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Challenge to End Hunger—Sr. Ann Providence Frassinello, OP
“I have had many experiences of feeding the hungry throughout my Dominican life,” shares Sr. Ann Providence Frassinello, OP. Near and far, Sister Ann Providence has forged many relationships and connected many people in her quest to help those in need. Early in the 1970s, after Vatican II, she recalls hearing inspiring stories and about ways to respond to those most in need. It was at that time she attended the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim and learned about a group called, Los Ninos. Sr. Ann Providence was struck by their story. “A wonderful man named Paul Weiss had been to Tijuana, where he encountered families and children literally living in the dumps outside the city, with hardly anything to eat. Paul realized he must do something. He started a group called Los Ninos. To raise funds, he devised a walk from Santa Barbara to the border of Tijuana – 250 miles. Paul asked each walker to raise $250 to feed the hungry children and their families. There would be about 250 people doing this walk over a course of 10 days—25 miles each day! Paul Weiss’ young son, Chris, was a 7th Grade boy at that time. While I was standing before the Los Ninos Exhibit, in awe of the beautiful faces of the Mexican children, Chris came up to me and said, ‘Sister, will you walk with us?’ Of course, I said, yes!” Thus, forged a partnership in ministry that also then connected our Dominican Sisters to sisters serving at Casa de Los Pobres in Tijuana—serving meals to the poorest or the poor. This service connection led Sr. Gene McNally, OP to Colonia Esperanza where she just retired from decades of service. Dominican University Director of Campus Ministry Sr. Mary Soher, OP continues the trips with university students to serve meals at Casa de Los Pobres (pre-COVID and hopefully again soon).
Sr. Ann Providence served at Casa de Los Pobres during the summer for a number of years, and then another whole chapter of feeding the poor opened up for her when she learned about the Ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Christian Doctrine in Ciudad Juarez. “They offer a daycare for children —infants up to 5 years old. It is also a great ministry of feeding babies and young children and caring for the children while their parents are working to earn a living.
Living and teaching in San Francisco, Sister Ann Providence became aware of the work of the Missionaries of Charity—Mother Teresa’s Sisters. “It is an experience for which I am so very grateful! I actually had the blessing of being with Mother Teresa of Calcutta – on two occasions. I also had the experience of hearing an inspiring presentation from Malcolm Muggeridge, author of a wonderful book about Mother Teresa called Something Beautiful for God.”
More recently (and pre-COVID), Sister Ann Providence has involved Confirmation candidates from Mission Dolores Academy where she serves as Director of Religious Education, with her ministry work with the Missionaries of charity—in feeding the poorest of the poor right in San Francisco. She describes, “the Confirmation Candidates and I would travel by MUNI, and then walk to a place right across from San Francisco General Hospital. Mother Teresa’s Sisters go there almost every day. We meet up with the Sisters under the bridge and wonderful folks from St. Ignatius Parish come with food set up a lavish buffet of good food for nearly 100 hungry and homeless people who live there. Our Confirmation Candidates are the ones serving the food right alongside the Missionaries of Charity. This is a great experience for our students and most certainly for the homeless and hungry.”
Sister Ann Providence can attest to the need for ministry in feeding the hungry both near and far and serves as a wonderful example of how partnerships raise awareness and increase the impact of her efforts by getting others involved. Her compassion is contagious—and hopefully inspires others to look around in your own community and find a way to help those less fortunate.
Sr. Ann Providence Frassinello’s story is part of our 2021 Catholic Sisters Week series, a time during which we are participating in a Challenge to End Hunger in collaboration with other congregations. We aim to inspire our friends and neighbors to lend their support in any way they can to help end hunger, not just during Catholic Sisters Week, but throughout the year.
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