Four Americans gave up their careers as teacher, soldier, punk-rock-singer, and rapper to become Franciscan friars in the toughest district of Ireland's toughest city. They're now celebrities.
Courtesy of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.
In 2007, Father Sylvester and a small group of American friars from the Bronx, N.Y., did just that when they arrived in Limerick, Ireland. They left behind their former lives as a teacher, a soldier, a punk-rock singer, and a rapper to transform lives through prayer.
The urban district they live in, Moyross – a sea of burned-down and boarded-up houses – is always in the news for the wrong reasons: drugs, shootings, and stabbings. But the friars are working to change that. They have made a makeshift friary out of three abandoned houses in an attempt to bring spiritual renewal at the same level as a government-funded, multimillion-dollar regeneration program.