Reflection on my ministry at the Social Apostolate of Savannah

logo savannahFor seven years (2011-2018) it was my great joy to be the director of the Social Apostolate of Savannah, GA. During my years there, I clearly knew that I stood on the shoulders of the great people, Franciscan Sisters and lay, who came before me. Our focus on the mission to the clients (the homeless and struggling people of the Savannah area) guided us - helping them today, and providing them with what they’d need to move forward in their lives tomorrow. We serve over 4,000 clients each year with a wide variety of services: a thrift store, soup kitchen, showers for the homeless, and a wonderful food pantry. We also provided services aimed at empowering people: a Vital Documents Program, School Uniforms, Employment Support Services that would help clients begin a new job, and a listening, non-judgmental ear.

Senza titoloMatthew’s gospel (Chapter 25:45) inspired us: “Whatsoever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.”  It was a privilege to work with staff and volunteers who believed and lived that conviction! The clients taught me so much about what really matters in life. They were the most grateful people I have ever met! They helped me realize more deeply how blessed I have been in my own life.

In April, 2018 I was elected to the leadership team of my community in the USA. This required me to resign a position I loved and move to Massachusetts. I am at peace, knowing that the new director, Ms. Latacia Avila, who was assistant director for 11 ½ years, is the perfect person to lead this agency, as it observes its 50th anniversary in 2018.  As a missionary, our role is to hand over the mission to lay leaders. For 50 years the Missionary Franciscan Sisters led the Social Apostolate. I know God will continue to accompany Latacia and all the staff and volunteers, and that the Social Apostolate will continue its service to the most needy well into the future.   

Julie Franchi

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