one of these ‘little resurrections’. We will call him Sam.

Sam is now 48 years old. He has been in and out of institutions since he was eleven months old. He was abandoned by his parents for reasons we do not know and, for the first 18 years of his life, lived in a series of residences for children. When he was old enough to move out on his own he was placed in various welfare hotels where he was repeatedly evicted because he was functionally illiterate and could not read the eviction notices. After years of homelessness and occasional stays in the hospital he started living in Penn Station, less than one block from where I am writing you this letter. Finally he got the help he needed and was sent to us at St. Francis Residence II. At first he was difficult to reach and slow to participate in life at the Residence. But gradually through help, his reading skills have improved, he started helping out in the kitchen and escorting fellow tenants to clinic appointments. He is even learning how to smile. Another ‘little resurrection’, and all because of you.

Your continued generosity has given hope and a second chance to hundreds of these least of our brothers and sisters at our three Residences. They are a living testament to your faith in the worth of every human being no matter how scared life has left them.