On October 23, 2019, we commemorated 35 years of rebuilding lives with hundreds of Boston’s most influential business leaders and philanthropists at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. The St. Francis House All The Way Home gala honored long-time supporters and dear friends, Jim and Sheila Barry.
The evening opened with St. Francis House Board of Directors Chair Tim Egan reflecting on his experience with us over the years, “I can tell you, even through all of the tremendous growth, St. Francis House has never lost its soul.”
All The Way Home co-chair Debra Drapalla welcomed Nathan Barry, son of Sheila and Jim, to lead the invocation for the evening.
Patricia St. James introduced the amazing performance of her song “Serenity Song”. The audience was captivated by the powerful vocals of Renese King which became its own remix complete with a rap written by Ethan Grove about his own path to recovery.
Mayor Martin Walsh shared with the crowd that the performance moved him personally, “When I first got sober, it was the serenity prayer that kept me sober. I said that prayer over and over and over again. I said the serenity prayer every day, five times a day, ten times a day… I say it today when things get difficult.” Reminding us that we’re all humans with our own journey and our own struggles—even the Mayor.
All The Way Home co-chair Michael Sullivan acknowledged the depth of work the Honorees, Jim and Sheila Barry, have done for St. Francis House. Honorees Jim and Sheila were joined by their family on stage and drove home not only how important our collective support is, but how vital. Jim and Sheila taught us that giving isn’t just a responsibility, but an opportunity to “Be the good in the world.”
President and CEO Karen LaFrazia brought the room to the very beginning when our doors opened in 1984, and walked the audience through our history of responding to the complexities of homelessness, and shined a light on our future through introducing us to new St. Francis House initiatives in the works such as housing, recovery, and workforce development.
But most importantly, the evening ended with Patricia’s story of survival; our featured guest for the evening brought us into her world, the pain of addiction, and the heart-wrenching experience of losing her family… until she found St. Francis House, “St. Francis House saved my life… It is because of all of you that I was able to access the resources to be the person I am today, the person I need to be for my family…. the person I want to be.” You can listen to her story here.
Thank you to those in attendance for contributing to the evening’s astounding success. With your support, more than 450 attendees were able to raise just over $860,000 towards St. Francis House programs and services that support guests—like Patricia—and make recovery, stability, and happiness a reality.
Check out photos from the evening: