Fr. Al's Children Foundation, Inc. (FACFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. It was established on November 26, 1992 after the demise of Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz, founder of the Sisters of Mary congregation, to assist the charity programs of the Sisters of Mary Boystowns and Girlstowns in the Philippines.
The foundation is a recognized donee institution and certified by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC): Certificate No. : 044-2007
Note: PCNC Certificate entitles the donation received by the Foundation for full/limited deduction from the donor's taxable income.
Vision & Mission
The Foundation envisions itself as the funding arm of the Sisters of Mary in their service to the poorest of the poor Filipino children and a channel wherein concerned people contribute to the upliftment of the lives of the needy and the suffering Filipino people.
The Foundation's mission is to establish and maintain a relief organization by means of accepting donations, contributions, bequests and gifts of any kind from local donors for children from the poorest of the poor families in the Philippines by providing them with food, clothing, shelter and education through the Sisters of Mary Boystown and Girlstown Schools.
1. To tap many people who could become potential donors to the foundation through solicitation letters and other ways;
2. To support the majority, if not all, of the basic needs of the poor children through the Sisters of Mary charity programs: food, clothing, academic & technical education.
3. To intercede for the rich to help the poor, for the powerful to assist the helpless, and for the poor to help those who are poorer than themselves.
How Can You Help
FACFI is authorized to receive, and accept donations or contributions and gifts of any kind from donors for the benefit of children from the poorest of the poor families in the Philippines through the Sisters of Mary’s Boystowns and Girlstowns.
The poor, also, deserves the best education. Help us in fulfilling this goal, deposit your contributions to:
Account Name: Fr. Al's Children Foundation, Inc.
Account Number: UCPB CA 167-000716-1
PNB SILANG CA 665-830129-0
PNB MAND. CA 210-20400002-1
For PayPal/Credit Card Donation, Click here.
FR. AL’S CHILDREN FOUNDATION, INC.
Call Us or Visit our office at:
The funding arm of the Sisters of Mary in the Philippines
The Sisters of Mary Girlstown Complex
Room 102, Fr. Al’s Museum & Retreat House
Bo. Biga, Silang, Cavite 4118 Philippines
Tel. Nos. 046-865-3097 / 02-529-8321
Boystowns & Girlstowns in the Philippines
The Sisters of Mary Girlstown
Bo. Biga, Silang Cavite
Tel No: (02)529-8321, (046) 865-3097
Fax No: (046) 414-2575
Maximum Capacity: 3,500 high school girls
The Sisters of Mary Boystown
Bo. Adlas, Silang Cavite
Tel No. (02) 529-8318; (046) 865-2546;
Fax No: (046) 865-2830
Maximum Capacity: 2,200 high school boys
The Sisters of Mary Girlstown
J.P. Rizal St., Talisay Cebu City
Tel No. (032) 272-3828
Fax. No. (032) 272-6865
Maximum Capacity: 3,300 high school girls
The Sisters of Mary Boystown
Tel No. (032) 272-8638
Fax No. (032) 272-3686
Maximum Capacity: 2,200 high school boys
In 1964, Fr. Aloysius Schwartz founded the Sisters of Mary in Busan, Korea to serve the poorest of the poor in the spirit of the Gospel.
Adopting the Virgin of the Poor as the group’s patroness, the Sisters of Mary fulfill in their own little way the Virgin of the Poor’s message of relieving the suffering of the poor by establishing child welfare programs like Boystown and Girlstown Schools, setting up medical service to the sick, and providing shelter for the homeless and handicapped.
All charity programs in Korea had been established even before the death of Fr. Al. In Korea the Sisters of Mary take care of the poor from the womb to the tomb.
THE SISTERS OF MARY BOYSTOWN & GIRLSTOWN
THE SISTERS OF MARY BOYSTOWN & GIRLSTOWN
n 1990, Fr. Al was already afflicted with ALS, yet his deep faith and love of the Lord in the poor gave enormous strength to his ailing body. So, he accepted the invitation of His Excellency, Msgr. Jose Maria Hernandez Gonzalez, bishop of the diocese of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico in establishing Boystown and Girlstown.
In 1998, six years after the death of Fr. Al, Sr. Michaela, the successor of Fr. Al, received an invitation from His Eminence Juan Cardinal Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara and governor Alberto Cardenas Jimenez to start a Boystown in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Through their generosity, the sisters started their Boystown program on November 15, 1998 in such place.
Girlstown accommodates more than 4,000 secondary school and high school students and offers training in the follwing: Culinary Arts, Dressmaking and Embroidery, Computer Prgramming.At this time Boystown can accommodate 2,000 young boys for their secondary school program with specialized training in the following: Carpentry, Restaurant Management, Refrigeration, Automechanics, Electronics, Industrial Electricity, Agro Reforestation, Jewelry, Computer Design and Programming, Accounting.
VILLA DE LAS NIÑAS
(GIRLSTOWN CHALCO, MEXICO)
Date Started: October 1991
Capacity: 4,000 girls
There are about 3,800 girls living in Chalco (near Mexico City), and in Guadalajara 2,000 boys.
In 1996 His Excellency Most Reverend Prospero Penados, Archbishop of Guatemala City, and Guatemalan President, Alvaro Arzu, invited the Sisters of Mary to establish similar charity program that they have heard was already existing in Mexico.
In 1997 the sisters opened medical and dental clinics equipped with x-ray machines and laboratory apparatus in order to serve the indigent patients. Consultation, laboratory tests, medications and other needs of the patients are given totally free of charge.
