Former Staff & Volunteers



Brother Doug Collins, OFM
Emergency Aid Director


Bro. Doug a member of the Sacred Heart Province, hails from Cleveland, Ohio, but had lived in St. Louis for several years before entering the Order.

During his final year of formation, Bro. Doug worked here at the Franciscan Connection, helping Bro. Donald with the home repairs ministry. Before rejoining FC, he lived at Cross in the Woods Shrine in northern Michigan where he assisted with the local food pantry and other outreach ministries to the poor.

After five years of service to low-income families here in south city, Bro. Doug moves to Sherman, IL to begin a new ministry as a caretaker for our retired friars at Our Lady of Angels Friary and Villa West Nursing Home. Thank you for your compassionate service to families needing utility assistance, school supplies, bus passes, shoe vouchers, and other emergency aid.




Brother Donald Lachowicz, OFM
Home Maintenance Coordinator


Bro. Donald hails from the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhhood on the south side of Chicago.  Though his background was originally in elementary education, he finds his new niche of doing home repairs a "teaching experience" for all our volunteers and family members.  Bro. Donald enjoys live theatre and performs annually in the Little Flower Parish Theatre Group. After this program, he will move to Vietnam and become an English teacher for their Franciscan Seminary.

Elizabeth Chan

Volunteer Services Coordinator


Elizabeth is from Arlington, Texas and graduated from Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO) with an Honors B.A. in Urban Affairs and minor in Political Science. As a member of the Gateway Vincentian Volunteers, she split time doing home repairs and coordinating volunteer projects. After this program, she will serve in China as a Secondary Education English Teacher for the Peace Corps.


Steven Falk

Home Maintenance Assistant


Steven is from northeast Kansas and graduated from Pittsburgh State University (Pittsburgh, KS) with a degree in Wood Technology. Steven is also a Gateway Vincentian Volunteer. He will conducted client assessments and assisted in home repairs. After this program, Steven plans to marry his fiancee and move to Kansas City.

Brother Charlie Reed, OFM
Expanded Ministries


Bro. Charlie comes from Chicago with wide array of experiences.  As a member of Expanded Ministries, Bro. Charlie worked to actively involve members of the Franciscan family in our home repair ministry.  Additionally, he helped in the development and implementation of the Stone by Stone's project goals and objectives.



Justin Genovese

Home Maintenance Assistant & Clerical Aid


Justin graduated from St. Edward's University (Austin, TX) with a BA in theology with a minor in English writing & rhetoric. During college, Justin co-hosted an internet talk show and performed as a stand-up comedian. He grew up in New Orleans where he attended Jesuit High. As a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Justin split roles as a maintenance assistant in the field and clerical aid in the FC, office writing grant proposals and updating the website.



Michael Laucello

Home Maintenance Assistant & Clerical Aid


Michael hails from Clinton, NY. He graduated from Niagara University (a Vincentian school) with a degree in psychology. Over the years, he has been involved in a variety of volunteer activities, including Habitat for Humanity where he apprecieated the tangible results of his labors. As a member of the Gateway Vincentian Volunteers, Mike put his carpentry skills to use at our various home projects. He also aided in fundraising efforts in the office such as grant writing and bulk mailing




Brother Leo Guerts, OFM
Executive Director

Bro. Leo began working at the Franciscan Connection in 1992.  His years of experience in business management and accounting have been a invaluable in tracking our emergency financial aid program.   His training in pastoral studies makes him a "good listener" for clients who come in often distraught and in a panic about their situation.  Bro. Leo was raised on the farms of northern Minnesota, and he still loves collecting tractors.



Bro. Benignus Scarry, OFM Cap

Senior Services Advocate


Bro. Benignus is a Capuchin friar from the Mid-America Province. Born in Pennsylvania, he was originally trained as a tailor. Having always enjoyed working with his hands, he quickly got involved in maintenance of the friaries and schools where he was stationed. For the past 15 years, Bro. "B" has been a construction manager for Habitat for Humanity in Lawrence, KS and then for the Family Center here in East St. Louis. As the Senior Services Advocate, Bro. Benignus helped to tackle the long waiting list of repair projects for the widowed, home- bound or frail elderly of our neighborhood.

