Karen, a middle aged single mother of four children, who after raising up not only her immediate family but as well financially supporting both her mother and her siblings who shared the same small house, depended weekly upon the food shelf mission of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace to make ends meet. Though only in her early 50s, life's struggle caused Karen to develop severe spinal disability; she was recently placed in a local nursing home. After so many sacrifices in her life she feels abandoned and lonely; she often cries herself to sleep. Having developed a friendship with Karen over the years, the Brothers continue to visit her as often as we can, bringing her treats, prayers and love; we have become in many ways an extension of her family.
Birhanu, a victim of torture at the hands of the corrupt regime of his native Ethiopia, East Africa, was forced to leave his wife and family, to flee for his life to the freedoms of the United States in a desperate attempt to obtain asylum and eventually send for and be reunited with his family. With nothing but what he could carry and a profound determination and a boundless hope in God's provision, Birhanu wound up at our doorstep seeking a place of refuge and safety to heal from his recent trauma and make a new start in his life though in his mid 60s. He was a teacher in his native Ethiopia, but after obtaining his work permit, Birhanu would find employment in up to three menial jobs at a time, sending monies back home to his family and stowing savings in a bank, all with the eventual hope of becoming reunited with his wife and five children. In late 2015 his dream became a reality, when after over four years of separation, joined by the Brothers and other close friends, he was able to embrace his wife and children at the Minneapolis / St. Paul Airport. Quoting Brihanu's appreciation for the care he received, "the support I received at the friary form the Brothers will help me for the rest of my life." By working closely since 1995 with the metro based Center For Victims of Torture, the Franciscan Brothers of Peace are able to provide for the tangible housing, transportation, clothing, nutritional, communication etc. needs of Birhanu and the 50 plus other international victim of torture residents who continue to come to our door as wounded but driven to succeed and have graduated to become vital, contributing members of society.
These are but two examples of the contributions that the Franciscan Brothers of Peace strive to provide daily in following in the footsteps of our founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. Founded in 1982 by Brother Michael Gaworski as the first community of religious brothers established within the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, our ministries have evolved over the years as the Holy Spirit has directed us through the needs of society. First and foremost in our lives as religious is lifting up to God in daily Masses and prayer the needs of society. More tangibly, in addition to the two missions referenced above, providing foodstuffs and other material support through our food shelf operation and housing international victims of torture, other outreaches of our community include defending the lives of the unborn and the elderly, sick and/or disabled, going onto the streets or to the the homebound to befriend and provide charitable assistance to those living in desperate situations, and hospital chaplaincy to our veteran heroes at the Minneapolis based VA Medical Center. We invite you to view the attached YouTube video highlighting aspects of our life and ministries.
Our life as Franciscan Brothers of Peace and all of our ministries would not be possible, however, without the support of you, our dear friends and benefactors. Following the Franciscan traditions, we and our mission rely totally on divine providence to supply our day to day financial needs. As you read this right now, know that we could not survive and meet the needs of our neighbors without your financial generosity. Know as well, as you consider giving that we, the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, promise to lift up to God in prayer your intentions and the intentions of each of your loved ones.
May God bless you and grant you His peace!