Our Retired Friars Are Depending on You

Dear Friends,


Fr. John Bok, OFM

As part of our Franciscan mission, we friars dedicate our lives to poverty, prayer, and service of others in the spirit of our founder, St. Francis of Assisi. Whether we serve in parishes, overseas missions, or in other ways, our ministries share and reflect our Franciscan values, mission, and charism.

All of our work is made possible by generous donors like you. You also make it possible for our elderly friars, who have dedicated their entire lives to serving God and others, to receive the care that they need in their twilight years.

Today we ask you, in your charity, to please remember our retired friars, many of whom still work in various capacities. Any donation you make will help us continue to provide the loving, nurturing care they need, such as healthcare, retirement homes, nursing care, medications, end-of-life care, and more.

This is also the one time each year that your gift will be doubled! The Jasper Foundation has once again provided us with a matching $15,000 challenge grant this year! This means that your gift will go twice as far to benefit our retired and infirm friars, and it will be matched dollar for dollar up to $15,000!

Gift selection choicesVisit our Donation Page and choose ‘Retired Friars’ in the Use My Gift For section.

We are very grateful for your generosity, and please know that you are in our prayers. May God bless you for your support of our elderly friars in their last years.

Peace and all things good,

Fr. John Bok, OFM, Co-director

Here are some of the friars you have helped support throughout the years.

Fr. Reynolds Garland, OFM
60 Years of Priesthood


Fr. Reynolds Garland, OFM

Fr. Reynolds’s dedication to those suffering from Hansen’s Disease (long known as leprosy) was documented in Neil White’s 2009 memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts. Fr. Reynolds first approached his assignment as chaplain to Hansen’s patients at Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease Center in Carville, La., with trepidation. “I had a little bit of apprehension when I entered,” he once said in a panel discussion of White’s book. “But after I entered the gate, I had a sense of peace.” That peace remained with Fr. Reynolds throughout the 20 years he served as chaplain in the country’s last containment center for Hansen’s patients.

Fr. Art Espelage, OFM
50 years of Priesthood


Fr. Art Espelage, OFM

Through direct or extended members, the Espelage family has provided friars, priests, and sisters to the Catholic Church for over 150 years here in our country and in Europe.

Fr. Art remembers:

“It was no surprise to me in May of 1971, two weeks before my ordination, to be called home by my father for a family meeting. When I entered the house that evening, I found only my mother and father sitting at the kitchen table. With the customary glass of beer in front of me, my mother began: ‘Do you know what you are doing—what this means?’ Answering her own question, she went on: ‘It means no grandbabies,’ and she then listed the responsibilities that I would assume to family and Church. I had prayed for many years that Christ would choose me to be a priest, but I gave little consideration to the changes and adjustments of the next 50 years. I remember her judgment as clear as a bell: ‘Your father and I give you permission to do this.’ I thank God today that I survived the temptations and obstacles that came my way, and as for my failures, I take comfort in Luke 23:34.”

Fr. Frank Jasper shares the history of the Jasper Challenge (adapted from an article by Sr. Maureen Irvin, OSF):


Fr. Frank Jasper, OFM

“When I was a child, my family lived on Vine Street in Cincinnati, Ohio. My Mom grew up in St. Clement Parish in St. Bernard, Ohio, where the Franciscan Friars and Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters served. She had the Franciscan Sisters as her teachers all the way through grade school. Then, later on, all of my five brothers and sisters and I attended St. Clement School as well. Mary and Ruth, my two sisters, also attended Our Lady of the Angels High School, a block away from St. Clement. So, our family has a long history with the Franciscans.

“Later on, when I was stationed in Oldenburg at our novitiate, I served as one of the chaplains for the Sisters, and I have been there occasionally ever since then for various celebrations.

“My Dad grew up in the inner city of Cincinnati and he conducted his medical practice mostly in Over-the-Rhine, a poor section of the city where the Franciscan Friars continue to minister to this day. His charity care extended to the Franciscan Sisters and Friars in Cincinnati. He enjoyed dealing with religious because they were grateful for his care. He made house calls long after the practice was abandoned by most physicians. He valued his medical practice as more than a job—it was his profession and his life and it energized him.

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Frank Jasper, OFM, with senior friar Louis Lamping, OFM

“Because the Sisters were so good to all of us, my parents wanted to see that they got quality care along the way. Their first major contribution to the Oldenburg Franciscans was the call bell system for the infirmary. That gift started their long-term support for the Sisters. As they aged themselves, they became more concerned about the aging Franciscans. After their deaths, my siblings and I wanted to continue their tradition of generosity. That’s why we give regular grants from the Jasper Family Charitable Trust, which we established in their memory.”

Visit our Donation Page and choose ‘Retired Friars’ in the Use My Gift For section.

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Reynolds Garland, OFM, Don Holtgrewe, OFM (deceased), and Dominic Lococo, OFM