In 1998 the sisters accepted the first group of students for the newly opened Boystown and Girlstown Complex. Two years after, the boys transferred to a new Boystown Complex in Zona 6. To date(2007) both Boystown and Girlstown can accommodate 1,000 young girls and 1,000 young boys.
Girlstown’s secondary school offers gratuitously special training for: Dressmaking, Computer Education Culinary Arts, Handicrafts, and Typing. Another year for High School is being offered for Advanced Dressmaking and Fashion Design, and Culinary Arts.
Boystown’s Secondary School offers gratuitously training in the following skills: Electricity, Welding, Carpentry, Tailoring, Automechanics, Typing, and Computer Education. Another year in High School is being offered for the specialization of the mentioned vocational skills.
VILLA DE LAS NIÑAS
(GIRLSTOWN GUATEMALA, CA)
Date Started: March 1998
Capacity: 1,000 girls
In the year 2000 His Eminence Jose Cardinal Falcao invited the Sisters of Mary to establish a house in his archdiocese in Brasilia, Brazil. In 2001 the Sisters of Mary accepted the land offered for them in the city of Sta. Maria, Distrito Federal, and the groundbreaking ceremony where the future Clinic will rise follwed.
In March 2002 the construction of the 2-storey building was completed, thus the ground floor of the building served as clinic and the second floor was temporarily used as dormitories and classrooms of the newly accepted young girls. The clinic can serve 50-75 patients daily.
On October 7, 2003 the newly built 7-storey Girlstown building was blessed. To date, Girlstown provides primary education from grade 5 to 8 to young girls aged 12-18 years old coming from the poor families. It can accept 1000 young girls for its educational program which offers special training in Culinary Arts, Dressmaking, and Computer Education.
Recently, on July 1, 2004, the sisters opened a Day Care Center where children agend 3-5 years old are being taken care of the sisters while their mothers are at work. The children arrive at the Complex at 8:00 am and are being fetched by their mothers at 5:00 pm.
All benefits given at the Sisters of Mary Boystowns, Girlstowns, Medical Clinics and Hospitals are totally free of charge.
VILLA DAS CRIANCAS
(GIRLSTOWN BRASILIA, BRAZIL)
Date Started: April 2002
Capacity: 1,000 girls
The Sisters maintain Vila das Crianςas in Santa Maria, Brasilia. This is a home for some 800 girls. The sisters, also, have acquired a place in Sāo Paolo where they will soon establish a charity program to help the poor uplift their lives.
IRMÃS DE MARIA – VILLA DAS CRINÇAS
Seven storey Girlstown building with 508 girls today (2007), grade 5 to 7.
The Sisters of Mary School - Boystowns & Girlstowns
The Sisters of Mary starts its operation in the Philippines in 1985 through its founder, the late Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz. The sisters work primarily by establishing Boystowns and Girlstowns that serve as a school and home for deserving students coming from poor families. The sisters take proper care of the indigent youth entrusted to them by giving them free food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental services, and quality high school education.
With complete facilities and highly qualified teachers, each Boystown and Girlstown School aims to achieve excellence in both academic and vocational training. Because these students are living inside the school, additional hours are spent in studying and training. Aside from the required academic subjects in the secondary education, the students are also given additional skills with more than 160 hours of training in each vocational course.
With discipline, good working attitude, and love for virtues instilled in the minds of the students, the Sisters of Mary Schools aim to provide graduates fully equipped with knowledge that will lead them to a better life of an ideal Christian.
Students at the Girlstown Schools are being trained in the following: dressmaking, industrial sewing machine operation, steno-typing and bookkeeping, electronics, advanced dress making and basic computer systems, call center training and culinary arts.
Students at the Boystown Schools are being trained in the following skills: Electricity and Electronics, Machine Shop and Welding, Computer Technology (CADD), Automechanics and Driving, Mechanical Process, Agriculture Technology and Culinary Arts
To qualify for the live-in high school offered by the Sisters of Mary, applicant must:
a. have completed his/her elementary education;
b. belong to the poorest of the poor family;
c. pass the interview and screening conducted by the Sisters
The Sisters of Mary Schools join hands with the industry sectors for the upliftment of our country’s economy by providing honest, dynamic and disciplined workers who would be responsible enough to answer the needed workforce in the different industries.
The Sisters of Mary Congregation
“Let us serve the Lord with joy…”
This passage from the Psalms is the motto of the Sisters of Mary.
The Religious Congregation of the Sisters of Mary was founded in Busan, South Korea in 1964 by the Servant of God, Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz. Their apostolate is to serve the poorest of the poor in the name of Christ, inspired by their patroness, the Virgin of the Poor, who appeared in Banneux, Belgium, saying, “… I come to relieve suffering.”
Strengthened by their love and devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, they serve and relieve the suffering of Jesus in the poor by establishing Boystowns and Girlstowns to care for and educate the orphans, abandoned and very poor children; charity clinics and hospitals for the sick people; and homes for the homeless elderly and disabled men, women and unwed mothers.
The Sisters of Mary can be described as “contemplatives in action.” That is, they strive to unite the vocations of Martha and Mary. Their active life of service for the poor is balanced by three hours of daily prayer and contemplation.
After approximately four years of formation, the sisters profess the religious vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and service to the poor. These vows are being renewed each year at the end of the annual retreat.
