Priest & Beggar
The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz
- A powerful, deeply moving biography of a modern American priest who did heroic work for the poorest of the poor in Korea following the devastation of the Korean War
- The inspiring life and sacrificial love of Father Schwartz counters the negative images portrayed of priests in today’s culture
- Reveals the great legacy that Fr. Schwartz left which continues his work through the religious order he founded to carry on and expand his important work worldwide
- Available through Ignatius Press May 20, 2021
- Order your copy today
In 1957, at twenty-seven years old, Washington D.C. native Fr. Aloysius Schwartz asked to be sent to the saddest place in the world: South Korea in the wake of the Korean War. Now just a few months into his priesthood, he stepped off the train into a dystopian novel. Squatters with blank stares picked through hills of garbage. Paper-fleshed orphans lay on the streets like leftover war landmines. The scenes crushed him.
Within fifteen years, he had changed the course of Korean history, founding and reforming orphanages, hospitals, hospices, clinics, schools, and the Sisters of Mary, an international religious order dedicated to the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor. He himself—like the Sisters—lived all the while in the same hard poverty as the people he served and loved. Yet Father Al prayed to be unknown. The reason you don’t know about him is that he didn’t want you to know. He was a very humble priest and servant of the poor.
Kevin Wells tells the story of a different kind of American hero, an ordinary priest who stared down corruption, slander, persecution, and death for the sake of God’s poor. “What Father Al managed to do is beyond the pale”, said his long-time collaborator Monsignor James Golasinski. “He was the boldest man I ever knew. He feared nothing.”
Known for his joy and humor, even in the teeth of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Schwartz was declared a “Servant of God” by Pope Francis in 2015, the first major step toward canonization. By the time of his death in 1992, his work with the order he started, The Sisters of Mary, had spread into the Philippines and Mexico, and since then, the order has founded Boystowns and Girlstowns across Central and South America, as well as in Tanzania. He died calling out to his beloved “Mary, the Virgin of the Poor.”
Includes 16 pages of photos.
Kevin Wells is a former Major League Baseball writer, award-winning journalist, and the bestselling author of The Priests We Need to Save the Church. He is a freelance writer and an active evangelist who speaks on various Catholic topics. He is the President of the Monsignor Thomas Wells Society, which is dedicated to the promotion of strong priests and seminarians, and to the practice of the fullness of the Catholic faith. Kevin lives in Millersville, MD with his wife and three children.
- 230 pages, 6 x 9
- Sewn Softcover, $17.95
- May 20
“Destined to become a spiritual classic, this book is a rare find, a life-changing page-turner. The sacrificial life of this priest floods light into our present darkness. I highly recommend this soul-stirring book.”
—Kathleen Beckman, Author, A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare and Praying for Priests
“You cannot read the Gospels in the same way after reading this biography on the startlingly bold and holy life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz. A thriller that will burst into readers’ souls.”
—Father Jonathan Meyer, All Saints Parish, Guilford, IN
“Father Al’s gift of the light of Christ in the very dark place of South Korea in the late 1950s is a little-known episode that Wells masterfully spotlights. May this wonderful story bring light to all who face darkness in our time.”
—Bishop Joseph Strickland, Archdiocese of Tyler, TX
“Father Al’s achievements show how unshakeable faith, profound love, and dedicated prayer can save the lives of horrifically abused and abandoned children, and how teaching the trades and forming them as apostles can make an impact on the faith of whole nations.”
—Dr. Janet Smith, Ph.D., Author, Self-Gift; Editor, Why Humanae Vitae Was Right
Fr. Al – Priest and Beggar
A native of Washington D.C., Father Al began his life’s work in Busan, South Korea serving orphans, the sick, and the poorest of the poor. Through his tireless work, hundreds of thousands in Asia, Latin America, and now Africa have been given the chance to break free from the grinding poverty endemic in their countries.
Not long after his passing in 1992, the long process of Father Al’s canonization began. The Vatican declared him a “Servant of God” in 2004, then as “Venerable” in 2015. The next step of Beatification is now well underway.
Today, the Sisters of Mary and World Villages for Children continue the work started by Father Al by educating vulnerable children around the world. We provide a safe place for these children to live, grow, and learn, both academically and spiritually.
With your support, we can continue our mission to provide quality housing and education for all children everywhere.
Other ways to support World Villages
Pray – Join our Virgin of the Poor Society
Share– Share stories of The Sisters of Mary and the children with your friends and family
Give – There are a number of ways to invest in this ministry to help it grow