‘Master, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink?  And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’  Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth:  Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:37-40

 

Eight hundred years ago, Francis Bernadone and a small group of rag tag brothers of penPoverelloance wandered the Umbrian Valley north of Rome.  At first, the local population looked scornfully at these young men from Assisi who gave up wealth and prestigious careers to follow Francis.  Over time, scorn turned into respect as the small group tended to the needs of those people, including lepers that society had turned its back on.  Humbly and joyfully, the brothers led lives of solidarity with the poor.  When villagers saw Francis and his brothers walking toward them, they would say, “Here comes ‘Il Poverello,’ the little poor man.” Poverello House in Tucson, Arizona stands proudly in that Franciscan tradition of helping those in need who struggle to maintain their dignity on the fringe of society.  On October 29, 2008, Poverello House opened its doors and invited homeless men to come in off the street for a day to sit down, decompress, get cleaned up and have a healthy meal in a homelike environment where all men are treated equally with the God-given dignity eacPoverelloh was born with.  Each guest is welcomed one day a week, and many call it their favorite day of the week. The Poverello House is open five days each week, Wednesday through Sunday from 8 AM to 4 PM.  Breakfast is served from 8 AM to 10 AM, and lunch is served at noon.  Guests are encouraged to shower and do laundry from 8 AM until 2:30 PM.  Throughout the eight-hour day, guests can relax and socialize in a house they can all their own.  

Poverello HouseBrother David Buer, OFM Brother David Buer is the founder and director of Poverello House.  He is a Franciscan Brother who has worked with homeless men and women for three decades.  In addition to his work at the Poverello House, he works Tucson’s nightly “Soup Patrol” in the winter months and runs the Cooling Centers during the hottest months in the Sonoran Desert where street folks can receive a brown bag lunches, cold drinks and a much needed place to rest in the comfort of air conditioning.

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