The founder of the Capuchin Center who put our poorest first is sorely missed


They say it’s great to be needed, but Brother Kevin Crowley, who has been caring for Dublin’s poor for half a century, might disagree.

If the country has engaged with property over the past two decades – either through acquisition or seeking shelter – Br Kevin has focused solely on the homeless.

The Corkman will soon leave the Bow Street sanctuary he founded in Dublin 53 years ago to return to his beloved county.

If, as Robert Frost wrote, “home is where they have to take you when you have to go there,” Br Kevin has made a home for thousands over the years.

The 87-year-old’s big heart will be missed when he retires from the Kapuziner day center.

The 200 people he greeted first thing each day for breakfast, and the other 800 who came later each day for dinner, know they will never have a more gracious or humble host.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, who presented Brother Kevin with the fourth Oireachtas Human Dignity Award at Leinster House last month, remarked: “A look at the history of the Center shows that the Capuchins, led by Brother Kevin, in every decade since 1969 have responded to the emerging problems in Irish society, whether it was caring for people who were released from institutions without social support in the 1970s, or caring for the ‘new poor’ left with the country after the banks collapsed in 2008 were stranded with unpayable debts.”

The honor is a homage to “50 years of heroism”. In fact, Capuchins’ care for Dublin’s poor dates back over 400 years.

Despite this devotion, if any, the generosity of the Capuchins in the capital has never been more needed. “It is our hope and prayer that one day our ministry will not be needed because everyone will have the social and financial resources to live life to the fullest as God intended,” said Br. Kevin.

It took an extraordinary heart to turn back the tides of suffering he endured daily at the downtown soup kitchen.

He has given voice to the voiceless while rarely, if ever, raising his own in anger.

Brother Kevin refused to be down when he was only offered a deaf ear. He spent his life demonstrating how interdependent we all are, whether we acknowledge it or not.

So many are still just a month’s rent or mortgage payments off the street. While others spoke of a drop in the number of desirable properties for sale, Br Kevin spoke up and declared a full blown homeless emergency.

“Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace,” they say.

Perhaps too many tears have shed at Bow Street Center, but more will shed in the dining room as Br Kevin wraps up for the last time.

Albert Einstein said: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

Even after such a high rating, Br Kevin’s will surely be considered priceless. The founder of the Capuchin Center who put our poorest first is sorely missed

Fry Electronics Team

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