Stone-by-Stone Project

Once there lived a simple man

by the name of Francis of Assisi.

He spent his days feeding the hungry

and cleansing the wounds of lepers.

One day, while praying

in the tiny chapel of

San Damiano,

he heard a voice call to him,

"Francis, go, rebuild my house,

which as you can see

is falling into ruin."




And so Francis did.

Stone by stone,

he began repairing the walls

of this forgotten chapel.

His labors and outpouring love

for the poor attracted

a band of followers.

And together

- stone by stone -

they began rebuilding

the walls of the whole Church,

bringing to life God's love

and care to the world.



Some eight hundred years later, Franciscan Friars of the

Sacred Heart Province

and of the Capuchin Province of Mid-America

are continuing to heed

this call to serve the poor

and marginalized.



Update: Following the 2009-2010 season, the Stone-by-Stone Project will close up shop and its work will be assumed by New City Fellowship's Restore St. Louis Workday Ministry. Click HERE for more information about this great organization, and contact April to get involved

A Bit of Our History ...

January of 2000 brought the Franciscan Connection’s most unique outreach endeavor, the Stone-by-Stone Project.  As a result, staff and volunteers are able to provide emergency repairs in the homes of 50+ low-income families each year. 

Most repairs are small, costing $300 or less and averaging 2-3 days per project.

Here is a quick sample of repairs:

• Replaced rotted porch railings and stairs

• Installed a raised toilet and grab bars

  in a bathroom

• Cleaned out raingutters and secured 


• Unclogged kitchen sinks, toilets, and floor drains
• Fixed broken window panes • Insulated a bare attic

• Painted bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens,

  porches, gables, and windows

• Installed ceiling fans, porch lights, smoke

  alarms, extra receptacles & stairwell lights

• Removed oversized fuses & protected

  exposed wires

• Mounted new tub surrounds & wall panels
• Patched & tiled kitchen floors • Trimmed hedges and dead tree limbs

• Created a bedroom in an unfinished


• Picked up litter from surrounding vacant lots

Wherever possible, the families become directly involved in the repairs themselves.  This may include anything from handing over tools and holding the ladder to hammering nails and painting walls.  This personal involvement empowers families to learn valuable skills that will enable them to maintain their own home more effectively in the future.  Residents know what repairs were needed and how they were completed.  This time spent together also gives the project staff and volunteers an opportunity to talk more informally with our clients, learning about their families, experiences, hopes, and dreams. 



For many residents, especially lonely seniors, this personal interaction and sense of community can be just as meaningful as the actual repairs.  Moreover, getting involved and learning repair techniques engenders an experience of ownership and self-determination among individuals who often feel victimized or helpless.

Each year, the Franciscan Connection involves a host of volunteers. School groups and churches often organize service days with our project staff, while individuals assist in on our weekday repair endeavors. Meanwhile, professionals in various trades (e.g. plumbing, electricity, and carpentry) have served as consultants on our new Contractors’ Committee. Some professionals have “adopted” individual projects that our staff could not do alone, such as rewiring a basement, fixing a furnace, and replacing an entire home’s water supply and drain lines.

This hands-on ministry fits right into our call as Franciscans to go out and “rebuild God's house.”

Not only are we fixing homes, but we are also building our community.




Click Here to Get Involved




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