What's New Archives
February 5, 2001 to April 23, 2001
April 23 - Volunteers Needed in the Soup Kitchen this Summer! ~ ~ for update of dates on which we need volunteers see the part-time volunteering page.~ ~
Blessed is the person who supports his neighbor in his weakness as he would want to be supported were he in a similar situation. (XVII, page 134)
Blessed is the servant who does not consider himself any better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple, and looked down upon, for what a person is before God, that he is and no more. (XIX, page 135)
Blessed is the servant who loves and respects his brother as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him, and who would not say anything behind his back that he would not say with charity in his presence. (XXV, page 136)
Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and cannot repay him as when he is well and can repay him. (XXIV, page 136)
All of these sayings are from the undated writings of St. Francis, in The Saint, Volume I of Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, edited by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM Cap., J.A. Wayne Hellman, OFM Conv., and William Short, OFM, @1999 Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY
Franciscan Resources, P.O. Box 350, Menagha, MN 56464
Telephone and Fax: (218) 837-5447
Who are our guests at the shelter? Here is some information we gathered in a recent survey.
Are any of our guests veterans?
Of 249 guests responding, 57 were veterans and 192 were not. This means that approximately 30% of the guests that day were veterans.
What were the ages of the guests who stayed with us that day?
What was the racial make-up of our guests that day?
What are the top 14 categories of needs our guests said they had? (Guests could mark more than one.)
In honor of the anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, we are printing a writing of his that encourages us at Franciscan Outreach as we tackle the problem of homelessness..
It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about: we plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
~ Archbishop Oscar Romero
Some of you might not be familiar with St. Francis of Assisi. Is this the same saint that is known for his love of animals?
Yes! St. Francis of Assisi had a great compassion for all living things. In the book Through the Year With Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from His Words and Life, the entry for September 4 reads:
"The Friend of Animals
That meekness which is so necessary, we should learn from St. Francis. For his was an extraordinary meekness, not only toward other people, but also toward animals. He called all animals 'brother' and 'sister' and we read in a story of his life how even wild animals came running to him as their friend and companion. ~ from a sermon of St. Bonaventure, evening, October 4, 1225."
In all of Creation he saw the reflection of the good God who made it. The entry for September 3 reads:
"The Contemplation of the Creator in Creatures
St. Francis praised the Artist in every one of his works; whatever he found in things made, he referred to their Maker. He rejoiced in all the works of the Lord's hands, and with joyful vision saw into the reason and cause that gave them life. In beautiful things he came to know Beauty itself. To him all things were good. They cried out to him: "He who made us is infinitely good." By tracing his footprints in things Francis followed the Beloved wherever he led. He made, from created things, a ladder to his throne. ~ Celano, Second Life, 165"
St. Francis' compassion also extended to those who were suffering. March 24th's entry is:
"St. Francis's Compassion for Those Who Suffer
He turned with a marvelous tenderness and compassion toward anyone afflicted with a physical suffering, and when he noticed deprivation or need in anyone, he saw in that person the suffering Christ himself. The love of Christ only intensified his natural bent toward compassion. ~ St. Bonaventure, Major Life, 8:5"
This is the spirit in which we at Franciscan Outreach Association reach out to the poor and homeless of Chicago. We appreciate their goodness and have compassion for their suffering.
Join with us in whatever way you can to show compassion towards the homeless men and women who come to our doors. May your compassion be increased!
Through the Year With St. Francis of Assisi: Daily Meditations from His Words and Life, Selected and Translated by Murray Bodo, Published by St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1993. Available from St. Anthony Messenger Press: www.americancatholic.org
Here is a writing from a series of articles by Fr. Phil that has been recently edited by Fr. Benet Fonck, OFM, and published under the title Called to Live the Dynamic Power of the Gospel by Franciscan Press:
"Human Justice is tied very closely to the Gospel. What urges us to respond to others is God's love and visible human need. If our faith and love are genuine, we desire our actions to do more than make us feel good or give temporary relief. We will want our actions to cope with their needs as effectively as possible. To accomplish this, we must push into the public arena, into questions of social justice.
"With the Gospel as our base of operations, we must want for others rights that we enjoy, a right to a suitable home, job, food, and health care. It should be our goal to overcome situations which violate human dignity. To see others as our brothers and sisters includes our working and praying for their full human dignity as sons and daughters of Christ.
"Christ went about doing good, and St. Francis imitates his apostolic example. We are called upon to do the same according to the human needs of our day. The deeper our union with Christ, the more we feel the weight of this responsibility. Pope Paul VI, in an apostolic letter on social justice, mentions the obligation we have not only to work for the heavenly kingdom, but also for the betterment of all in the earthly kingdom.
from Called to Live the Dynamic Power of the Gospel; Commentary on the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, by Fr. Philip Marquard. This was a series of articles published by Fr. Phil in in the Franciscan Herald magazine between 1979 and 1980. The articles were edited and compiled by Fr. Benet Fonck, OFM.
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You can also visit Franciscan Press' website.
As an emergency overnight shelter, we can legally provide shelter for only 12 hours of each day. Every morning, all of our guests (except our Crew Staff) must be out of the building by 5:30 a.m. Whether its 60 degrees outside or minus 6 degrees, sunny or raining, our guests must leave the building. It's not easy being homeless in Chicago, especially in Winter! Few of our guests choose this life.
To better understand our guests, we conducted a survey of 250 guests at our shelter on February 15, 2001. One of the questions was: "Where do you go when you leave the shelter?" Here are the responses. The number of responses add up to more than 250 because some guests checked more than one place.
Why do they have to leave the building? Our current shelter is nearly wall-to-wall beds. There is simply no place to accommodate our guests during the day. Only Crew Staff are allowed to stay during the day. Some guests are allowed back in at a set time for appointments with the mental health outreach workers.
Perhaps if we have more space in a building in the future, we could open a limited day program that would engage our guests in activities that would help them improve their lives. Perhaps we could interest some in job training programs, GED classes, art therapy classes, substance abuse meetings, or on-site case management. Sometimes, these kinds of programs are able to build a guest's confidence and hope and be just what he or she needs to believe that a better life is within their reach. Please pray for us and our guests!
The words of our founder, Fr. Phil Marquard, continue to inspire us. Here is something he wrote that reveals one of his motives for helping the poor and homeless.
Getting to Know and See Christ
0ften it is in our work for others that Christ is to be found. That is what Jesus tells us when he says: "what you did to the least of My brothers and sisters you did to Me." Our care for our family members, our friends, and the poor this becomes the way to meet Christ. The more we help and guide others, the more we receive, not only similar gifts, but Christ Himself. To go to the poor is to go to the Lord. Living this truth in our family life enables us to care for others without conditions, without hesitation, without the need for a temporal reward in return.
This action for others, along with prayer and the sacraments, makes it possible for us to develop a spiritual sensitivity that enables us to constantly recognize Christ's voice, His face, and His touch in every person we meet. St. Francis discovered this rather early in his adult life. This contributed abundantly to his happiness. He saw and felt Christ in all persons around himself. He desires that we have the same joy.
~ Father Philip
Source: a piece of paper, now yellowed with age, that we found in an office file.
If you had to guess, what topics would you say our guests ask us for help with most often? Here is a chart that shows the topics our case managers helped our guests with in 2000. Most guests needed help on more than one issue.
Permanent Housing and Clothing top the list!
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