Through the invitation of ecclesial and government authorities, the sisters have expanded from Korea to the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil and currently care for tens of thousands of needy people in these countries. “The harvest indeed is great but the laborers are few…..” A lot more poor especially the children and the youth are in need of help… physically and spiritually. Many do not know the way to save their souls, many feel hopeless because nobody leads them the way… and few are those who truly love and serve in the name of Christ.
Candidates should be between the ages of 18 and 30; have at least a high school education; be in good health and above all have a sincere desire to serve the poor with the heart, mind and spirit of Christ.
(No dowry or entrance fee is required.)
Foundation of the Brothers of Christ
Its founder, Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz planted the seed. This seed sprouted because of his tremendous love for the poor. Thus, the seed germinated and began to grow.
There are two developments with the Brothers of Christ. First the development of the external organization and second the development of internal spirituality of the Order. The external development is the services rendered to the poorest of the poor and the suffering patients in the name of Christ. It is the development through which service can be done systematically, voluntarily, and with responsibility. The development of the internal spirituality is the one through which the spirituality of the Brothers of Christ is established. It is based on the prayer of Jesus. They are to offer an average of three hours of prayer everyday in imitation of Jesus on the cross.
The Beginning of the Brothers of Christ
On May 10, 1981, Msgr. Schwartz planned to start a practical service to the mentally and physically handicapped homeless men at the Kaengsaengwon which was formerly ran by the Seoul City government and was turnover to the Sisters of Mary in January, 1981. Since all the inmates were male, Msgr. Schwartz thought that men were also needed to give them full-time service, that is: 24 hours a day – bathing, feeding, working with them and teaching them skills and spiritual values. The brothers are more appropriate to give these services rather than the religious sisters. Thus, he decided to look for dedicated young men willing to serve these underprivileged, mentally and physically handicapped homeless men.
On June 1, 1982, instead of being merely volunteer workers, these young men began their religious lives. From then on they serve the homeless men without receiving compensation. Members of the community started to live the life of service and prayers according to the rules established by Msgr. Schwartz. They were engaged in the service to the poor like a Good Samaritan and prayed like St. Paul the Apostle.
The Formation of the Brothers with Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz
Msgr. Schwartz gave classes, sermons, monthly recollection and annual retreats to the Brothers and directed them with the assistance of the Sister of Mary. Sister Cecilia Shim was in charge of the Brothers' daily activities and Sr. Scholastica assisted Msgr. Schwartz in the formation of the novices.
It is also required for the Brothers to spend at least 30 minutes in contemplation and visit the Blessed Sacrament; they have to observe an average of three hours of prayer daily which is the source of grace for them to serve more effectively.
As the number of the Brothers was increasing, Brother Joseph Kim was sent to study in the seminary. On November 1, 1991 he was ordained to the priesthood. Meanwhile the Sisters of Mary assisted the Brothers of Christ in their charity works.
Transition Period with Fr. Joseph Kim
In 1992, the Brothers of Christ had prepared themselves to stand by their own. From then on, they became responsible for the management and operation of the institution, as well as their spiritual formation. Three sisters, however, remained to assist them in the kitchen, medical clinic, and office.
Father Joseph Kim had been actively involved in the Sister of Mary's welfare institutions in Seoul and Busan. He celebrated masses, heard the confessions of the sisters, children and adult inmates, and gave monthly recollection to the sisters. On Saturdays, he offered two masses: one at the Kaengsaengwon and the other at Boystown and Girlstown in Seoul. On Saturday evenings, he went down to Busan and offered two Sunday masses in the morning: one for Busan Boystown and Girlstown and at the Kuhoso Sanatorium. Then he returned to Seoul on Sunday afternoon. He was doing this for 16 years. After the Father Founder's death, Fr. Joseph has to preach the sermons for the sisters' annual retreat and renewal of vows in Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, and Brazil.
As of June 1, 1995, Father Joseph Kim became the superior of the Brothers of Christ. He was also appointed director of the institution of the homeless by the board meeting of the Sisters of Mary Corporation.
In 1994, Brother Ignatius Ku was sent to the Sisters of Mary in Chalco, State of Mexico to learn the Spanish language and after a year, he studied in the Late Vocation Seminary at the Diocese of the Texcoco, Mexico City. On August 10, 2003, he was ordained to priesthood by His Excellency Jose Maria Hernandez Gonzales of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico. He is serving as a chaplain at Boystown and Girlstown in Mexico.
On March 2, 1995, Brother Francisco Chang was sent to study at the Archdiocesan seminary in Seoul City. And on June 20, 2002, he was ordained to priesthood by Bishop Lee Han Taek (Joseph) of the Diocese of Seoul. He served as chaplain for the children of the Pusan Boystown and Girlstown. He hears the confessions of the children, officiates Masses, and gives sermons.
To broaden their knowledge in the welfare services, the Brothers visit other welfare institutions for the homeless people located in the major cities in Korea and some Brothers attended social welfare classes to obtain a social worker license.
The Development of the Brothers of Christ
After three years training of the Brothers directed by Father Haedong Yeo of the Olivetan Benedictine Fathers, the approval of the foundation and constitutions of the Brothers of Christ was granted by Bishop Paul Kim, who was the vicar general and in charge of the religious congregations of the Archdiocese of Seoul, on September 15, 1999, the feast day of our Lady of Sorrows. A thanksgiving Mass was officiated by Bishop Kim himself, in the present of the jubilant Brothers, Sisters and the inmates.
