The Blessed Beggar

We are kicking off our annual sustainer drive, and you will be receiving an appeal letter either by email or U.S. Post or both! The appeal letter will explain our current situation as a result of having to close operations. It has had a devastating effect on our cash flow. So please give it some thought, even if you can only do $5.00 per month, every little bit helps.

We have adopted the “Blessed Beggar” as our official symbol for the sustainer drive this year. How it came to be and the inspiration to adopt it follows below.

Let me introduce “the blessed beggar” to you.

By Deacon Walter F. Doyle

A few years ago, I came across a picture that immediately touched my soul. It represented what I had been trying to express; our constant appealing for funds to keep the ministry up and running and paying above minimum wages to our employees. So here he is: Our Blessed Beggar. We are using this image to help us continue to raise funds, items for the LittleStore and Just New!, as well as finding volunteers to help with the work of the ministry.

But where did the name “Blessed Beggar” come from?  Let me tell you about a friend and brother Deacon Larry Mongeau.

Almost twenty-five years ago, while we were running the LittleStore out of the basement of 731 Main Street, we were desperately trying to find sources for bread and pastries. We had developed two sites, the Big Y in Holden and Price Chopper in Shrewsbury, but there were days when we didn’t receive enough to cover the day’s demand. As in all things Urban Missionaries, we prayed that we would be able to find another location that would help supply us with the bread and pastries we need.

One sunny morning, Larry Mongeau, a classmate of mine  in the Diaconate formation program stopped in.  “Hey Walter,” he quipped, “do you need any bread?” “I have been waiting for you,” I replied. “You have?” He answered. “It’s a long story,” I replied, “and yes we do need bread. What do you have?” He pointed to his station wagon outside the door. It was loaded with all kinds of bread. “Where did you get all that?” I asked. “Oh, I just started visiting supermarkets asking what they had for bread and to my surprise they really have a lot to give away.” he replied, “and the first person who came to mind was you. So here I am. How much can you take?” “Bring it all in and we will see how much we can give away,” I said. 

From that day on, Larry would come two or three times a week to load us up and then he would be off to other locations that he found was in need of bread. After a time we got to talking about how he got into this ministry. “I don’t know,” He told me, “it just came to me one day when I was driving along and it struck me that this would be a gread diaconal service ministry for me.”

After another three or four months, Larry told me that he had decided to name this ministry, Blessed Beggars for the Hungry. “Great name!” I exclaimed. Deep down I was really envious, I wished that I had thought of it.

Larry did this for almost ten years, travelling all over Worcester County passing out bread and pastry, along with other items people gave him to donate to the poor, before he became sick and eventually passed away in 2010. He was a steady eddy, always smiling and willing to help out. His obituary said it all:

Well done, good and faithful servant of God, well done indeed!