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Written by Michael Maedoc   
Thursday, 31 December 2009 12:51
dc_st.pats1Ran accross a little gem of an outreach this week.  Similar to the Caretakers of Mary's Garden the group Little Brothers Friends of the Eldery is focused on the spiritual care of the poor.  In fact, they rightly claim that spiritual care is as important as meeting the physical needs of the elderly.  Here's a quote from their motto:

"The motto flowers before bread expresses our core belief that sharing love and respect and bringing beauty into the lives of the elderly is as essential as meeting their physical needs.  We honor all individuals by meeting the basic needs of the human spirit: to serve others, to love and to be loved, to belong, and to enjoy life."


When a guest arrives in our home we first greet them, then offer food.  The emphasis is first on caring for them spiritually and emotionallyThe guest is Christ and we are called to welcome him into our hearts first and foremost.

The beauty of this emphasis is that it places physical care for the poor in the right context.  Rather than emphasize a moral duty to provide certain basic necessities to all persons, we emphasize providing love and welcoming Christ.  Providing for their needs naturally follows.  In this context the duty tranforms into something life giving for everyone involved.  I wrote about this in my Christmas reflection, A Request that Sent Me Begging.

For more info see their web site: http://www.littlebrothers.org/. In an article entitled 'Don’t forget isolated elders over the holidays' Talor Kiland had the following to say about Little Brothers:

Their origins hail from France, when Catholic church friars (or “brothers”)

were concerned about impoverished elders living in sub-standard housing

after the physical devastation of World War II. They organized their outreach

to this isolated population and Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly was born

with the motto “Flowers Before Bread.” The organization expanded to the

United States more than 50 years ago and now has 10 chapters around the

country – in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia,

San Francisco, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Omaha, and Washington,

D.C. Vetted volunteers are matched with elders who are identified by the

community as isolated and at-risk. The “Little Brothers” volunteers pledge

to spend a few hours each month visiting their elder. In addition, the organization

organizes social activities for and delivers meals to elders on major holidays.

Organizations like Little Brothers can make a significant difference in the

emotional -- and physical -- health of an elder and there are just not enough

volunteers for the growing population in need.

(Source: The Examiner)






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