This has encouraged the Brothers of Christ to live their life of prayer and service with more fervor and responsibility. To give a better and more active service to the poor, the Brothers of Christ established a social welfare corporation on November 22, 2000 and the rehabilitation center in Paju, Kyenggido, became operational on November 16, 2001. In the center, the Brothers give physical and spiritual training to the rehabilitated alcoholics and the mentally disturbed to prepare them to be productive and self-reliant when they go back to the society. There are 50 men selected from inmates of the Eunpyongmaul and sent to this Paju Rehabilitation Center. The brothers with the help of social welfare specialists are apply modern methods to rehabilitate those who once have lived on the streets. The training includes group therapy, humanistic education, and social skill and social adjustment training. Five men per month in average from this center return to the society and that number of men from the Eunpyongmaul fill up the vacancy.
As of July 1, 2003, Father Joseph Kim, handed over his directorship of the Eunpyongmaul to Brother Peter Seo, for the purpose of the voluntary and responsible religious life. He is now thoroughly engaged in the training of aspirants and novices.
The future history of the Brother of Christ will be that of expansion. The tree named the Brothers of Christ has not grown enough to be a big tree, which can provide a place for birds to rest and sing, thus the need to spread it’s branches in the Philippines and Mexico.
The Brothers will pursue to attain a full growth in prayer and service following the spirit of the Father-founder. As flowers emit fragrance, the prayer and service of the Brothers of Christ will automatically emit the fragrance of the spirituality. The spirituality of the Brothers is that they don't spare their love and passion but consume them completely. This we can call children's spirituality. It is the spirituality of the moment in which the kingdom of heaven is realized "now" and here". It is the spirituality of the death of the ego, which is to be resurrected in God. It is Christ's history through which the fragrance of the spirituality of the Brothers of Christ is made and spread all over the universe. In this sense, the history of the Brothers of Christ is being recorded vividly not by letters but by their lives.
The history of the Brothers of Christ is rather of spirituality than the history of events. So, those forgotten of unrecorded events have not been deliberately dug up for recording. It is only expected that the authentic character of the history of the Brothers of Christ cannot be described enough by letters but be understood.
Our Homes - KOREA
PAJU REHABILITATION CENTER
Paju Rehabilitation Center becomes operational on November 16, 2001. The brothers give physical and spiritual training to the rehabilitated alcoholics and the mentally disturbed to prepare them to be productive and self-reliant when they go back to the society. Also together with the social welfare specialists they are apply modern methods to rehabilitate those who once have lived on the street. Training includes group therapy, humanistic education, and social skills and social adjustment training. Five men per month in average from this center return to the society and that number of men from Eunpyongmaul fill up the vacancy.
EUNPYONGMAUL (Village of Peace and Grace)
MUKDANG RETREAT HOUSE
Our Homes - PHILIPPINES
GREEN GRASS OF HOME
SHARING CHRIST HOME
Our Homes - MEXICO
LOS HERMANOS de CRISTO (Villa de Gracia AC)
Copyright © 2009 • The Brothers of Christ of Banneux, Inc.
Km. 47 Trece-Indang Road Brgy. Luciano Trece Martirez Ciy, Cavite Philippines
(T): (046)686.35.89, 0919.815.49.47 • Bro. Matthew: 0929.731.09.32
Email: email@example.com • www.brothersofchrist.org.ph
The Servant of God, Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz
Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz was born in Washington D.C. on September 18, 1930. He grew up with the idea of becoming a secular priest, work as a missionary and his apostolate would be to the poor. In 1944, he entered St. Charles Seminary in Maryland, finished his B.A. Degree at Maryknoll College and studied his Theology at Louvain Catholic University in Belgium.
He used to spend his vacation helping at the rag-pickers’ camps for the derelicts of the French society.
Visiting Banneux, where the Virgin of the Poor appeared, he was more inspired to dedicate his priesthood to the service of the poor in fulfillment of her message.
He was ordained as a diocesan priest on June 29, 1957. He founded the Religious Congregation of the Sisters of Mary to serve the poorest of the poor on August 15, 1964 and the Brothers of Christ on May 10, 1981. He established Boystowns and Girlstowns to take care, educate and give a bright future to the orphans, abandoned and children coming from very poor families. He also built hospitals and sanitoriums for very indigent patients; hospices for the homeless, handicapped elderly men, retarded children, and for unwed mothers. He was also involved in the pro-life activities.
In 1985, he started his charity programs in the Philippines. In 1989, he was diagnosed to have a terminal illness - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which he accepted with joy and serenity as a gift from God. In spite of his deteriorating health, he established Boystown and Girlstown in Mexico.
With humility, courage, and unwavering faith, he suffered and accepted a lot of humiliations, criticisms, trials, pains, and difficulties, just to e able to serve and love God through the poor. His illness made him immobile but still even on a wheelchair, he continued to fulfill his duties with joy. He spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary, hearing confessions, and heroically preaching in words and examples the virtues of truth, justice, chastity, charity and humility. His love for God and the poor consumed him. He did not only help the poor but he also lived poorly.
On March 16, 1992, he breathed his last at the Girlstown in Manila and he was buried at the Boystown in Cavite, Philippines.
The Sisters of Mary and the Brothers of Christ, continue to live his charism of serving gratuitously tens of thousands of the poorest of the poor in Korea, Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil.
