(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.data-privacy-src= 'https://www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-TX99J5W');

A Friar’s Notes
Someone Like Josie

Fr. David Convertino, OFM
Executive Director of Development

I saw Josie from the distance struggling with two big plastic trash bags. She used them to carry around her life’s belongings. Josie is homeless. She’s been a regular guest at our Franciscan Breadline for years, usually one of the first in line. Today, she was late.

The volunteers were starting to pack up. Even from the distance, I could see the panicked look on Josie’s face. I took two sandwich bags and a cup of coffee and called out to Josie as I walked toward her. I could tell she was relieved when she saw me approaching. Josie hugged me and said, “Oh, thank you, thank you, Fr. David. You are so kind and generous to somebody like me.”

How sad, I thought, that she thinks of herself in that way – implying that she was not worthy of kindness or being treated with dignity and respect. She said she’s used to everyone staring at her, and most people keeping their distance. I helped Josie to 

the church steps and sat with her. I did most of the talking. Josie was too busy enjoying the roast turkey sandwich. Turkey was her favorite because it reminded her of Thanksgiving dinner as a child, sitting around a big table at her grandmother’s house.

Josie was pretty hungry that morning because she said her last meal was the previous morning at the Breadline. I said to Josie it was a good thing that I gave her two sandwich bags. At least she could save the second one for later in the day. “Oh, no, Fr. David, the second bag is a God-send. I’m going to give it to my friend, Nancy. She sleeps on the park bench next to mine and she picks scraps from garbage cans. I’m blessed to have you and the friars. My friend has no one. A little self-sacrifice never hurt anyone, Fr. David.” I was stunned by Josie’s generosity. What compassion and care by a woman who has so little, but willing to share it all – knowing that what she ate was probably now going to be her only meal of the day.

We Franciscans talk about sharing our bread, which, of course, is a metaphor because the bread we share comes in many forms – hot meals at our soup kitchens, hearty sandwiches at our breadlines, groceries at out food pantries, clothing from our thrift shops, healthcare at our medical clinics, and assistance with rent and utility bills, and much more. All of these ministries are supported by our new fundraising charity, Franciscan Friars Charities, which powers and invests in the daily work and outreach services of the friars, who care every day for those living in poverty, hunger, addiction, and other hardships and struggles.

When I was sitting on the church steps that morning with Josie, I thought of you and all our generous friends and Franciscan-hearted people who support the friars and make our work possible. It means Josie’s friend, Nancy, doesn’t have to find her next meal in a trash can. That morning, Josie abruptly ended our little chat. “I have to be going, Fr. David. Nancy’s probably hungry.”

I watched Josie happily walk down the street into the bright sun, anticipating the joy she would bring to Nancy when she handed her the sandwich bag. Then I thought of those three words Josie spoke that morning, referring to herself, in a condescending way, as “somebody like me.” And I thought to myself – Josie, everyone should be like you.

God bless – and, as always, I, and all the Franciscan friars, are beyond grateful for your love, support and generosity.

This website uses cookies and third party services. Ok