50 years of heroism – Br Kevin Crowley
On 7th December 2018 Br Kevin Crowley received the 4th Oireachtas Human Dignity Award from the Ceann Comhairle for ‘50 years of heroism’.
Kevin Crowley, the Capuchin Brother who founded the Capuchin Day Centre received the 4th Oireachtas Human Dignity Award from Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghail TD, at a ceremony in Leinster House today.
The Human Life, Human Rights and Human Dignity Award is presented annually by the Oireachtas Human Dignity Group to a person or group whose commitment to the promotion of human dignity has been exemplary. Br Crowley and his team from the Capuchin Day Centre are being honoured for their work in providing practical assistance to homeless people and others in need.
The Award comes as the Centre prepares to mark 50 years in existence since its foundation by Br Kevin in 1969. “Pope Francis’s visit to the Capuchin Day Centre while in Ireland last August was a fitting recognition of their love and care over so many years,” said the Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghail TD, who presented the Award at the request of the Human Dignity Group. “A look at the history of the Centre shows that in each decade since 1969, the Capuchins, led by Br Kevin, responded to the emerging problems in Irish society, whether it was caring for people discharged from residential care without social supports in the 1970s or looking after the ‘new poor’ who were stranded with unpayable debts after the collapse of the banks in 2008. In making this award, we are paying tribute to 50 years of heroism, but in fact the Capuchins’ care for the poor of Dublin goes back over 400 years.”
Paying tribute Br Kevin and his team, Senator Rónán Mullen of the Oireachtas Human Dignity Group said that the Capuchins had fully earned the deep respect and appreciation of Irish people. “At a time when people seem divided as never before about many things, Br Kevin and his team, with their love and dedication, represent our best traditions and our best hope for the future,” he said.
Acknowledging the award, Br Kevin said the Capuchins were committed to meeting the needs of their “homeless and needy friends” for as long as is necessary. “But it our hope and prayer that one day there will be no need for our service because everyone will have the social and financial resources to live life to the full as God intended.”
Previous recipients of the Human Dignity Award were Barney Curley, founder of Direct Aid For Africa, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow founder of Mary’s Meals, and Gina Heraty of Our Little Brothers and Sisters Orphanage in Haiti.
About Br Kevin Crowley and the Capuchin Day Centre:
Brother Kevin Crowley OFM Cap. was born in Enniskeane, West Cork, in February 1935.
After some time working with CIE, he entered the Capuchin Order in 1958 and made his Final Vows in 1963.
He founded the Capuchin Day Centre, run by the Irish Capuchin Franciscan Order, in 1969.
The Day Centre provides hot meals, food parcels, clothing and day care facilities for people who are homeless and in need. It provides a morning and afternoon (full dinner) meals service from Monday to Saturday inclusive. Weekly Grocery Parcels are also distributed in Dublin and Kilkenny. It also distributes new and second hand clothing as these become available. The Centre provides showers and personal care facilities and products.
The Centre’s services also include a GP/Nurse Clinic, a Dental Clinic, a Chiropody Clinic, an Optician Clinic, a Counselling Service, Advocacy and Social Support.
The Centre has a Designated Family Area where parents and children can enjoy a nutritious meal in safety and comfort and link in to medical and other services provided by the Centre.
The Centre is a Registered Charity and cost €4m to run in 2017, with just over 10% of this coming from the State and the rest from the Church and other donors.
In 2017, the Centre provided approximately 400,000 ‘units of service’ – an average of 1,000 clients a day.