Father Al's Biographical Timeline
Born September 18, 1930, Washington, D.C. His parents: Louis F. Schwartz and Cedelia A. Bourassa. 1936 - 1944--Holy Name Elementary School in Washington, D.C. 1944 - 1948--St. Charles Minor Seminary in Catonsville, Maryland. 1948 - 1952--Maryknoll College, B.A. Degree, Lakewood, New Jersey and Glen Ellen, Illinois. 1953 - 1957--Theology Degree, Louvain University, Belgium. June 29, 1957--Ordination to the Priesthood in St. Martin's Church, Washington, D.C. Bishop McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington. December 8, 1957--Arrived in Korea; Incardinated in the Diocese of Busan, Korea. January 20, 1958--Afflicted with hepatitis; returned to U.S. for recuperation. 1959 - 1961--Toured U.S. and Europe with Korean Bishop to raise money for the missions. March 1961--Established Korean Relief, Inc., fundraising Operation in Washington, D.C. December 1961-- Returned to Korea to begin again his Missionary Work. June 1962--Appointed Pastor of Song-do Parish in Busan, Korea. 1963 - 1969--Initiated Operation Hanky Self-help Embroidery Program in Busan, Korea which employed 3,000 slum dwellers. August 15, 1964--Founded the Sisters of Mary in Busan, Korea, (Originally called the Mariahwe Sisters, a Religious group now numbering 300 Sisters working in Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil.) August 15, 1964--Started family-unit orphan program in Busan, Korea; accepted first group of orphans. September 1966--Opened first dispensary in slums in Amni-Dong in Busan, Korea. January 1967--Opened two more slum dispensaries in Anam-Dong and Bosudong in Busan, Korea. October, 1967--Resigned as pastor to work full time with Orphan Program. December, 1968--Built Amni-Dong Free Middle School for children in Busan, Korea. July 1969--Took over operation of Kuhoso Sanatorium in Busan, Korea now serving 75 TB patients. October 1969--Built Amnamdong School in Busan, Korea; intended to be a middle school for boys in Busan and became first Boystown Program. April 10, 1970--Accepted 300 vagrant boys and greatly expanded Boystown program. October 25, 1970--Built Sisters of Mary Mercy Hospital in Busan, Korea; 120-bed full-service hospital totally free for the poor. 1972 - 1976--Built Elementary School, Middle School, Technical High School in Busan, Korea. (All future Boystown\Girlstown Programs would include a fully-accredited school program.) January 1, 1975--Inauguration of the Boystown Program in Seoul, Korea. July 1978--Inauguration of the Girlstown Program in Busan, Korea. (The Boystown\Girlstown Programs in Korea at full capacity serves 3,000 orphans.) January 6, 1981--Began program for 400 severely retarded children in Seoul, Korea. January 6, 1981--Took over care of 1,800 destitute and homeless men from the City of Seoul, Korea. May 10, 1981--Founded the Society of the Brothers of Christ Religious Order who care for the homeless men in Seoul, Korea. June 29, 1982--Built second Sisters of Mary Doty Memorial Hospital in Seoul, Korea; 120 bed full-service hospital totally free for the poor. June 29, 1982--25th Anniversary of Fr. Al's Ordination to Priesthood. February 12, 1985--Arrived in Manila at invitation of Jamie Cardinal Sin to begin Boystown\Girlstown Program in Manila, Philippines. 1985 to 1992--Began Medical Program for 2,000 destitute tuberculosis patients in Manila, Philippines; Sisters of Mary operated the Charity Pavilion at Quezon Institute until the facility was closed by the government. August 15, 1986--Inauguration of the Girlstown\Boystown Program in Manila, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,500 children. October, 1989--Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). February 1, 1990--Elevated to Right Reverend Monsignor; Investiture ceremony in Manila, Philippines. August 23, 1990--Inauguration of the Girlstown Program, Talisay in Cebu, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,000 girls. September 12, 1990--Sisters of Mary arrived in Mexico to begin Boystown\Girlstown Program in Chalco, Mexico. October 1, 1990--Father Al Celebrated 60th birthday in Busan, Korea; 1,000 graduates returned for celebration. July 23, 1991--Inauguration of the Boystown Program in Silang, Cavite, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,000 boys. October 7, 1991--Inauguration of the Boystown\Girlstown Program in Chalco, Mexico; at full capacity serves 3,000 youngsters. March 16, 1992--Father Aloysius Schwartz died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), Manila, Philippines, a few hours after naming Sister Michaela Kim of the Sisters of Mary as his successor.
Born September 18, 1930, Washington, D.C. His parents: Louis F. Schwartz and Cedelia A. Bourassa.
1936 - 1944--Holy Name Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
1944 - 1948--St. Charles Minor Seminary in Catonsville, Maryland.
1948 - 1952--Maryknoll College, B.A. Degree, Lakewood, New Jersey and Glen Ellen, Illinois.
1953 - 1957--Theology Degree, Louvain University, Belgium.
June 29, 1957--Ordination to the Priesthood in St. Martin's Church, Washington, D.C. Bishop McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington.
December 8, 1957--Arrived in Korea; Incardinated in the Diocese of Busan, Korea.
January 20, 1958--Afflicted with hepatitis; returned to U.S. for recuperation.
1959 - 1961--Toured U.S. and Europe with Korean Bishop to raise money for the missions.
March 1961--Established Korean Relief, Inc., fundraising Operation in Washington, D.C.
December 1961-- Returned to Korea to begin again his Missionary Work.
June 1962--Appointed Pastor of Song-do Parish in Busan, Korea.
