The Little Portion Friary was started in 1982 when Deacon John G. and the Rev. Alexius realized that homeless men and women needed a homelike setting and a sense of personal involvement with individuals who cared about them.
They envisioned a setting in which people from all walks of life would bring their talents and gifts, working anonymously and quietly, to help those in need. As they shared their vision and passion for this work, others responded. The Sisters of St. Francis, for example, provided furniture, bedding, and willing workers. Family members, co-workers, church groups and others responded generously. The Diocese of Buffalo provided the building, first as a rental and ultimately for a nominal selling price.
At Father Alexius’ request, the Order of Friars Minor, Holy Name Province, authorized the establishment of a Franciscan community to be known as the Little Portion Friary. The name comes from the early history of the Franciscans. In the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi, wishing to own nothing in this world, yet needing, a home for his growing community of friars, leased a little church called St. Mary of the Portiuncula, which literally means Little Portion.
To Francis, the name represented the poverty, humility, and simplicity that he wished for himself and his followers. For Buffalo’s Little Portion, the name reflects a commitment to St. Francis’ ideals and hope of allowing our lives, in little ways to touch and be touched by the lives of others.
The Mission of Little Portion Friary is to journey with our guests experiencing homelessness in a homelike environment and provide temporary shelter, meals, and counseling during their struggle to acquire permanent housing and jobs.