Carmelite Brother Embraces Homelessness to Minister to People On Streets

Carmelite Brother Embraces Homelessness to Minister to People On Streets

97
SHARE
Brother Michael Ignatius reflects on a scriptural passage with Billy, a homeless friend, at a soup kitchen in downtown San Diego May 14. Brother Michael, a postulant with the Carmelite Order, voluntarily embraced homelessness to better minister to the homeless community. (CNS photo/Denis Grasska, The Southern Cross)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – From just looking at Brother Michael Ignatius, one wouldn’t suspect it. But the 61-year-old Carmelite is homeless. For several months, his bed was a bench on a bike path near San Diego International Airport. Later, he discovered that he could get a few hours of sleep every night by taking a round trip on the San Diego Trolley’s Green Line. And there have been times when he was so hungry that he scrounged for food in dumpsters. Experience taught him that those in the Point Loma area were the best, because they often contained fresh seafood. Brother Michael, a postulant with the Carmelite Order, voluntarily has embraced homelessness as part of a one-man ministry to those living on the streets. Last summer, he was working at a soup kitchen in Denver, when he felt called to serve the homeless in a more radical way. In conversation with his spiritual director, he realized what this would require. “I needed to become homeless,” he told The Southern Cross, newspaper of the Diocese of San Diego. “I needed to go through what they go through.”