Director’s Message Fall 2013

Dear Friends,

At St. Francis House we never give up on anyone – ever – because we know from years of experience that, until a person draws their last breath, there is always the possibility for growth and change.

I think about that each time I get into an elevator here, because often I’ll ride up with guests or residents whose lives have changed dramatically since they first came here for help.

One man who paints in our art studio would only use the bottom half inch of a piece of paper a few years ago. Over time – with encouragement – he began to draw on half of the page, and eventually he filled the entire sheet with vibrant colors. Today, he sells his paintings at art shows across Greater Boston.

Another man struggled with addiction for years. Today, he lives in our Next Step Program, and he constantly looks for ways to help guests who are struggling, because he wants to be “the light for others who are still trapped in the darkness.”

Homelessness is so traumatic for people that many wear a mask of sorts to reduce the pain when strangers look past or through them. Sometimes that mask can take the form of rudeness or indifference, an “I’ll-reject-you-before-you-can-reject-me” attitude.

At St. Francis House, we know that love and acceptance can loosen someone’s mask, no matter how long a person has worn it.

Years ago, we had a guest who referred to herself as Janet From Another Planet. Janet used to swear at the staff and make insulting comments, trying to push away all acts of kindness. That brash demeanor continued for years. But over time, Janet started to trust the staff, and eventually her mask came off. We helped her find permanent housing, and she reconnected with her estranged daughter and grandkids. Janet died just a few years after that. But she died as someone’s beloved Nana, not as an embarrassment to her family or an unfortunate statistic.

You make all of our success stories possible with your unwavering support. Thank you for understanding that, given enough time, love can work miracles.


Karen LaFrazia
Executive Director