Br. Raul Diaz knows hunger. He grew up in rural El Salvador with five siblings. One of the highlights of his childhood was going to town with his mother to buy rice and corn. Hopefully, the supply would last until their next trip. These outings also provided him an opportunity to read the newspaper. He loved to read but access to material was sparse.
Then, Raul came to the Unites States with his aunt where he worked in the fields of southern Oregon. With a strong desire to speak English, he joined the youth group at St. Patrick to con
verse with native English speakers. It was there that he began to contemplate the life of a missionary and followed his calling. He joined the Franciscans in 2001.
In 2017, the Province sent him to the Casa Franciscana Mission. In the Franciscan Way, he rolled up his sleeves, latched his sandals and went to work as the director of the Mission’s social services. One of his roles is to accompany our nurse on her visits to the homebound. They take food boxes, medicine, and other provisions for the sick. Poverty was not new to Raul but some of the sites he found were. With tears in his eyes, he talks about walking into a shack and finding a bedridden man with what he described as two rotting feet.
Raul talked with him and prayed with him. Like Christ on Holy Thursday, he washed his feet. Every week the good friar came back with food, prayer and love. One day when Raul arrived, the man was not in bed; he was standing! He is a testimony of prayer and the power of having someone who cares.
Our friars do not make these journeys into the homes of the poor alone. Through our food box program, you go with them and show that you care. This Easter season please consider providing a food box – a representation of the food at the Last Supper and you washing the feet of your brother.