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“Friar Escape,” the New York Post headlines read , but anyone familiar with the life and vows of a Franciscan friar—symbolized by the thrice-knotted rope girding a brown robe—reminds each Franciscan friar that his life is not an escape from sacrifice but an active embrace of it.

Poverty, chastity, and obedience (“no money, no honey, and you don’t go out much,” I heard it described once) aren’t the sort of glamours typically advertised on the grimy subway walls. But the 1,000 ads, scattered throughout train cars speeding through the boroughs of New York City, glanced at or not by harried commuters, has stirred up an unexpected response for these Franciscan friars.

“In the past,” the Post writes, “Holy Name Province recruited through Catholic newspapers and parish bulletins. But the 108-year-old community’s thinning ranks brought about the innovative marketing strategy.” The message is simple, but for the earnest inquirers, it demanded an answer:

“Day Shift? Night shift? How about a life shift?”



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