1963 - 1969--Initiated Operation Hanky Self-help Embroidery Program in Busan, Korea which employed 3,000 slum dwellers.
August 15, 1964--Founded the Sisters of Mary in Busan, Korea, (Originally called the Mariahwe Sisters, a Religious group now numbering 300 Sisters working in Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil.)
August 15, 1964--Started family-unit orphan program in Busan, Korea; accepted first group of orphans.
September 1966--Opened first dispensary in slums in Amni-Dong in Busan, Korea.
January 1967--Opened two more slum dispensaries in Anam-Dong and Bosudong in Busan, Korea.
October, 1967--Resigned as pastor to work full time with Orphan Program.
December, 1968--Built Amni-Dong Free Middle School for children in Busan, Korea.
July 1969--Took over operation of Kuhoso Sanatorium in Busan, Korea now serving 75 TB patients.
October 1969--Built Amnamdong School in Busan, Korea; intended to be a middle school for boys in Busan and became first Boystown Program.
April 10, 1970--Accepted 300 vagrant boys and greatly expanded Boystown program.
October 25, 1970--Built Sisters of Mary Mercy Hospital in Busan, Korea; 120-bed full-service hospital totally free for the poor.
1972 - 1976--Built Elementary School, Middle School, Technical High School in Busan, Korea. (All future Boystown\Girlstown Programs would include a fully-accredited school program.)
January 1, 1975--Inauguration of the Boystown Program in Seoul, Korea.
July 1978--Inauguration of the Girlstown Program in Busan, Korea. (The Boystown\Girlstown Programs in Korea at full capacity serves 3,000 orphans.)
January 6, 1981--Began program for 400 severely retarded children in Seoul, Korea.
January 6, 1981--Took over care of 1,800 destitute and homeless men from the City of Seoul, Korea.
May 10, 1981--Founded the Society of the Brothers of Christ Religious Order who care for the homeless men in Seoul, Korea.
June 29, 1982--Built second Sisters of Mary Doty Memorial Hospital in Seoul, Korea; 120 bed full-service hospital totally free for the poor.
June 29, 1982--25th Anniversary of Fr. Al's Ordination to Priesthood.
February 12, 1985--Arrived in Manila at invitation of Jamie Cardinal Sin to begin Boystown\Girlstown Program in Manila, Philippines.
1985 to 1992--Began Medical Program for 2,000 destitute tuberculosis patients in Manila, Philippines; Sisters of Mary operated the Charity Pavilion at Quezon Institute until the facility was closed by the government.
August 15, 1986--Inauguration of the Girlstown\Boystown Program in Manila, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,500 children.
October, 1989--Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).
February 1, 1990--Elevated to Right Reverend Monsignor; Investiture ceremony in Manila, Philippines.
August 23, 1990--Inauguration of the Girlstown Program, Talisay in Cebu, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,000 girls.
September 12, 1990--Sisters of Mary arrived in Mexico to begin Boystown\Girlstown Program in Chalco, Mexico.
October 1, 1990--Father Al Celebrated 60th birthday in Busan, Korea; 1,000 graduates returned for celebration.
July 23, 1991--Inauguration of the Boystown Program in Silang, Cavite, Philippines; at full capacity serves 3,000 boys.
October 7, 1991--Inauguration of the Boystown\Girlstown Program in Chalco, Mexico; at full capacity serves 3,000 youngsters.
March 16, 1992--Father Aloysius Schwartz died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), Manila, Philippines, a few hours after naming Sister Michaela Kim of the Sisters of Mary as his successor.
Father Al's " Poor House"
Father Al recalled:
"While living in the shack I wrote my first book, "The Starved and the Silent," concerning the poor in Korea and the poverty of Christ. Also, I founded the Sisters of Mary and started my apostolate to the poor. This shack-living certainly was not essential to these programs, but I felt it was quite helpful."
"All in all, I consider my years in the poorhouse as one of light and grace. And I look back upon this period of time with gratitude and nostalgia."
Here is Father Al's first hand account of his years in his poorhouse.
You may ask what helped me relate to the poor. As I mentioned previously, I was named pastor of Song-do Parish in Pusan. In the spring of that year, I moved out of the Bishop's house where I was staying to take up my duties as a parish priest.
At first I lived in a small Korean cottage, which was part of the parish plant. After considerable effort and using the good offices of Bishop Choi, I prevailed upon some Korean Benedictine Sisters to come live and work in the parish. Korean Sisters are a great asset to any parish in Korea. They conduct catechetical classes, work with the children, do home visitations, help with the liturgy, and assist the Pastor in many other ways. Their presence heightens the spiritual tone of the parish and very often means the difference between a parish which is alive and dynamic and one which is dying.
I was delighted that three Sisters were coming, but there was one problem. There was no place for them to live. I could have built a convent on a small piece of ground adjacent to the Church, but this would take time. Since the demand for Sisters at that time was very great and the supply was very short, I felt that any delay in establishing the presence of the Sisters in the parish might result in losing them.
At that time there was a Korean squatter family living in a shack which they had built on church property. The shack was a non-descriptive hovel with a tarpaper roof and mud walls, similar to what other people in the parish were living in. I offered this squatter family a sum of money to purchase or rent shelter elsewhere, and prevailed upon them to move out.
