June 27, 2014

The Mayor of Kensington

I was up early yesterday and I had divine inspiration to see if there was a Krispy Kreme near by!  I looked it up and found one about 8 miles from St. Francis Inn so I decided to head out and get some donuts for the group.  When I walked outside I saw a man named Arthur washing the red mini-van of Bro. Xavier de la Huerta, OFM, one of the friars here at St. Francis Inn.  I wasn't surprised.  Bro. Xavier, who came here in 1981, is the most beloved person here and the guests worship him.  Our students absolutely adore him and squeal when they talk about him!  "He is so cute" they say over and over.  Bro. Xavier is 78 and has such a gentle and kind disposition.  His warm demeanor is evident right away and you can't help but think you are in the presence of a living saint.

Bro. Xavier grew up in Texas so he speaks Spanish which helps him interact with the Latino guests and he is best known for giving tokens to people for the subway.  Many people need the tokens for court appearances, doctors appointments, etc. he gives out about 20 a day.  He also uses his mini-van to drive people to the hospital, shopping, anything they need really.

Bro. Xavier is the epitome of humility.  He dresses very simply and I think he gets his clothes from the thrift shop the inn runs.  No one would blame you if you confused him as one of the guests of the inn.  I think I heard Fr. Michael Duffy, OFM say that Bro. Xavier used to live in the shelter the inn used to run before they bought the row houses on the street for the friars and volunteers.  His work is not glamorous and the people he helps are not the rich and the powerful, in fact they are the outcasts.  But Bro. Xavier quietly and humbly helps them all and day after day goes about his simple yet profound work in this corner of the Lord's vineyard.  I have no doubt he is going straight to heaven when he dies.

One of our students is leaving this morning.  Last night one of the Franciscan Volunteers came over to say goodbye to him and he gave her his remaining $38 and asked her to give it to Bro. Xavier to use for his token fund.

Yep.  I love my job.


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