St. Francis Inn
St. Francis Inn is a Franciscan Eucharistic community called to minister to the poor and homeless of Philadelphia. Formed in the spirit of the Gospel and inspired by the life and compassion of Francis and Clare of Assisi, the inn tries to meet the immediate daily needs of the people it serves with food, clothing and hospitality.
Workers and volunteers at the Inn seek to empower people to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty and address structural injustices. They build relationships with the people they serve by respecting their dignity, helping them to restore hope in their lives, and living simply among them.
Delegations of five to six parishioners from our parish travel to Philadelphia a few times each year to participate in this community. Delegates serve at the Inn from Monday through Friday, typically departing from Raleigh early Monday morning and returning Friday evening. Upcoming delegations:
June 19 – 23 Youth Ministry
Oct 23 – 27
Feb. 12 – 16
April 2 – 6
May 21 – 26 Young Adult
June 18 – 22 Youth Ministry
Oct 29 – Nov 2
For more information go to http://stfrancis2.wpengine.com/st-francis-inn/
Time Commitment: one week
Gifts: Serving food, service, hospitality
A Reflection by Joanne Finch
His name was Richard. He was my new friend from the St. Francis Inn. The first night we arrived, I volunteered to be the “juice pourer” out in the courtyard. The guests were mingling out in the courtyard and I happily poured the juice. That’s where I met him.
He told me something bizarre about an elephant going to the hospital to find some peanuts. I responded, “Oh, that must have been a sight!” We both laughed. He then started talking normally to me after that. He had some really far-fetched stories but I still enjoyed interacting with him.
As he continued speaking, I realized he reminded me of someone. His way of speech and his mannerisms reminded me of one of my brothers! I fell in love with my new friend.
The next day he brought his wife to the Inn and they were seated at my table. I enjoyed their company and snuck them an extra dessert. I looked forward to seeing them every day. And then the last day came. Our delegation was heading home after lunch and I was hoping to see them again. As it turned out, it wasn’t very busy that day. Richard and his wife were the only people I had to serve at that particular time. I decided I was hungry too, so after I served them their lunch, I fixed myself a plate and joined them. I was having lunch with my friends. When we finished eating, Richard’s wife went to go get her “take-home” dessert.
Richard looked at me and then put his hand in mine. We just sat in silence holding hands. It was his way of thanking me. Or was it Jesus thanking me? His wife returned and I gave her a big hug telling her, “I’ll see you when I come back next time.” Richard looked at me like “Where’s my hug?” I hugged him and told him, “See you later.” I turned my back and wanted to cry because I knew I was leaving this incredible place of charity and love.