Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Boston University Catholic Center's Witness of Love

One of the projects that I've wanted to see accomplished at the BU Catholic Center is making the first floor of our building even more inviting than it already is. My hope is to give more of a coffee house feel to it. Of course, on a shoestring budget, we can only do what we can. But, some good friends of the Catholic Center all chipped in and raised approximately $7000 to help get us started. Now, anybody who knows me would say that I come up with some great ideas, but the "dreaded details" of my masterful plans always falls on the shoulders of others. Thankfully, the BU Catholic Center has a woman who is all about the details.

Fran is the Office Manager at the Catholic Center. What does "Office Manager" mean? She does the bookkeeping, does the ordering, pays the bills, keeps the student workers on task, and deals with all of our vendors and contractors. That's pretty good for someone who drives over an hour to and from work and who only works a few days a week, right? If that's all she did, she'd be doing a lot. But Fran also does all of our fundraising, writes personal notes to donors, keeps the database up to date, and keeps in touch with alumni. Oh, she also does food shopping every week for the Catholic Center, keeps the coffee and snacks ready for the students, constantly is picking up after everybody, waters a zillion plants, does all of the altar linens, and runs errands whenever something has to be done. Twice a year when we go on retreat, she cooks three meals a day for three days for about 80 people. If there's an event at the Catholic Center and I think about ordering food, Fran says, "We can save money if I do it myself."

Over the past few weeks, Fran took it upon herself to paint the entire first floor of the Catholic Center, so that we could use the money we raised to purchase furniture, carpets, and other things. She's been a woman on a mission. Sure, I've helped, but Fran--not surprisingly--has been a force to be reckoned with. She just never stops. Nobody who knows Fran would be surprised by any of this, but it's been a sight to behold. It reminds of one of those movies where they film a project being done and then play it in super fast speed so that you see a two month project happen in one minute. That's what Fran looked like during the past few weeks. Up and down ladders, moving furniture, cleaning, vacuuming, trim work, the walls, on and on and on. She would no sooner climb down from the ladder after completing a room and she would be vacuuming the carpets, paying bills, and shopping for furniture. 

Today we went shopping for carpets. Upon our return, we took a brief lunch break and then we were lugging the old carpets out, laying down new carpets, and moving furniture. After hours of this, I collapsed in a chair. Fran went upstairs to do bookkeeping. 

Why does Fran do all of this? She loves the students at the BU Catholic Center. She really does. They, of course, love her too. She does all of what she does because she believes in the mission of the Catholic Center. She keeps the place going. She's never the center of attention. In fact, this blog post might be my last one because she may kill me after reading this. Fran will say, "Everybody helped to get the first floor done." But the truth is, Fran got the first floor done. 

St. Paul says that the greatest of the virtues is charity. There are many great things about the BU Catholic Center. One such great thing is the extraordinary example of charity that is lived out daily in our midst by Fran. She never stops pouring herself out in service to everyone else.  If the mission of the BU Catholic Center is to help form young men and women in the Catholic life, one way that is accomplished is through Fran's example. When we see her arriving with her carload of groceries, stocking the snack bar, standing on a ladder in 90 degree heat painting the walls, cooking for 80 students on retreat, and the list goes on, we are seeing love in action. 

For showing us Christ's love in action, we thank you Fran. I thank you.

(She's going to kill me).

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