Experience Making a Difference

Experience Making a Difference

Living Mercy at St. Francis House in the Jubilee Year of Mercy

by | Apr 26, 2016

by Jim Tracy
This blog is a presentation given by Ignatian Volunteer Jim Tracy at IVC New England’s Event, “Living Mercy in the Jubilee Year of Mercy”. 

St. Francis House is the largest day shelter in Boston.  How it “lives mercy” includes:

  1. Providing over 600 meals/day; 365 days a year
  2. Providing clothing, medical care, mental health and substance abuse counseling
  3. Providing educational and rehabilitative services, such as counseling to help guests obtain employment and housing; discover and develop their strengths, talents and goals; successfully re-integrate into the community

Words like this you can read on their website.  It is where I got them; I have brochures that relate the same information.  None of them really shows how St. Francis House “Lives Mercy”.  For that you have to

  1. See the staff person help a guest with a bus pass so they can get to the doctor.
  2. See a guest’s thankful expression when they get a new suit of clothes and graduate from Moving Ahead Program with a job.
  3. See a volunteer help a guest get some new warm clothes and boots
  4. See a staff person get a tray of food for a handicapped person
  5. See a Boston Health Care for the Homeless medical professional wash the tired and sore feet of a guest and give him new socks.
  6. See the pride in a guest’s eyes when he finally gets settled in a place of his own
  7. Hear a guest say “Thank you” to a volunteer for taking the time to serve meals or clean up
  8. See the smile on a guest’s face when you remember their name
  9. See the Executive Director sitting with a guest while she listens to his story

These are the moments when Mercy is Lived at St. Francis House.  As a volunteer I have observed or experienced most of these.  There are many other moments at St. Francis House in the life of a volunteer and the staff, some less poignant and more mundane.  But it is these poignant ones that keep me coming back to St. Francis House; these are the moments that increase the meaning in my life.

Jim Tracy is an Ignatian Volunteer who joined IVC when he finished the 19th annotation and celebrated his 65th birthday.  Jim is an accountant by training and works as a part time CFO with Rucci Bardaro Falzone PC.  He is married with three grown children and one grandson with another due in May.  He lives in Newton, Massachusetts and worships at St. Ignatius in Chestnut Hill. Jim’s wife, Mary, is a lawyer by training and has a MTS from STM at Boston College.  She ran the Contemplative Leaders in Action program for the Jesuit Collaborative for 6 years and retired in August 2015.  Now she is doing spiritual direction at BC.