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Keeping Faith

You can’t take care of the whole world,” Evelyn Moylansaid, but she decided to do what she could for one group of homeless people she saw every day as she walked to work at New York’s Columbia University.

Moylan, 70, started Clam Dip, “Criteria Living and Met, Developing Intertest in the Poor.” She collected donations from co-workers and used the money to cook a hot meal for the group once a week, earning the nickname “Pasta Mama.”

After two years, the group vanished when police cracked down on the homeless, said Moylan, a member of Notre Dame parish in New York. But one day last fall, a man walked up to her and said, “I remember you. You used to feed us.”

“That really tore me apart,”said Moylan, who in the year interim had been sending money to the St. Francis of Assisi Parish bread line. She tol her co-workers the group had been found again, and revived Clam Dip.

Helping people out of unemployment takes more thatn just a “quick fix,” said Medical Mission Sr. Joan Foley. The Connection Job Development/Placement Program that foley began in 1991 in New Port Richey, Fla., offers job seekers career counseling, training, job seeking skills and professional clothing.

“I find it very fulfilling to be able to zero in on individual gifts and skills so that the person can use them in a way to become self-reliant,” said Foley, 68. “When you help someone find a job, it’s a real high. It makes a huge difference in their lives.”

Unable to join a religious order in her youth because of health problems, Merla Ricafranca is dedicated to helping missionaries, seminarians and the poor around the world.

A native of the Phillipines, Ricafranca, 60, began the Dover, N.J.-based Mary Queen ofAll Nations Missionary Alliance on 1984. It serves about 40 countries, donating religous articles, educational supplies -- “anything that is needed” -- to church-sponsored schools, clinics and development projects.

Ricafranca pays forthe alliance’s operating expenses herself. She works full-time as a bacteriologist at a local hospital and cares for her elderly parents. “I feel laike I’m working 24 hours a day,” she said. “But God provides me with the strenth and energy to do what I need to do.”

Send suggestions for Keeping Faith to Teresa Malcolm at NCR. Her e-mail address is tmalcolm@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, March 3, 2000