Karen Schumacher

Home Maintenance Assistant


Karen hails from Cody, WY and graduated from the College of Mount St. Joseph.  As a member of the Gateway Vincentian Volunteers, she jumped right in with building porches, unclogging sewer lines, running electrical circuits, and patching roofs. Her background in Interior Desigh came in handy on some of our home renovation projects.

At the same time, Karen helped the FC office with everything from updating our resource directory to drafting grant proposals.




Stephen McGinnis

Home Maintenance Assistant & Clerical Aid


Stephen is a native to St. Louis, having grown up in the Florissant area.  He earned a Master's degree in Religious Education from

St. Louis University.  Years ago, he did a brief internship at the Franciscan Connection. 

He came back for another stint to do a bit of vocational discernment.  While with us,  Stephen helped both out in the field doing home repairs as well as in the office helping with service reports, notes to donors, and data entry.





Michael St. Cin

Home Maintenance Assistant

Autumn 2006

St. Louis native, Michael St. Cin attended Vianney High School and Christian Brothers University in Memphis.

Before launching his own career in the field of marketing, Michael wanted to offer a few months of his time to give back to the community and develop his own relationship with God. He joined the Franciscan Volunteer Program and served as our Home Maintenance Assistant, August through November.

Best wishes on the road ahead.

Thanks for all your help on office projects and 29+ houses!

Brother Thinh Van Tran, OFM

Summer 2006

Bro. Thinh just came from Vietnam a few years ago.  He is in formation for the Franciscan Friars of the Sacred Heart Province, studying theology.

During his summer break, Bro. Thinh came to St. Louis to help us with a variety of home repairs.  He also became very involved in the local Vietnamese community and helped us translate our project flyer into Vietnamese.





Annie McCance


Annie came to us from Cuba, IL (near Peoria).  She was a member of the Gateway Vincentian Volunteers

Her background in computer graphic design and digital production was a terrific asset to our ministry here at the Franciscan Connection.  In addition to creating much of this website, Annie developed flyers, thank you cards, and photo pages which we sent out to volunteer crews who have helped us tackle repair projects this year.

Annie is living in St. Louis and doing freelance computer & graphic design.



Eric van Maarth


Eric hails from the Denver, Colorado area.  After graduating from college, he served in the soup kitchen for the Capuchin Volunteer Program up in Detroit, MI.

While discerning a possible vocation in religious life, Eric spend a couple days each week working as a receptionist and field worker.

He has since returned home and continues his pursuit of God's call in his life.


Beth Lask


A native of Quincy, IL and graduate of Quincy University, Beth has known the Franciscan friars for a long time.  She was very excited to join the Franciscan Volunteer Program, serving one year as a teacher up in northern Wisconsin and a second year as our Home Maintenance Assistant.  Among her many accomplishments that year was creating a first-ever resource directory for St. Louis area agencies doing home repairs.  Beth is now teaching mathematics at the DeLasalle Blackfeet Indian School in Browning, Montana.


Brian Dever


Another Quincy University graduate, Brian also served as a member of the Franciscan Volunteer Program for two years.  During his year at the Franciscan Connection, he used his degree in Business Administration to help Bro. Donald set up spread sheets and databases for the Stone-by-Stone Project.  Brian is back at home in Casper, Wyoming and exploring career and vocation opportunities.





Kelly Loney


Our very first Franciscan Volunteer, Kelly helped the friars become a longtime host ministry site for interns and volunteers.  A 2001 alumna of Quincy University, Kelly paved the way for future Home Maintenance Assistants.  She utilized her degree in communications to help us create our premier issues of the Franciscan Connection newsletter.  An Iowa native, Kelly has since moved on to Tucson, AZ where she works in the human resources department for a major technology company.  She still organizes volunteers and does service projects at work.






to all who have helped make the

Franciscan Connection

the great ministry it has become!




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