My idea was to fix up the shanty in which they were living and use it as a temporary rectory. After the premises were vacated, I went to inspect my future dwelling with my parish assistant, Damiano. The place looked very uninviting and I wasn't sure whether it was livable or not. I turned to Damiano and asked what he thought. His reply was simply, "Sure, Father, with determination you can do it." That simple remark was decisive and I decided, under the circumstances, to give it a try.
When people in the parish got wind of what I was going to do, they reacted with horror. The fact that the shack differed very little from the houses in which many of them were dwelling seemed to make no difference. They uttered dire predictions, which had a somewhat unsettling effect on me.
They predicted that if I didn't die of tuberculosis, I would be eaten alive by the rats and bugs, and if sickness and rodents didn't do me in, then robbers, who would assault the place at night and smash my head, would finish the job.
Frankly, what worried me more than the tuberculosis, rats and armed robbers was the simple fear of making a fool of myself. But the words of my faithful servant, Damiano, "With determination, you can do it" urged me on. Of course, what I might term "determination" another would call "bullheadedness," but that's another matter.
I fixed up the shack as best I could and move in. It worked, but just barely. I encountered a number of difficulties. First was the smell, a rich, earthy, overpowering smell, composed of human excrement, dead animals, garbage, bugs and dirt. At first, the smell was so awful I had trouble sleeping at night.
But I kept shifting my sleeping bag about the house until I eventually found a corner where the air was somewhat breathable. Then I made a determined assault to extricate the cause of the odor. I discovered one or two dead rodents in the walls, and using some chemicals eventually changed the odorous aspect of the parish house. Also, I am sure that unconsciously my sensitive American nose became desensitized with time, and although the smell lingered on, my reaction to it diminished.
The smell from the dead rats was one problem. The noise at night from the live rats which scurried about in the space between the roof and the ceiling was another problem. Rats are real swingers, and every night when I lay down to sleep, they would come alive and start a disco dance just over my head. Before crawling into my bed at night, I would position a broom alongside me.
When the rats got too exuberant, I would hit the ceiling with a broom. This would startle them into immobility for a period of time. I waged constant warfare with the rats and although at times I seemed to be winning, I guess the final result would best be termed a "stand-off."
Another problem was the cold. During winter months cold, icy wind would find its way through many cracks, holes and crevices and at times, heating the place properly became something of a problem. The shack was heated by yonthen coal, as are most homes in Korea.
Yonthen coal briquettes are made of compressed coal dust and clay. They heat the floor from below and this works pretty good except they give off a deadly, odorless carbon monoxide gas which every year claims many lives in Korea. While living in my "poorhouse," on two or three occasions when the floor cracked, or at night when the air was laden and heavy and prevented the smoke from exiting property, the cottage became filled with yonthen fumes.
Several times, I remember stumbling out the front door semi-conscious and reeling as a drunkard leaving a tavern at night. After awhile, I considered the yonthen too dangerous and eventually installed a small diesel-burning space heater. One night I woke up to find my shack on fire as a result of the diesel fuel leaking, but the fire was quickly put out and there was very little damage.
A final problem, which is in a category by itself, was the problem of the outhouse. The outhouse was located about 20 feet from the front door. I grew rather fond of it over the years. It was a little smaller than a telephone booth and consisted of a leaky roof, four walls made out of planks, and, of course, the strategic hole in the middle of a shaky wooden floor. I have a clear recollection of days when a trip to the outhouse required uncommon courage.
It was the rainy season, the wind was blowing, the rain was coming down in sheets, it was cold. An umbrella was useless because of the strong wind, so I would simply fling open the front door, dash 25 feet across the muddy yard, shoot into the outhouse, and position myself. So far, so good.
Then as the rain was leaking on my head and I was wondering whether the planks would resist the wind, I glanced down at the spot where a roll of toilet paper should have been. It was gone. The mysterious "toilet-paper-snatcher" had struck again. This was the final blow.
I could take the rats and the cold and the deadly gas, but this was something else. It happened repeatedly, and the culprit would leave nary a clue. My toilet paper was not such a luxury, but simply something sold on the Korean market for about 10 cents or so. I didn't like the dirty, inky Korean newspaper which most people in Korea used, so I indulged in genuine toilet paper. But someone, I never found out who, always slipped into my outhouse and absconded with it.
Such were the perils of trying to live with the poor life in Korea. But poor style living had its positive elements as well.
One's surroundings definitely conditions one's thinking. By living more or less poor, I discovered it was easier to think poor, to feel poor, and to stay on the same wave length as the poor.
I lived in this parish shack for nearly five years from 1961 to 1965, when I left the parish with the Sisters and the children to move to another location where I set up the headquarters for both the Mariahwe Sisters and our child welfare program.
While living in the shack I wrote my first book, The Starved and the Silent, concerning the poor in Korea and the poverty of Christ. Also, I founded the Sisters of Mary and started my social apostolate to the poor. This shack living certainly was not essential to these programs, but I feel it was quite helpful.
My shack also served as something of a protection. More and more funds were coming into Korean Relief in Washington. Word was getting around that I had control of large sums of money for welfare work. Many people began calling on me with various schemes and projects, all requiring capital. Some of these people were bishops and priests and religious.
Many of the schemes were half-baked, others were outright phony. Anyhow, I discovered that the office, in my shack, was the perfect place to discuss, and more frequently than not, turn down useless requests for relief funds. Many of the people requesting funds lost their initial enthusiasm when they saw my simple living quarters.
