By S. Geraldine Ching

The Setting:

Hoboken, New Jersey:  Birthplace of Frank Sinatra, current location of Carlos’ Bakery owned by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro. A mile-square town that at one time held a population of 60,000 people.bFor the most part, the streets are narrow, and yes, parking is allowed on both sides. At one time, there were five parishes with five Catholic schools. We, the Sisters of St. Francis staffed three of the five schools. The Franciscan presence was prevalent. Franciscan conventual friars and the capuchins co-ministered the parishes/schools with us. The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor operated St. Mary’s Hospital, also in Hoboken. In 1975, our sisters celebrated 100 years of service to the people of Hoboken.

The People:

The town was built on an immigrant population, mainly Dutch, German, Italian, Irish, Slovak, Black, Puerto Rican and other Spanish groups. These were all hard-working people who wanted the best for their children and families. Everyone shared what they had with others. The people were particularly generous to our Sisters. Our Sisters extended themselves, too. One never knew how many guests were coming to dinner!

The Moments:

Walking up to Washington Street was a treat! The Street was wide enough for several lanes of cars. There were lots of stores, eateries, etc. So often, we found great bargains there. While walking up to The Avenue (Washington Street), we would meet so many needy people. Inevitably, the cash we were planning on spending was depleted! Someone needed the money more than we did, so we shared it with them.

So now, we were in window-shopping mode. That would be fun, too!

As I greet all the people on The Avenue, I bump into Sister Theresa from St. Mary’s Hospital. And what does she do? She presses a $20.00 bill into my hand and says, “this is for the poor.”  It was the exact amount I had just given to a needy family! Those are the God Moments!  This happens repeatedly!


During this Lent, let us remember that God is never outdone in her generosity!