Franciscan Family Apostolate
Below is a recent update from Joe and Patricia Makley, OFS from Holy Family Fraternity in Norway, ME.
Franciscan Family Apostolate Visit, February 2016:
Patricia and I returned in February from the most amazing journey, to visit the sponsored families and staff of the Franciscan Family Apostolate. Many Seculars will be aware that this charity, founded by Alan Ouimet, has been changing lives in Southern India for decades. Our fraternity (Holy Family of Norway, ME) has sponsored FFA families for over twenty years, always communicating by letter, and more recently via email with Sister Daphne Anto, who managed the operation in India. I had often dreamed of going there myself, but did not expect to make it, until this year, when our daughter decided to live in Thailand for a while, which put us in striking distance. In a six-day trip to Alleppey, we were able to catch up with our two current families and three of the older families sponsored in the past. We also got a whirlwind tour of all FFA operations, saw a little bit of modern and tourist Kerala, and enjoyed the incredible hospitality of Bishop Stephen and everyone at Bishops House. The most powerful gift from this experience was a profound affirmation for our involvement with FFA.
We had always felt a connection with the families, but getting the chance to actually visit in their houses, ask questions, and see how they live brings home the fact that they have essentially changed lanes in life. Their trajectories are qualitatively altered by sponsorship. You can see it in their faces and bearing. It’s not just relief; it’s optimism. We have some pictures that capture that a little, and we are happy to share this story! This picture is our fraternity’s current sponsored family, that of Thomas Vincent Mavunkal, a literate, prayerful man who thanks God every day for our involvement. All we do is put a second basket out at the meetings, (with the family’s picture inside) and send the proceeds quarterly to FFA in Connecticut. It’s a small effort, but cumulatively a huge impact!
Thanks so much to Alan and Sister Daphne for facilitating this journey of connection with the Franciscan Family Apostolate.