Alexian Brothers moving from institutions to outreach

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Alexian Brother Tom Klein loads a van with 50 boxes of food for home deliveries at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels on July 13, 2021. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

The Alexian Brothers and Mission of Our Lady of the Angels have formed a partnership to support the mission’s home-delivery service for its food pantry. It is part of a new effort the Alexian Brothers are making to do more outreach in the community.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, two Alexian Brothers load up one of their vans with food and deliver it to homebound and elderly families in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood. During the pandemic, this service was provided by members of the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

The Alexian Brothers were well-known in the Archdiocese of Chicago for their health care institutions, but the community has a new focus.

“Since last year we have started looking at new ministries of our own,” said Brother Tom Klein, director of ministry development for the Immaculate Conception Province. “Looking at non-institutional and more hands-on ministries that will allow us to use the brothers’ values of compassion, dignity of a person, care of the poor, holism and partnership.”

The brothers are looking for established ministries where they can partner with outreach groups and other religious congregations in particular, like the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels.

“I believe that when you get more partners involved you can do much greater things because you have more people,” Klein said.

It is a formal effort called St. Alexius Outreach Ministries of Illinois, and is an extension of St. Alexius Outreach Ministries, an Alexian Brothers ministry that serves isolated older adults in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Mission of Our Lady of the Angels is grateful for the help.

“The police were helping at the beginning of the pandemic, which was incredibly generous and helpful, but wasn’t sustainable,” said Franciscan of the Eucharist of Chicago Sister Stephanie Baliga.

“So we were looking around and didn’t know what we were going to do. And then Brother Tom was like, ‘We have this van.’ It’s been such a great gift. We wouldn’t have been able to continue the delivery program to the state that we are if they didn’t step up to help.”


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