Also, my little shack protected my own reputation. At that time there was a great deal of hanky-panky in relief goods and relief funds in Korea. After awhile no one trusted anyone who had at his disposal considerable amounts of relief goods or relief funds in Korea.
Since the funds at my disposal were gaining in importance, I automatically would be subject to suspicion and possible accusation of misuse and skimming for my own benefit. But when people saw my living style, any suspicion automatically dissolved.
Also, many of the Christians in my parish were "kujae pum Christians," or "relief goods Christians." Many of them entered the Church to get free grants of cornmeal, flour, milk powder and used clothing. Many of them still approach the church with a bad "gimmie" complex. So when they discovered that their pastor had control of large relief funds, many of them considered that they had a God-given right to a share.
But because of my lifestyle I was in a strong position to refuse useless requests, and I began a campaign of spiritual brainwashing. If I were living in more luxurious surroundings, it would have been very difficult to do this as effectively.
Of course, shack living has its negative aspects also. As mentioned before, many of the parishioners had their pride hurt. But after awhile they came to accept the fact that their pastor was something of a nut and they laughingly let it go at that. Some of the other priests were not quite so accepting. My lifestyle was a silent reproach to them and they found this difficult to accept. "Why don't you live like everybody else?" was a frequent question they threw at me. "What are you going to prove?" "Why don't you live in a place where you can adequately work and function as a pastor?"
Some priest called my house "the monkey cage." I have no intention of giving a lesson to anybody and I was somewhat embarrassed by these questions. However, I thought the positive aspects outweighed the negative ones, and so I opted to continue. I moved out in 1965.
All in all, I consider my years in the "poorhouse" as one of light and grace. And I look back upon this period of time with gratitude and nostalgia.
Father Al's Journey Toward Sainthood
The Process for the Causes of Beatification and Canonization has been officially opened by the Vatican.
This is the historic first step toward Father Al one day being declared a Saint by the Catholic Church.
You are cordially invited to visit this web site often and follow news of events leading toward his Sainthood.Already prayers are being answered through Father Al's intercession with God. Please go here if you need a miracle in your life.
The word "saint" comes from the Latin word sanctus, which translates to "consecrated" or "holy."
The formal process of sainthood is complicated, and takes time, money, testimonies, and miracles.
The church follows a strict set of rules in the process.
There are three levels of sainthood. First, the candidate is named Venerable, then Blessed, and then finally a Saint.
Venerable is the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the pope as having lived heroic virtues.
To be beatified and recognized as Blessed, one miracle acquired through the candidate's intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue or martyrdom.
Canonization, or sainthood, requires a second miracle after beatification, though a pope may waive these requirements. The process is rigorous and involves a very detailed examination of the person's life and also the effect of that person on others.
First, to determine who qualifies, the Vatican looks to its Congregation for the "Causes of Saints." Typically, a would-be candidate's "cause" is presented to the local bishop by his or her admirers who persuade him that the life of the candidate was a model of holiness.
Once the applicant is approved as a candidate, an appointed postulator interviews those who knew the individual. Personal testimonies, letters, and writings of the candidate's are put together.
A relater then sifts through this information and prepares a position paper. If the volumes of evidence prove a life of "heroic virtue," the person is given the title "venerable" by the Pope.
The next title, beatified (blessed), is attained if it can be proven that a miracle occurred after the death of the candidate, the result of someone praying to that person for help.
To finalize a canonization, it must be established that a second miracle occurred.
Martyrs are the exception. The pope can reduce their miracle requirement to one or waive it altogether.
Verifying a miracle is considered the most difficult hurdle in the process. Just deciding what constitutes one causes debate. A life of heroic virtue is obviously easier to establish than a healing that results from prayers.
Pope Benedict XVI canonized four new saints to the Catholic liturgy:
1. 19th-Century Italian priest Gaetano Errico.
2. Mary Bernard (Verena) Bütler, a Swiss nun and missionary in Latin America who died in 1924.
3. Alfonsa of the Immaculate Conception, a nun who died in 1946, and is the first named female saint from India.
4. Narcisa de Jesús Martillo Morán, a pious laywoman from Ecuador who died in 1869.
In the Catholic faith, only God can make a saint; these four are among those who "have emerged as individuals who can light the way ahead," as the Modern Catholic Encyclopedia puts it. But the means by which these saints are identified - and by whom - has varied over the history of the church.
Even more about Sainthood
The first Catholics revered as saints were martyrs who died under Roman persecution in the first centuries after Jesus Christ was born.
These martyrs were honored as saints almost instantaneously after their deaths, as Catholics who had sacrificed their lives in the name of God. Over the next few centuries, however, sainthood was extended to those who had defended the faith and led pious lives.
With the criteria for canonization not as strict, the number of saints soared by the sixth and seventh centuries. Bishops stepped in to oversee the process, and around 1200, Pope Alexander III, outraged over the proliferation, decreed that only the pope had the power to determine who could be identified as a saint.
Alexander was reportedly angered about one saint in particular whom he believed had been killed in an alcohol-fueled brawl and was therefore not worthy of canonization.
In the 17th century, the Vatican's standards for sainthood were formalized. A non-martyr would need to have performed four posthumous miracles, usually spontaneous healings.
Today, the church requires a team of doctors to verify their veracity and prove that miraculous healings were not the result of modern medicine.
Mother Michaela Kim, Sister Sophia Kim and Sister Juliana Hed carry three boxes of the original Acts (documents) that were prepared about the life of Father Al to hand carry to the Vatican for the Beatification Cause.