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eplaning from their flight
into Guayaquil, Ecuador,
seven summers ago, Paul
Franzetti and his son Joe, St. Bonaven-
ture class of 1999, had no idea how dras-
tically their lives were about to change.
Passing through Customs, surrounded
by faces, sights and sounds unfamiliar to
the Brooklyn natives, the Franzettis came
upon Sister Annie Credidio excitedly wav-
ing at them.
The nun unexpectedly was greeting the
travelers thanks to a phone call from
James Franzetti, Joe's older brother. James
had met Sister Annie while volunteering
with Rostro de Cristo a decade prior in
1997-98, and encouraged her to take his
father and brother to Damien House, a
residential hospital for patients with
Hansen's disease (commonly known as
James' stories of his time spent at The
Damien House "ran the gamut from pow-
erful and beautiful, to sad and terrible,"
said Paul. "But Sister Annie was one of his
heroes there, an Ecuadorian version of
Mother Theresa."
Spending the next two days at The
By Clarence C. Picard, '05
ABOVE: Joe Franzetti, '99, and his
father, Paul, visit Easter Island,
Chile. The pair's passion for
wildlife and art led to their pur-
poseful mission. RIGHT: Paul's
painting of Easter Island. BELOW:
Joe's charcoal sketch of the moai
The Walls Can Talk
'99 grad and his dad use their painting and drawing skills to bring a
calendar to life and shine a spotlight on Ecuadorian leprosy hospital
learn more
Damien House, the Franzettis' eyes were
opened to the plight -- and warmth --
of those stoically suffering with the dis-
Back to the Beginning
When asked what led him to support
Damien House, Joe first cites "pure divine
inspiration," and an argument can be
made for just that.
The father and son never imagined they
would end up with Sister Annie at The
Damien House, or even in Ecuador for
that matter. The Franzettis originally
scheduled a trip to Jerusalem before the
2006 Israel-Hezbollah War dashed their
Joe expressed a desire to visit the fa-
mous Galapagos Islands and flights were
quickly booked. And that is where Sister
Annie and The Damien House came into
play. A holy war led them to a holy
woman and her divine cause.
Constantly on the verge of closing, Paul
calls The Damien House a "mom-and-pop
shop of holiness," working on a budget
mostly made of charitable donations. The
hospital serves not only 60 residential pa-
tients, but also more than 700 outpatients
on top of their work educating people
across South America about the cause,
treatment, and eventual eradication of
Hansen's disease.
"Giving money was hardly a drop in the
proverbial bucket," said Paul. "We
wanted to raise awareness and increase
the stock of donors."
With that, the Franzettis came up with
the idea of an art calendar to advertise
The Damien House, pooling their collec-
tive artistic abilities with their connections
When asked what drew the Franzettis
to throw the entirety of their efforts into