Mission and Parish Movement

The Franciscans of the Province of St. Barbara have lived a life in motion. When communities in the Northwest needed parish priests in the early 20th century the friars moved northward to staff parishes, to start schools and seminaries, and to build housing. The friars lived in communities and sought to fulfill needs in different local and multicultural contexts. In San Francisco Fr. Alfred Boedekker was the pastor at St. Boniface Parish in 1949. He saw hungry people in the streets of San Francisco looking for work. Instead of using a breadline to provide meals for the hungry, Fr. Alfred created a dining room where meals could be shared. St. Anthony’s Dining Room began serving hundreds of meals each day. The food was either donated by local merchants or farmed from donated plots of land. Today, in a recently remodeled facility, more than two thousand meals are served daily. Often the time comes, as one friar explained, paraphrasing St. Francis, “we've done what it was ours to do.” After responding to community needs, the friars encourage the community to continue to live out the Franciscan life as the friars move on to meet needs elsewhere.

Br. Peter Haberlin

Brother Peter was the last friar to receive the gray habit and recall first hand stories of the friaries during the Spanish and Mexican Periods. Brown habits were standardized by the Pope in the 1890s, and the gray habits have since been associated with the Spanish Padres on the West Coast. “When I first entered the Order I was a mechanic about the place. I did the blacksmithing required around the mission buildings and on the grounds, and helped others who might need my help; but as I grew along in years and could not stand the strain, I learned to cook and bake, and such has been my task ever since. I did it the best I could; and as I did it I always tried to feel that in it I was doing the work of God.” Br. Peter died in 1934 after 63 years in the Order.

Click on the links below to view more activities the friars have been performing over the last 100 years.